Pass Aleph vs. McCormack: What to Expect?

I currently own a Pass Aleph 3, which I like alot! It is detailed but not brash, and somewhat liquid in sound. I am missing some bass response though. I'm thinking of a McCormack DNA 125, or perhaps another Aleph 3 to bi-amp. Has anyone compared these two amps to shed light on this decision? Will the bi-amping help improve bass response? Thanks.
I have an Pass Aleph 3 also and found a very good after market power cord makes a big improvement in bass. I am using a NBS Monitor power cord with great results. Believe it or not, putting the amp up on 3 brass spikes also helped.
Try checking into a Pass / Volksamp Aleph 30. While i have not heard one of these myself, i would think that it might offer similar sonics to the "regular" Aleph 3 but with greater dynamics and bass impact due to circuit changes. This might allow you to retain the positive aspects of the sonics that you admire in the Aleph 3 while adding part of the equation that you think is missing. Sean
Sorry Sean, the Aleph 3 is significantly better sounding than the Aleph 30, and it's built a heckuva lot better too. You get what you pay for.

I would second the experience that a proper power cord is a must with any Pass amp, whether an Aleph series or X-series.
Thanks for filling me in Evansdad. While i knew that the Aleph 3 chassis was probably FAR more costly to produce than that of the Volksamp 30, i had to wonder how they could increase parts count and lower the price so drastically. I thought it might at least be worth mentioning as Peter S might not have been aware of the existence of such a unit. Sean

I believe you , the same has happened to me !!!!! The ltest I did as to isolate the amp from floor and guessed it bass improved a lot and the better power cord I used improved performance all across the board
You are missing the bass response because of the lack of power of the Alpha 3. Another "over-rated" power amp thanks to Stereophile. The McCormack DNA-1 will eat this amp for breakfast, my friend...........................
aleph lacks bass due to power, has incredible musicality and period outpaces the Mc.

power cord for the aleph is over rated. All alephs charge themselves fully and operates at full power at all times... anyone selling a bigger better faster power cord is simply making money or selling themselves on their own investment

the only way to make an aleph sound better is with better internals or interconnects/speaker cables and more efficient speakers.

maybe the spikes help and someother stuff that I haven't thought of

aleph is more costly due to casing and its inherient vibration proofness as compared to the volksamp

is there more better stuff in the volks??????
If Alas lacks bass due to lack of power, will I get more bass by bi-amping?
I would say yes, but it would be FAR more noticeable if you went into an active crossover. I would contact your speaker manufacturer first before even thinking about this though. They might also have other suggestions as to what they think will give you what you are looking for in terms of amplification. Sean
The Aleph 3 is a little power house and is more musical than powerful and 30 watts is still only 30 watts. The Aleph will reasonalbly control the bass drivers and do it similar to a well controled tube amp.

If you are after more bass and control find an amplifier that can deliver what your speakers require. I don't think b-amping 3's will satisfy in the end.

An Aleph 5 will give you approximately 3db more volume and control the drivers slightly less well than the 3 while giving more tube like qualities and offering a balanced input. The 5 is tremendous value compared to the 3.
What you pay for in the original Pass Aleph 3 is exotic metalwork compared to the Aleph 30. From an electronic standpoint, identical components are used internally, the patented Aleph current source is utilized, and Pass tweaked the circuit to offer a much higher differential input impedance (52K ohms run balanced, 47Kohms run single-ended), an extra TO3 output device per channel, and the option of a balanced input (single-ended only on the Aleph 3 due to physical constraints of the chassis size). The Aleph 30 is a spectacular value, particularly now that it is closed out and being blown out, and considered by Pass Labs every bit the equal of its predecessor. That Volksamp could not sustain itself as a corporate entity does not abrogate the value of this product. Anyone who owns an Aleph 30 has a unique piece of the Pass legacy, and might be enjoying the sonic performance of the amp, as well!

In my humble opinion, of course.


