Mccormack DNA-1 deluxe vs PASS X150.5 amps??

Though, this question maybe a "no brainer" I would like some input from members who have owned a McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe and/or a PASS 150.5 amp. There is about a $1500 difference in the selling price between these "used" units. The McCormack DNA-1 Deluxe was the "upgraded" model issued in 1998 (and followed by several numbered amps after) that so the design is old and the "particular unit" on sale could maybe at least 10 years old. THe PASS is current and look almost mint.

I have read some excellent reviews about this model McCormack....but also about the PASS X-150.5. As always it is a question of money vs performance. I have a pair of Acoustic Zen Adagios and a Bel Canto Pre-3 pre-amp and a pair of Red Dragon M-250 digital monoblocks. Sounds nice, but also not consistently coherent or qualitatively the SAME at each listening session.(BTW, I have done as much as possible to correct some of the acoustic aberrations in my room)

Overall, the sound lacks musicality and can lean to the bright side I realize musicality can't be quantified nor is there any tweeks to magically produce it, and so it is one of those allusive qualities we seemed to all chase from time to time.....I am not going to start unraveling what I put together recently to get it. If the amp does not solve the problem, then I am going to just quit audio and sell the entire rig.

Is there is a amplifier of 100-150RMS that would possibly be an excellent alternative between the McCormack and the PASS??? I prefer not to attempt tubes because I have a FM transmission tower nearby. Thanks again, Jim
Jim..I think your biggest concern should be getting doused with EMF from the transmission tower. If tubes can receive the signal so can your body, just a thought.
SunnyJim...I hear your frustration. I am quite sure, the changing of your amp will do little to really make you happy. If I shared your predicament, I would borrow a good pair of earphones and a good headphone amp ...the only way I know of to hear what your system is capable of without room interactions. I am amazed at what my system COULD sound like through my headphones. If indeed the music you hear from the phones pleases you, you can determine how the room needs to be treated. On another note, if you go to Vandersteen's suggestions on speaker placement (to be found online amongst the information in the owners' manual of the model 5A), you might find that helpful as well. If you do go that route, do the math and measurements accurately, and follow the chart. I did that and like the way my speakers sound. I don't know if they can sound better in a different place in the room, but one has to live with one's wife and her acceptance.
Putting together a good synergetic system can seem like a daunting task but when you hit upon one that works for you, the chills up your spin and the back of your neck will make all the hard work worth it.

As a suggestion if you are looking at the McCormack amps you might want to consider the DNA 0.5 Deluxe. I have both the DNA-1 Deluxe and a pair of the 0.5 Deluxe and I prefer the sound of the Vandy 3A Sig's bi-amped better than with the 1.0. I find the 1.0 to seem a little harsh compared to the 0.5’s, Plus if you like the sound with the McCormack’s you can have them upgraded or just wait for an upgraded unit to come up for sale here.

Someone just got a steal on a pair of DNA-125 Platinum mono-blocks the other day, I would have purchased them but I have a pair of 0.5’ at SMc Audio getting their Ultra upgrade as it is.
Hi Sunnyjim

I say you should also give the McCormack DNA .5 Deluxe a listen if possible or consideration. I too have had a McCormack DNA 1 Deluxe and a McCormack DNA .5 Deluxe and enjoyed the music from a DNA .5 Deluxe more. At times I felt the DNA-1 Deluxe was a little more forward and could be a bit grainy in the upper end with the DNA .5 everything sounded just right.

I wish I could give an opinion on the Pass Labs X150.5 amp but the only Nelson Pass amp I've had was a re-built Threshold 400A.
Thanks to all who responded to this thread. Every member offered good advice. In particular to Jed and Ig. The 0,5 deluxe been recommeded to me before Unfortunately, it is only 100RMS, and the Acoustic Zen Adagios cannot be bi-amped. However, I could live with only 100RMS if amp exceeded that in actual operation

The consensus seems to suggest that0.5 Deluxe is smoother and ungrainy compared to the 1.0 Deluxe. Upper end smoothness is one of the virtues I am looking for in a new amp, and musicality. My other concern is whether McCormack still in business, or now Conrad Johnson's satellite compnay like Sonograph used to be.

