I replaced my ML#331 with an Aleph 4 (100w/ch). I love the sound of the Aleph. It is so natural and detailed. I tried both back and forth before selling the Levinson. I use the Aleph to power a pair of Revel Studios (3 way with 2 woofers) and its effortless. The 1.2 monoblocks must be awesome.
The Pass Alephs are lovely amplifiers. There are competing amps that have better bass control, or better dynamic liveliness, but very, very few solid state amps can challenge the Alephs for midrange naturalness.
If your speakers are a difficult load in the bass (low impedance), or are a bit underdamped and demand lots of current and tight control, then the Alephs will not sound as tight and solid as a good competing amp. But chances are that competing amp will not begin to approach the midrange magic of the 1.2's. In serious high-end audio seldom is there a choice that's an across-the-board winner; almost always, there are tradeoffs.
I sell a couple of amps that I consider to be worthy competition for the Pass Aleph 1.2. If the Alephs were still made, I might very well be a Pass dealer.
What speakers do you have? I'd want to know that before telling you to jump all over the Aleph 1.2's the first chance you get.
Also, the Aleph series amps were a difficult load for some preamps - their input impedance tended to be unusually low. If you can find out what the input impedance of the 1.2 is, check with your preamp manufacturer and make sure it's happy driving that load.
Best of luck to you. I hope it turns out that the Alephs would work in your system, as they are truly superb amplifiers.
My speakers are Talon Peregrine Xs. They usually present a light load to the amplifier. They are rated at 90.5 db/watt but i hear they really have an effeciency of over 94 db. I dont know how damped my speakers are?
I think in the end i would probably end up buying an Aleph P preamp, but woud the amps low input impedence make using a passive preamp presently a real problem? Just curious... Thanks
I owned the Aleph 1.2's for a short period. They are fantastic and I have also heard the Levinson 33H. I say IMHO forget the 33H, it is not nearly as musical or emotionally invoving as the Aleph. Actually I'll be honest, after hearing nearly the Levinson ref sys (have not heard the 33 monos) I find it all just terribly bad sounding. I just got a 31.5 which I think is perhaps the worst sounding transport I have ever had in my home... Oh, yeah back to you :) I also owned the Talon Audio Khourus at the time I had the Aleph 1.2. I did not think there was a synergy there. The 1.2 did not seem to have the intestinal fortitude if you will to drive that speaker correctly. This came across as a closed in sound with less than stellar dynamics. I hear great things concerning the Talon gear and either the Pass Labs X350 or X600 monos.
I have Aleph 2 monos (100/200 8/4) driven by a P, and find it thoroughly effortless with an 88dB/1w speaker with a 4 ohm woofer quite flat to 30Hz in room.
The lowish imput impedence DOES preclude passive use, IMO.
Using a P also allows running balanced with longish ICs at no sacrifice. The combination, even with my unshielded Red Dawn (Alephs LOVE Nordost) ICs the setup is DEAD quiet. Phew!
Can't imagine the 1.2 wouldn't drive your speakers handsomely....
Also, the P drives my Sennheiser 600 well right off the RCAs.
I am not trying to be a smarty pants by saying this, but... I understand Subaruguru's point of "Can't imagine the 1.2 wouldn't drive your speakers handsomely....", however, I owned the 1.2 and the Khourus thus I do not have to imagine, it is not a good combination for the reason I stated in the prior post.
Mikeam, certainly your empiricism is compelling...wonder if there's something unusually cruel about that speaker's impedence curve?
I don't think it is so much the impedence curve. More than likely it simply the motor structure of the 2 10" drivers in the Khourus (Can't speak directly about the Peregrine). The Khourus(I am assuming the Peregrine will display similar traits of its' big brother) has a very stiff cone structure. The speaker seems to simpy love current and lots of it.
After doing a lot of research on the subject these amps are very powerful in terms of wattage, in a way more so then the 200 watts would suggest. They have huge power supplies and put out a ton of voltage, however they have less than ideal amounts of current. I have two specs for the amp. Pass lists it having only 12 amps of current in their manual, however the less powerful aleph 1s had 50 amps of current, a big difference indeed. This difference can be largely attributed to the three vs. two gain stage designs. However the difference seems to great. A store however lists them as having 40 amps of current. I am not sure which numbers to believe. I personally think that it has 12 amps of continuous current but can peak at 40 amps. If this is the case it should be ok but not ideal for the speakers. Lastly, these amps do everything well except for bass slam and are not very dynamic sounding. Hence when they show these charachteristics with the Talons i think that is simply them sounding how they always sound. I agree that these may not an ideal match however. Lastly i was talking with the president of Talon, Mike Farnsworth, and he often powers them with 7 watt SETs to great success in a very large room. So i think that the amps would be capable of driving the speakers to very loud volumes but will not make them boogie as other amps could. Still the Talons have such great bass and slam it may not be the worst place to have a tradeoff. And yes the Peregrine uses the same dual 10 inch woofers of the Khorus. Lastly the impedence is very easy and stable. It is 8 ohms on average and never goes below 6.5. After all of my research i think these amps would be a good but maybe not ideal combonation. Feel free to comment on it. And oh yeah there is a guy here on audiogon who powers his Khorus speakers with Aleph 2s and loves the combination. So many oppinions!!!!
Having gone thru the above posts and am infact an owner of the mighty 1.2s, I can only add that the overall musically of the this amp amazes me everytime. I use them with B&W 802s and sometimes 801s. My Accuphase DP-75V CDP drives the amp directly as I am still waiting to receive the FM Acoustics 155 preamp. The midrange magic is totally evident and this amp is basically for people who listen to classical &/or acoustic jazz. In the past, I've had Krells, MLs, Rowlands, ARC but after 7 yrs of searching for the perfect amp, this is the one for me. In audiophilia terms, it has a "soul" and if you genuinely love music and want to reproduce it as close to as a Live event, this must be your amp. The downside of this amp is the "heat factor". My power cords are all Cardas Golden Reference and so are my interconnects.
I auditioned Pass's Aleph serious vs their new x series. I like the alephs for their warm output. But I bought an x-150 and an x-2 pre-amp. Better overall balance. I am of course saving up for x-1 pre-amp(Even Better). The x-series stuff matted well with my Thiel 2.3's and HT cables.
Do people find that upgrading power cords have a positive effect on this amp or any of the Aleph series amps for that matter? Thanks - Ian
Also please keep your oppinions on the aleph amps rollin in!!
I had the 1.2's for an extended period driving Avalon Eidolons, an acknowledged difficult load for some amps to drive. The 1.2's had no problem driving the Eidolons. They are very musical ss amps, and had the balls to to make the Eidolons sound full with great bass response. I did find that Synergistic Res. Designers Ref Squared PC's worked extremely well on the 1.2's, tightening up the bass and low end over some other cords I tried ( Shunyata, XLO, Electraglide, and obviously stock). Although I have no personal experience with the X series, I have heard from reliable sources that it is perhaps superior to the Aleph's.
The FIM PC works wonderfully with the Pass 1.2. This is the power cord I used with the pair I once owned.
I've owned Levinson which I bought after owning an Aleph 0s, a big mistake. Not that the ML 331 didn't do a good job, it just didn't have the air and sweetness of the Pass. I was concerned that the Aleph didn't have enough power for my Totem Mani-2s, also wrong. Well I sold all my ML gear and bought a Pass X-150 amp and an X-1 preamp. I'm in love!!The system is neither too warm or too cool, it is just right!! With scads of detail, speed, and richness I have never heard before. I'm convinced that Pass builds some of the best equipment out there.