Pass amps: newer xa30.8 or older xa60.5 ?


I'm always intrigued by choices we have as consumers when companies introduce new models after a successful run of a popular lineup.

In this case we have the choice in the used market between the newer .8 series stereo model going for about the same price pre-owned as a used monoblock set of the highly regarded xa60.5.

Which would you choose?
abrew19
Hello Abrew19,

I owned a pair of XA-60.5's for over five years. I then reviewed for hometheaterreview.com the new XA-60.8's and bought the review pair. For details why I think the .8 series is a significant upgrade read my review. So, I would would go for the XA-30.8 over the XA-60.5's.
What speaker system and how large is your room?
This is a rather personal choice, and there will be many different responses. Similar to would you buy a new or used car, much of it depends on disposable income, and how much you want to stay on the cutting edge of technology, and how much you are willing to pay for that privilege.

For me, I'd buy the XA60.5, because I would lose the least amount of money on resale. I enjoy playing with expensive toys, but I can't afford to lose a lot of money while doing it.

If there is one thing I know about myself after 35+ years in this hobby, it's that there will always be resale. If money had less value to me, I'm sure that the XA30.8, or hell, even the XA200.8 would be very intriguing.

Cheers,
John
I second the notion that the .8 is a significant upgrade over the .5
The listening room is about 15x24 and speakers are B&W Matrix 803 s2. They're being driven fine with my Pass x250.5 AB model but I have a wandering eye for the class A models. I already understand the pros/cons of AB vs A. I actually also have an older Aleph 5 I sometime us, so the XA idea is just an idea.
Teajay,
Thanks I'll check out your reviews.
The listening room is about 15x24 and speakers are B&W Matrix 803 s2. They're being driven fine with my Pass x250.5 AB model but I have a wandering eye for the class A models. I already understand the pros/cons of AB vs A. I actually also have an older Aleph 5 I sometime us, so the XA idea is just an idea.
I have heard the Matrix series driven by a Quad II at 15W,but I believe that they do like the power.You might wait and look at 100W+.After having a discussion with Kent @Pass Labs,I have come to understand that there is no jump between the .5 and .8 amplifiers (completely different circuitry.
My advice would be to hold out for more money and power.Contact Reno HiFi,as they have a 15 day audition period.You will still be responsible for shipping,but the expense is significantly less.
Can we stop the shameless plugs for Reno in every single Pass thread? Really?

There is more than one Pass dealer in the USA.
Acurus and Teajay, okay I hear what you are saying, that you feel the .8 is a signficant upgrade over the .5, but I am not comparing apples to apples. I'm comparing the 30 watt stereo single chassis .8 to the monoblock .5 which has more power and benefits from the supposed advantages of monoblocks.

Still feel the same way?
Elixir,
I haven't spoken to Kent about the .8 series. But in the past he has suggested the AB amps for B&W speakers. I've had my speakers for about 20 years since they were new, but I won't keep them forever.

I'm not actively looking to make a purchase anytime soon, I am just wondering about the comparison, because the 2 models are almost exactly the same price.

You're probably right about the power. The 100 watt monoblocks are probably the better choice for me.

In the meantime, I love my x250.5 and probably shouldn't even be thinking about the others. But I can't help it!! :)
Kent's advice has always been right on the money in my experience. I would be curious about his impressions, although your previous conversation suggests he may recommend the higher powered option.
Yeah I agree that does get tiresome. For the record I mentioned Kent who is works at Pass factory, not Reno. It was the other guy who brought up Reno.
Acurus see my question posed to you above. Thanks for your feedback.
I agree, Acurus. My dealings with Reno were not too good. I never ordered or demoed any equipment from them, but at first they (Mark) quoted me discounts off of retail that were good on new equipment. Later on he quotes me retail price, and he got nasty with me because I wasn't ready to buy right then and there. I only called a few times. Suffice it to say, he will not be getting my business because he lost his cool and tried high pressure sales tactics with me. I know a dealer in California that Pass Labs thinks highly of that doesn't act like that plus gives you a good price. I don't think I'm buying Pass Labs at the moment (I'm going with Accuphase amps right now) but if I change my mind he'll be getting my business as there's no Pass Labs dealer in my town.
Dave_72, Well I don't see anything in what you described at Reno being a red flag per se. Sometimes discount quotes are only good for a certain limited time as a way to close a deal. They aren't necessarily good for a long time, as inventory and replacement costs change. Getting "nasty" with and high pressure approach is something different however. Somehow I can't picture that guy Mark getting like that. I've dealt with him a few times and didn't experience anything like that. They can be kind "slick" there sometimes.
I own the X350.5 and I was dead set on trading it in towards the newer x350.8.
After listening to the X350.8, I couldn't believe how dead sounding it was.
I think the X350.8 has since been discontinued and the X350.5 still remains in the current line up.

Now, I am sorry, your question is about the XA series Amps and not the X series, but my point is to try them before you commit.
Reno HiFI worked with me, give him a call.
Ozzy, Both the X350.5 and the X350.8 appear to still be in production, or at least both are still available new. That indicates to me that Nelson may feel that there will be people who prefer the .5 models to the .8s.

The .8s won't be discontinued anytime soon though, as Pass appears to be quite enthusiastic about them and they have just begun racking up awards.
Ozzy, good advice to listen first before developing any preconceived notions. Always the best advice. Thanks
If I were giving business advice to Pass, I'd tell them to keep the lower priced .5 series around as long as oil prices remain so low!!
Ozzy, you said the worked with you to return the x350.8. How much did it cost you in the end to send it back?
Dave_72, Well I don't see anything in what you described at Reno being a red flag per se. Sometimes discount quotes are only good for a certain limited time as a way to close a deal. They aren't necessarily good for a long time, as inventory and replacement costs change. Getting "nasty" with and high pressure approach is something different however. Somehow I can't picture that guy Mark getting like that. I've dealt with him a few times and didn't experience anything like that. They can be kind "slick" there sometimes.

Well, it wasn't specified how long the discounts on new Pass Labs stuff would be. So, you might be right there on that point. I didn't picture him getting like that either, but the mask fell off and the cobra reared its head, bared its fangs, and was ready to strike. I personally don't put anything past anyone. Everyone has a bad side to them, it's the nature of man, especially when large amounts of money are involved as is the case here and with any other high end audio transactions. This Mark guy came off as greedy; expecting me to cough up the money right then and there. Sorry, but as a dealer you have to *earn* my money and respect! That's how I roll, as they say! lol.
Tomcy6, you may be right. However, I have seen recent ads that show all of the models listed as .8 except for the X350. The X350 still shows .5 while the others are listed as .8.

Abrew19, I think all I ended up paying for was the shipping costs. Reno is the best, and I wouldn't hesitate buying from them again.
Has anyone compared some X,5 to X,8. What are the primary sonic differences?
Does Reno sell 220V-240V gear also?
No I have not auditioned a .8 series myself at least not yet. About 220v best to just call them up or email them I guess.