Pass Integrated to Pass separates

Hello - I'm considering upgrading my pass int-150 to xp-10 and XA.60.5's (maybe even 100's). The problem I'm facing is my source components aren't the best. I have a vpi scout 2 and a ps audio phone pre, although (this is embarrassing) most of the music I listen to is through sonos. I'm wondering if this upgrade might be pointless and I should instead upgrade my source components first (cd/dac and phono).

One thought I had was to do the upgrade as planned and get an oppo 105 to hold me over until I'm ready for a big boy digital source. The truth in all of this is I'll probably continue to primarily listen through sonos (sorry I love it). What I'm really after is just more of the pass sound, I can't get enough, it's intoxicating. Just wondering if some better quality sources would be more appropriate and I'll get more satisfaction from them alternatively to the pass separates.

I appreciate any advice from the community.

Do you have any loudspeakers? If you do, describe the room you play them in. Also, how would you describe the Pass sound?
Yes, I have Martin Logan Theos. The room is 9x13 although it is a living room space in an open floor plan. Therefore one side of the room is all glass windows and the other is open to a much larger space (welcome to condo living).

I would describe the Pass as sound sweet and textured. I previously owned Krell and I find this sound to be much more lush and not nearly as analytical as the krell.
If I were you I wouldn't go to the Pass separates. The Theos like power, so the XA 60.5 probably won't work optimally. If you go larger Pass amps the costs quickly skyrockets and you'll then also have to question whether the XP10 is the right preamp. Since you like the Sonos, consider replacing it with a better media player. Something like the new Sony.

Your system looks like it sounds pretty good as it is. Good luck.
I have owned the XA30.5, 60.5, 100.5. Now I have the X250.5 and I want to buy this year X350.8. I have listend and tested the integrated amps. I did not like them so much. Stage was wide and deep, but withing the stage instruments were much too big in proportion. There was no intimate focus what is very important. Also the X150.5 I did not like. The XA30.5 and 60.6 are exeptional good for the money.

Sonos has nothing to do with good hifi. I sold it, I never will sell this again now I run my own business. Even for the money you can get superior stuff. They use very cheap components.

Which speaker do you use now.....

Pass Labs can give a wide and deep stage, but when you use a brand like Sonus which is a 2 dimensional brand in the kind of image it gives. So you will loose the depth and wide which a Pass Labs can give. It is the same as you buy a Ferrari without the engine. And you put in a Ford engine. It doens't make sense at all!!
I completely agree with the Ferrari analogy. I wonder if I might consider an x250 with the xp10? It would leave some funds for a more appropriate source. I can always move to class A later. I don't have an issue with the sound I have now, I just want more of it!
Hi Bo, not to hijack the thread too much, but I am researching Pass amps and thinking about buying one for my Legacy Audio Signature II speakers(very large floorstanders). Do you like the X250.5 much more than the X150.5? Seems like they should sound about the same, except for more power with the X250.5. Also, since you have so much experience with Pass, for the money, which Pass would you recommend for 93dB speakers and moderate listening levels?
The XA60.5 amps may work with your Theos. The amps deliver 60 watts of Class A power at into an 8 ohm speaker, then they switch over to Class A/B mode and can deliver about 130 watts into 8 ohms.

Here are the measurements that Stereophile got from the XA60.5s:

"The needle of the front-panel meter remained just to the left of 12:00 at 8-ohm powers below 60W. At 60W it moved slightly to the right, reaching 1:00 at 100W into 8 ohms and 1:30 at 120W. Specified as putting out 60W into 8 ohms (17.8dBW), the XA60.5 considerably exceeded that power, delivering, at 1% THD, 130W into 8 ohms (21.1dBW, fig.4), 210W into 4 ohms (20.2dBW, fig.5), and 330W into 2 ohms (19.2dBW, fig.6). The THD starts to rise above the noise floor at high powers, but is very low at powers of a few watts with a 1kHz signal, even into 2 ohms."

