http://www.supratek.com.auChardonnay is in your price bracket.
22 responses Add your response
Great choice, as you have three great amps in one, passive, solid state, and tube. With the best mechanical volume control there is 128 position switched relay, and it’s remote.
As for your concerns on impedance match, don’t be. It is 75ohm output impedance from tube or ss, so there is no problem.
And you can always send it back after 15 days if it doesn’t suit.
thanks guys, good info here. I'm wondering about the advantages of keeping everything in the system fully balanced? Many of the tube options I was looking at only have unbalanced RCA connections. How much of a compromise would I be making if I used unbalanced interconnects seeing as the Pass amp is a fully balanced design?
I’m wondering about the advantages of keeping everything in the system fully balanced?
The Freya + is fully balanced or SE. I don't hold any advantages for balanced, unless you want to run >10mt interconnects.
Quite a few sources, poweramps, preamps have balanced inputs/outputs that are fake, in that the circuit is SE and all they do is put a balanced opamp there to give you a balanced input/output, so they actually in this case sound worse that their SE input or output.
With my Pass equipment I noticed an increase in clarity and volume when I switched from the unbalanced to the balanced inputs.This is because balanced inputs increase signal level +6db, as well as reducing noise in the signal path.
I owned Pass Labs XA-30.5 and XA-60.5 amplifiers. I found the system's sound benefitted with a tube preamplifier (or with tube rectification and tube regulation in the power supply) vs. a Pass Labs solid state preamplifier, which I auditioned.
Some people love the accuracy and transparency of an all-solid state amplification chain, and that’s an absolutely valid choice. Pass definitely does it very well.
The best match I found for the Pass Labs amplifiers in my system was with a Lamm Industries L2 Reference preamplifier which utilizes tubes in the power supply, but none in the signal path.
I’m using a Luminous Audio Technology Axiom II with the Walker Mod with that same amp. Passive preamp that is custom-built to suit. I would email them or call them for your specific needs.
I owned xp-10 and xa30.5 combo, not the last word in transparency, but for the money it’s hard to beat. I liked staying in an all balanced system because I found the noise floor was reduced a fair bit sticking to balanced cables. I’ve always had buzzing issues with rca cables unless I spent a lot of time behind my audio rack fiddling with the cables to make sure they aren’t touching anything. At the time I was still building my system a lot and changing gear out, and every time I did I found some kind of hum was being added. Was always the unbalanced cables...
Obviously if you’re not like me and do have plenty of room to run your cable leads away and adjust, you can stick with unbalanced. Like all things in audio, YMMV.
Anyone who thinks there is no reason for XLR cables unless 10m runs is cra-cra, calling anything else they suggest into question
The only way that MIGHT be true is when/if the components are not dif balanced and merely offering XLR I/Os as a convenience, OR, the cables themselves are crap
As to preamps Tortuga Audio in the Tampa area has some great options
How much of a compromise would I be making if I used unbalanced interconnects seeing as the Pass amp is a fully balanced design?Great amp. In my view the preamp is one of the most important and consequential pieces of equipment in an audio system, so I wouldn’t get a lesser pre just to maintain a balanced connection. It’s expensive to implement a truly balanced preamp, so with a $2k budget you’re asking a lot IMHO.
That said, for tubes a Sachs pre can be had fully optioned up for about $2500 and a Linear Tube Audio MZ2 for $2140 fully loaded, and both offer a return policy so you can try either in your system, which is really nice. Both are single ended only, but hard to see being disappointed with either sonically. Don’t know your sonic preferences, but the Sachs is probably the slightly warmer of the two while the LTA likely a little cooler by comparison with both skewing more to the neutral than not so depends more on which way you’d like to lean (of course choice of tubes could affect this significantly).
If you’re stuck on a balanced design, a used Atmasphere MP3 would be worth a look and is fully balanced although not all come with a remote. A used Backert Rhumba 1.3 can also be had used for around $2k and has balanced connections, but I don’t know if it’s balanced from input to output. Anyway, hope this at least gives you some options to chew on, and best of luck in your search.