BTW, there is a McC 0.5 nondeluxe for sale on AG, but the seller has some questionable feedback. Hopefully, we will have other responders to this thread. Jim
The DNA-0.5 is a lot more powerful than the 100 RMS would lead you to believe, unless you are trying to fill a large room with sound, your 89 db rated Adagios should work well with the McCormack.

Do some research here and on the web and you will see the McCormack's are some very well backed product's. Conrad Johnson now offers upgrades to the DNA amps as well as SMc Audio which is owned by Steve McCormack the original designer of the amps.

If your in a real hurry for a Deluxe there's one on Canuck Audio Mart for sale.
I've owned both dna 0.5 deluxe and dna 1.0 monoblocks. If your system leans toward the bright side, the 0.5's might be better. It worked pretty well with my magnepan 1.6's. I would say the 1.0's are more resolving, a little more to the cool side. I would have said it is not grainy at all. If you are on the bight side, maybe you should think about a cary ss amp. There is a cad 200 for sale now that you might want to think about. I have CAD 500 mb's now and love them. Nice warm sweet sound.
I had a DNA .5 Deluxe, then modded it up to near Rev A status. Please, please ... if you are going to buy a McCormack amp get one on the used market that is already modded to Rev A or Platinum levels, or expect to have it done afterwards and consider that into your costs. Once modded these amps are close to state of the art in terms of sound.

I now have a DNA 500 to drive my power sucking Apogees.
Hi Sunnyjim

I agree with the posts above again. The DNA .5 Deluxe definitely has more power than stated and could power your speakers with no issue. I would wait also on a better price than what is out there on A'gon right now. If you wait you a deal on DNA .5 Deluxe amps or SMc modified one will pop up. You just have to check back often. It has happened to me a couple of times in general. Good Luck
Sunnyjim- I've owned the DNA 1 and 0.5, and no question to my ears that the 0.5 is a smoother amp than the 1.0. The impedence and phase angle vs. frequency curve shown here indicates that the Adagio should be an easy speaker for most any SS amp to drive so unless your room is v. big, or you want live level symphonic music, I would imagine the o.5 would have enough power. McCormack was sold to CJ, but I believe Steve McCormack is still involved and he is usually very accessible through this site or thru his other venture, SMcAudio which does mods on the DNA amps and also has a v. high end pre (and amp?) on the market. Call them and talk to Steve or Chris, his chief technician. They are very forthright in their asssessment of an amp/speaker interaction and their mods do bring the DNAs to near SOTA performance. I've never actually spent any quality time listening to Pass amps, so I can't compare, but IMO, you'd be hard pressed to go wring if you jump on the first "A" or higher level 0.5 mod you can find, but Steve may say otherwise. I would definitely talk to him, or buy 'em both and make the ultimate test. Both have great re-sale value.
I want to thank everyone who responded. I have read other threads about the quality of the REV A version of McCormack Deluxe 0.5 amp. So I will keep looking for one on AG or get one modded to that level, if i can afford it.

NOTE: I am sorry about thanking everyone later. I must embarassingly confess, I fell out of bed last week, and was knocked out cold. When I came out of the fog in the emergency room of a local hospital, I felt more embarassed than scared. After some X-rays and blood work, I was discharged. I decided to lay off the computer for a few days, and not think about audio. Instead, I did somehing old-fashioned, and read a few good books. At first, I thought the fall had reordered my priorities, but thankfully only served to rekindle other lost interests. Nevertheless, I am grateful to be back on AG, and never forgot how the membership always steps up to offer useful advice, recommendations and comments. Better friends and colleagues would be very hard to find. Jim
Jim, this thread may be old, and you may have long passed this issue. But, I am a neuroscientist and a psychologist and long-time audiophile and musician.

The likelihood that your system is changing its sound from time to time, unless there is some factor you are not telling us, is really remote. The probability that you will perceive the sound differently from time to time is large, for a plethora of reasons.

If you are ever able to accept that fact, then perhaps you can stop being unhappy with your system.