I would talk to the people at Pass or Martin Logan to see if that is enough power for your Theos.
When you have a 93 db speaker, and you don't want to spend much money. The XA30.5 will be more than ehough. I loved the amp for the money. I never heard this level for this price.
The difference in control, drive, resolution between the XA60.5 and 100.5 were big. That is why my personal favorites are the XA30.5 and 100.5.
Here's another question for you with Pass experience. With the X series amps, Pass says they operate in class A up to a certain level of wattage output, say, for example, 10 watts, while the XA30.5 is rated for 30 watts class A.

So, for someone with 93dB speakers like me, and who listens at soft to moderate sound levels, BOTH amps should be operating in class A, right? But from user observations and comments, one would conclude that the XA30.5 still sounds better. Is there a difference between the class A operation of the XA30.5 and the X150.5 AT 5 to 10 watts output? It is important to know this, because those two amps are available around the same price!
Hi Skyflyer04,
I would recommend that you look at your desires very closely... If you are after the "PASS SOUND" You have it... If you are after more refinement within that sound, by all means, stepping up in Pass will help meet your desires... However, I have no doubt that improving your source will make more overall difference in your system than changing from you Pass Integrated to Pass separates.
The Oppo is a good path, it offers disc plus the ability to use it as a DAC.
Remember, when power demands increase they do so exponentially. Sometimes it comes down more to what kind of music you listen to, than where the volume knob is set at.
As the volume increases the benefits of Class A can begin to diminish. While some might prefer to listen to compressed dynamics that fall short of the live experience to enjoy the luxury of some greater time in Class A, others are willing to sacrifice some time of the suaveness of Class A to have more life like dynamics without the anxiety of impending distortion.
Of course there are also other considerations too.
First I owned the XA100.5. I sold them because I needed the money. After this I bought the XA60.5. I wanted to review and test them. I already had a client for them. I also bought a XA30.5 because I could get it for a very low price. I loved this amp for the price you have to pay for it. I was surprised about the sound quality for the money. But also the control and drive was surprisingly good.

Less than one and a half year year ago I bought the X250.5. I was just curious what the X.5 series does compared to the XA series. I thought I would much prefer the XA series.

But..... I was surprised after I received the Purist Audio Limited edition powercable that I prefer the X.5 series. This has to do with timing, I love the extra speed. It is different in the high freq. as well. It is more on the edge in the high freq. Like there is more resolution.

How I use it, the X series work better than the XA series. I have the plans to buy a X350.8 amp. For a few reasons, I only need one powercable. I also have the plans to buy one 25th Ann Purist Audio powercable. I Always focus on the end options and results it gives. The X350.8 has 72 caps just like all best amps Pass Labs has. I want speed and control. It has enough class A for me. Even with the XA250.5 I play for over 95% in class A.

I prefer the extra speed and better timing and the extra resolution over a more musical mid freq of the XA series. But on the other hand I could life with the XA series without hesitation!
I love Pass because it gives me the wide and deep stage I want. On the other hand I love the focus it can give on the sound of an instrument. Realism in sound is everything for me. I also love the speed and drive.

I have done a few email about asking questions about the new .8 series. I think they will give me the extra parts I am looking for.
We've used Pass amplifiers for many years. We currently have 3 X-250.5's for our center / sub, sides and rear speakers and XA-200.5's for our mains.
We've had an XA-30.5 for our mains prior to the 200's.
Our equipment is Wilson Sasha speakers, Meridian 800 series digital front end, MIT Oracle cables, Sound Application power conditioner and CH Acoustic power cables.
We preferred the XA-30.5 to our X-250.5 amplifier. When I was selling a X-250.5 amplifier, I let the buyer listen to the XA-30.5 and he wanted to buy the 30.5 amplifier instead of the 250.5. It just sounds better, in spite of not having the dynamic percussion drive the 250.5 has.
Music was more coherent with the 30.5, and even more so with our 200's! The 200's are short of nothing!
Just our experience.
You need to test and listen it in your own system.