That higher input impedence is a real plus. The Pass designs tend to be low enough in this area to cause potential mismatches with some tube preamps.
I would like to try an Aleph 5 to see how it compares in sound to the Aleph 3. The Aleph 3 has such a nice sound, and my Proac 2.5's do OK on the bass, though there could be more. What is disconcerting is that I have to turn the volume control on the Rogue 66 up to 75% to get loud levels. With the Berning ZH270 (70 wpc) it's less than half that. But having to turn the volume up past 50% doesn't seem to degrade the sound. The owner of Rogue said there would be no problem matching this tube preamp to the Aleph 3, using the 1:10 impedence matching rule. Would this be any different if I biamped the Aleph 3's? Can anyone tell me how to bridge them? Thanks.

The Aleph 3 is not bridgeable, per se, but you could parallel wire the outputs (red to red, black to black) and split the input signal from the preamp with a Y splitter, thus using each stereo amp to drive one channel only. A more desireable way to go (in my opinion) would be to use an active electronic crossover, driving the bottom end with one amp and the mid/tweeter with another. Having said that, if you were able to round up say an Aleph 5, and were to vertically biamp (using an electronic crossover), you could drive the bottom end with the 60 watt Aleph 5 and the mid/top end with the Aleph 3. The gain is the same for both amplifiers, and crossing over actively truly (again in my opinion) allows the maximum benefit to be derived from each amp, as it only has to work within a specific frequency range.


A friend had the opportunity to own the Aleph 5 and a DNA 0.5. Depending on speaker, in some instances, the 5 wins out, and in some cases the 0.5 wins out.

Liquidity, lushness, midrange and holographic are some characteristic to die for in the Aleph5, the 0.5 sounds a tad grainy. However, the 0.5 wins out on the bass department, speed, and dynamics. The Aleph 5 sounds slow in comparison.

My friend is eyeing on getting his McCormack modified to Revision A when money allows. This might be a different story by then.

For now, the two is a close toss in air.
I own the Pass Aleph 0, these are Mono's, but before these I tried various amps , bi-amping and so on, so I can say in general:

When you go for another Aleph 3, everything will be better ( better focus, better dynamic and bass, larger soundstage, better timing and so on ).
It is a much better choice, when you have a amp you really like, to buy another one, this is for 95% better, than to sell this good sounding unit and to go for a different brand. The story will be the same again, that another one of this one will make a improvement, too, but only, when this one is definetly better than the Aleph 3.

The only step above this is going for true mono amps.

( Or go for high impedance speakers, they make life much easier, and you will hear much more ....)
I too found the Aleph 3's power wanting, and realizing that the 5 might not cut it, opted for a pair of 2 monos. Fearing impedance mismatches lead me to select the PERFECT running mate to the Alephs: the Aleph P premamp...simply adds one more gain stage, perfectly impedence-matched, with utter silence, neutrality, and balanced running to drive longer ICs. We're now talking $4500-5000 used, but a setup for life. Driving Alephs with tubes because one's speakers' frequency response in-room is flawed is a real ass-backwards
approach, me-thinks. I'm not sure that at the 30-50 watt level I wouldn't prefer an Audio refinement Complete over an Aleph 3 being pushed by a badly-matched pre! Heresy...I know!
I went to the trouble to make dedicated lines and PCs for my Alephs from Belden 83802 (2x12AWG in Teflon), but not sure if there are sonic benefits. MAYBE there's better large dynamic swing in the lower bass, but I'm not sure.
I spoke with Nelson, Peter, and Pass' stuff re current-dams, etc., so I can believe that the Alephs are much less influenced by PC upgrades than other amps running A/B or lower-wattage Class A.
I'm building an entry-level system for a friend of mine from a NAD C541i, Blue Heaven Audio Refinement Complete, and Spendor SP3/1P. Do you think for a moment I considered using an Aleph 3 and a pre instead? C'mon....
Good Night.