If you like the Pass sound, XA 100.8?.....but I´m sure the Lamm hybrids are very good as well.
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I listened to those Pass Amps but I never bought them. I missed the emotion which is part in any music. They are precise but never moved me, no matter what kind of music I listened to. Real Music reproduction sounds definitely different.
The Lamm 1.2R are a different chapter. Excellent soundstage, true in tonal reproduction, able to deliver the emotion from the Artist or Orchestra when it is recorded properly. A huge step closer to the real thing reproduction. Even when you squeeze it, the sound quality never collapses or will be compressed (getting harsh in the treble like a lot of other designs do). It is definitely a serious amp.
In the June Stereophile, John Atkinson wrote briefly in passing about both of the amps in his review of the MBL Corona amplifiers. He felt that the Pass 60.5 excelled at soundstaging and image palpability, but lacked an iron grip in the bass (compared to Classe), and said the Lamms had a "forceful" sound that might lack the subtlety of MBL's big amps, but bested them slightly in ultimate authority in the lower frequencies. I haven't really heard the Pass amps at any length, but I can see where he's coming from on the Lamms, as I have always felt that they may not be the most absolutely transparent or best soundstaging amps I've heard but they have a power and richness to their presentation that I prefer. I think that they might give you more juice and bass control out of your speakers. Whether that offsets the apparently extraordinary soundstaging capabilities of your Pass amp (Atkinson's review makes note of that in a couple of places) depends on your personal preferences and priorities.
Hi, Icorem those G3 speakers looking at the Steophile test measurments have a current hungry bass, 4ohms and -40 degrees phase angle, also they need watts as well at only 86db efficiency.
I think the Lam's maybe be a bit of a sideways step, if you look at the Stereophile tests on both them and the XA-60.5, as there's not much difference in watts and current.
A suggestion as well if you want good current, bags of watts with the class A sound of the XA60.5. For the price you get for your XA-60.5 you could get a pair of these.
The John Curl (he's up there with Nelson Pass) designed Parasound JC1's will drive anything you can throw at them, even the impossible to drive at their best "Wilson Alexia's". I think they are the best value in big amps.
As you can see below, the watts just keep increasing with lowering impedance, this means they can give great current drive into any load and remain flat in frequency from 20hz to 20khz, instead of acting like a fixed tone control, like some wimpy amps do.
They also have one nice feature that let you switch them to much higher 25watts pure class A, still with 545w a/b for transients, (they run hot in this mode)which is good when you listen seriously, then you can switch it out to the lower class A bias, for dinner/parties or background music, and this will save the power bill and they run luke warm.
The .8 series should be a big improvement. I had the 100.5 as well. But I will choose for a 350.8. Because it is more airy than the XA series. And the better speed and drive also will work great with your speakers.
I had a few discussions with the Pass Labs people about cables. Powercables like the Purist Limited Edition sets Pass labs to a much higher level. I could achieve better level in articulation of voices and a much wider and deeper stage with the Limited. I heard many new things which I did not have witht the XA100.5 with cheaper powercables.
Go for a 350.8 and a Purist Audio Limited powercable!!
The Purist Limited makes the mid freq of the X series sound the same as the XA series with other powercables.
First I owned the XA30.5, 60.5 and 100.5. I thought I never would choose for the X-series.
The Purist Limited Edition made me think totally different.
Most powercables are not able to get the maximum out of an amp. We are not talking about a few %, it is a huge difference!!
"A sideways step"? Did you even bother to read what Syntax wrote? I'll go a step further. Yes, the Lamm is vastly superior and not just in the bass regions. Really good listeners--like Syntax--pick up on subtle things like the Pass's like of microdynamic nuance which is exactly what makes it sound as if it lacks emotion. Smooth? Sure. Lifeless? I think so, yes. The Lamm M1.2s are in an altogether different--and superior--league.
I think it is helpful for a decision when we realize that we should take care of the following:
Amplifier power / Quality of tone
To buy power is no big problem, to buy good sounding amps generally is a bit more difficult and to look for good sounding high powered amps is a task. Not easy. Depends of course what the owner is looking for but low sensitive speakers can make life difficult sooner or later but see it with a car explanation, a low efficiency speaker is like a fat car, for example a Mercedes 500, your amp is like an engine. When you accelerate straight on, all is fine but when you drive small, curvy rads with a lot of speed changes, the MB500 can do that but it is work and you will feel, it is not made for that (Some say their System sounds better with some kind of music). Even with a bigger engine you have to move high mass (car weight) Same engine in a car with half weight (= a high sensitive speaker) and all those accelerations, curvy driving is easy like breathing. You have much more fun with driving, or with listening to subtle details.
I just went from XA60.5's to XA100.5's driving my Avalon Eidolons in a 12' x 14' room. Because of the small room, I was thinking I wouldn't hear much of a difference but boy was I in for a surprise.
The xa100.5's took command of the speakers. Better bass control and depth, but the real surprise was the improvement in separation of I instruments and a more 3D soundstage.
Boxing up the xa60.5's this weekend as the xa100.5's are staying :).
I own Lamm M1.2 monos. Not only are they the closest to live music I've
heard, in terms of amplification (and although I haven't heard them all, I've
had Bryston 9BSTs & 14BSTs, Levinson 33H monos, and a few others), but
I've never had any reliability or performance issues. Moreover, when I first
purchased them, I had them completely checked out my Vlad Lamm
himself. Their customer service is superlative, to say the least. Lamm is my
last stop in both amplification and preamplification (I also am fortunate
enough to own the venerable Lamm L2).
I don't know about the comparison with Lamm, but it's interesting how different some of the opinions regarding Pass are in here compared to most other threads. I've never heard the XA series described as lifeless or lacking emotion before.
Stereophile can certainly be criticized, but their review was pretty clear: "I don't have much to say about the Pass Labs XA60.5 other than this: It is the best-sounding amplifier I have ever used."
Anyway, if you do change amps (or already have), please remember to update the thread; it'll be informative to others to read about your comparisons. Good luck.
I know it's somewhat dated, but I'd like to share my experiences about these two brands.
While the Pass XA.5 sounded really good, it's no where close to being musical as the Lamm.
I had XA-160.5 and the XA-100.5 and the Lamm M2.2 side-by-side driving Hansen The Prince V2 and Nova Be, the Lamm always sounded more lively and musical.
I also tried some NOS and like the Amprex Orange Globe and Mullard CV2493 very much.