MIT is not a good match with Pass Labs. I can easilly explain why. I sold and owned MIT cables.

Pass Labs give a wide and deep stage but.....within this stage instruments and voices are not small and realistic in proportion. I call it intimate sound.

MIT also give a deep and wide stage. But not a sharp realistic individual focus of instruments and voices.

I have proven in one year of time that Audioquest is superior to MIT in every single aspect you Judge a cable for. It get's you a lot closer to the music. Instruments and voices become a lot more palpable and intimate. Many of my clients sold there MIT cables.

I owned the Meridian 800 for 12 years of time. I also owned the latest and most expensive 800DAX V4 for 7 years of time. There are many sources which are superior to these.

After I used the Purist Audio Limited powercable, the X250.5 went to a much higher level. The speed and resolution I did not achieve with the XA-30.5, 60.5 and 100.5.

Amps will work differently in different situations. So you have to find out yourself what will work best!!
I ended up going with the x250.5 and will save a little money for a new source component.

I have 4 months to decide if I want to upgrade to the XA's so I can still do that. It still bothers me in the back of my mind that I didn't get the XA's but I think I made the more sensible decision given my budget. Either way I'm very excited!

On another note, Mark at Reno HiFi has been a pleasure to do business with (for the second time for me). I really appreciate the flexibility that his business model allows, it makes me feel like my investment is "safe" as there is always a path to upgrade that I find very fair and reasonable.
I have Thiel 2.4s and auditioned both an XA-30.5 and a X250.5. Surprisingly, the 30.5 was a no-contest winner. Might be worth the RenoHifi shipping cost just to try the XAs, even if you (and others) would expect the amp to be underpowered.
Nice! Would you give us your evaluation of the X250.5 after you spend some time with it? I'm also researching Pass, and was mainly considering the X150.5, but read some reviews on the 250 which have me reconsidering. And, yes, I've spoken with Mark and he is a class act to deal with.
I found the X150.5 dissapointing. The XA-30.5 is really stunning for the money.

The X150.5 and The integrated X version were the only two Pass amps which did not convince enough.
Bo, you said above you really like the X250.5 but the X150.5 not so much. Can you explain why there would be that much difference between two so similar amps? What did you feel the X150.5 lacks, for your purposes?
The difference in sound, control and resolution.

I owned the XA30.5, 60.5 and 100.5. I loved the 30.5
for the money. The difference between the 30.5 and 60.5 is smaller than the difference between the 60.5 and 100.5.

I had the integrated to test for 2 months. I did not found it convincing like other Pass amps to be honest.
Anyone seen a review of the new Point 8 series? I am curious how the XA 100.8 compares to the 100.5
There is a tread about the .8 series here at Audiogon.

I asked Pass Labs about reviews of the .8 series about 5 weeks ago. They said; not in short time.
My X250.5 will be here on Friday and I'm already having second thoughts. Everything I read says that the XA's are better at any power rating period. Is there anyone that has an X.5 and prefers it over the XA.5's?

I have a demo period so I can always exchange if I don't care for the sound... I'm just thinking that I compromised to get more of what I already have instead of something truly better.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated! I have a lot of money on the line here and want to ensure I'm not missing out by saving a few dollars!
If you go back in my answers you wil find my thoughts about it.

The Purist Audio Limited Edition 2013 version had a very big positive influence on the X250.5.

I owned the XA30.5, 60.5 and 100.5 and thought I would prefer the XA series over the X series. I use it the X.5 series has some advantages over the XA series. This is faster response, more drive and more spatial in the high freq. You need a high quality cable to maintain the involment in the mid freq and the authority in the high freq. A cheaper powercable will give you a clear disadvantage in the mid freq. and high freq. This is why many people prefer the XA series over the X series. I had the same thoughts. But by testing my thoughts changed. I had these discussions with Pass Labs.

The Purist brings new parts which are not there compared to a basic power cable.

