MSB M202 compared to Pass XA.5

I own Pass XA160.5 amps and was recently told that the MSB mono blocks have more power, are Class A and sound more neutral than the Pass amps. Has anyone heard MSB amps? Can anyone describe how they sound and compare to other large Class A amps? Their casework reminds me of the older Pass Aleph amps with heatsinks on all sides.
There is, i believe, a review of MSB monos by Hifi Critic (run by Martin Colloms). it may not be on the website, but i know they've done it as the MSB is listed in their rankings...the current record holder.

if you hear it, pls post your findings.
When you say "more neutral than the Pass", do you hear the Pass as warmer or cooler than neutral? Just curious.
Hi Onemug,

No, I do not. I find the XA.5 to be extremely neutral, detailed, and accurate and not to be warm or colored. I think they are incredible and love the way they sound with my speakers in my room. The problem is that I have not tried amps that are supposedly "more neutral" like Solution and Spectral or now these MSBs. I have been told by dealers and one manufacturer, that there are other SS amps that are better at resolution, neutrality and transparency.

It's just not easy to make these comparisons in one's own system and I'm just curious about these MSBs as I had not heard of them let alone actually listened to them.
A chap in London Changed from Pass Labs XA30.5 to MSB M202's. His was using them to drive JBL Everest
I have not heard another solid state amp that has the depth, tonality, linearity, and effortlessness of the XA.5. Many other amps sound flat, thin, brittle, restrained.

If an amp highlights an instrument in an unnatural manner, some people might mistake that for detail and accuracy.

Personally, I find the term neutrality to be a buzz word that has no meaning. Reviewers and manufacturers love to use it. When I sit in front of my system, the word neutral never comes to mind.
When I sit in front of my system, the word neutral never comes to mind.
Rtn1, I gotta agree with that. I would catagorize my Clayton M300's (fully class A at 300 wpc) as "neutral" compared to the Lamm M1.1's I have owned, but certainly not "clinically neutral" as they also convey the smoothness, body and touch of warmth that Class A amps are known for when compared with many A/B SS amps. They were good before, but with the latest power supply upgrade these M300's are all I need. Out of curiosity I would like to hear the MSB monos since a dealer in my state told me they were outstanding.
That's funny, Rtn1.

"You have to go see that movie, it's neutral."

"It's the best restaurant in town, completely neutral."

"I think I'm in love, she's so neutral."

FWIW, I'd characterize my Pass INT-30A as warmish, compared to the A/AB it replaced. I think of that as a very good thing.

Mitch, herein lies the problem. Every-other-day, there is a reviewer or dealer touting some break-through product. These typically feature a designer with several decades experience in the aeronautical/space/defense industry, with translation of a very special material of mystical properties. First they try to convince us of the designers scrupples and higher moral standing, in addition to their ingenuity for setting new standards in quality, craftsmanship, and value. Then they say the entire listening experience has been redefined - more real than what they reviewed last month. Blah...blah...blah.
It is fun and natural to go and listen to other systems. However, if you don't hear anything missing from your system and you are happy. Then enjoy. A good system and sound is one that I find I don't want to get up from. If hours later you are still there and happily listening, then wonderful. If the system sound or something is causing you to not want to sit and listen, then something is wrong. I still have this problem with certain equipment and manufacturers. Some very high end equipment still drives me out of the room. like a high tweeter pointed at my ear. But switch that piece of equipment out with something else and wow! I'm there.

So, if you are happy, then be happy and enjoy. If something is missing in your mind, then have fun fixing it.

I had heard them this past summer at the Audio Show here in Northern California. I recalled that the overall sound was actually pretty decent, definitely worth auditioning. They look like circular version of the Aleph 2s with heat sinks all around.

I have not heard the XA .5 series, but am familiar with Pass house sound as I've been using Nelson Pass products for a long time.


any update here on your end? Just curious if you've found out more about these msb monos. thanks for any updates.

No update here. I just started this thread because I was curious about these amps. It does not seem as though many members have much experience with them.