I will go this year for the X350.8 instead the XA100.8.

By using the Purist it is like you double the quality in endresult. You have to try it to believe it.

Powercables have a huge influence on poweramps and sources as well.
Yeah, it all comes back to me now. I bought the X250.5 based on all of the positive hype from pro reviews as well as users. As I have stated before, it was a huge disappointment. I bought it from an Audiogon member, and had it thouroughly gone over by Nelson himself (great guy and great company). With 4 different speakers, it sounded thin and analytical, the opposite of what I was expecting. Looking back at all of the reading I was doing at the time about the amp, so many users, like Bo1972 were talking about aftermarket cords quite a bit, as if there was something about the sound that needed to be fixed.
I want to note that I ran it in single ended mode, and used the recommended pins in the proper position that are placed in the XLR inputs when they are not being used. The only thing that I can think of to explain the poor sound of the amp in my system with 4 different speakers as well as 3 different cables is that it prefers to be run in balanced mode.
I will be interested to see what your experience is.
Pass Labs works a lot better in the XLR mode. I did not expect to be so positive about the X250.5.

But I need to be honest that without the Purist Limited Edition 2013 version I would have had other thoughts.

I started testing powercables in 2002. Mannn they can make a huge improvement. I did many blind tests.

What I said many times: It is a lot easier to get a higher endresult with a poweramp of 4000 dollar with a powercable like purist of 4000 dollar compared to a poweramp of 8000 dollar with a powercable of 100 dollar.

People believed it after a blind rest. That is why hearing is believing. Audio is about proof. So this is the way I sell audio.

You need to understand another important part about the properties Pass Labs owns.

The biggest mistake ( I hate this a lot, at shows when I hear it you are all mine. And I will explain why it is wrong) is using cables which are not able to give a small and intimate individual focus.

The X.5 and XA.5 series give a wide and deep stage.
But......their limitation is that the stage within the wide and deep stage is not sharp and small enough as it should be.

I had many discussions about this with Pass Labs. When there is a demo with Pass Labs with cables like MIT and Shunyata ( properties of these cables are; a wide and deep stage but not a sharp and realistic proportion of instruments and voices)

What you get is even with a recoding of just a voice and 1 or 2 instruments it will be out of proportion. At shows I asked the people ( I would suggest to go listen to acoustic instrumensts in real) if the people who are singing have a water head. Sometimes the singer has a head of over 3 metres. Then I am so f..... irritated that I have the drive to correct these stuppid people.

These kind of people I would love to get out of this business. Because they are also responsible for the low level at shows.

So you need cables which give a small and realistic proportion of instruments.

I give you a few who do this as it should be:

- Audioquest
- Kimber
- Taralabs
- Transparent
- Purist Audio
Bo1972: I appreciate what you're saying about the power cord although it's not in my cards to purchase a 4k+ power chord, for the difference in dollars I can pick up XA100.5's as slightly used demo's and use my transparent reference power cords that I already have. Time will tell here, I don't really not like my int-150 so at the end of the day this might be great... I'm just having second thoughts.

I hate spending a lot of money and not getting exactly what I want in the long run I've always been happier when I didn't make the compromises.
I owned the XA100.5 and used it with the Purist Audio Aqueous powercables. Now it comes.....with the X250.5 and Purist Audio Limited 2013 powercable I had superior articulation compared to the XA100.5 with the Aqueous.

Also in the high freq. I had more resolution. Cheap powercables are not able to get all the quality out of your amp. Same thing about interconnects.

When you use a source with the dynamics of 132 db you get a much higher endresult out of your amp. Audio is all about getting the max out of all the different tools you own. That is why you need to understand an be aware of all the different properties. These properties togheter create the stage, sound, drive, resolution, blacks, timbre and focus of the overwhole sound. When you use them correctly you can get all parts which need to be there for the absolute sound. Or what I call Total sound.

The art of sound can give you a stunning sound or average or even bad sound. You need to know what you are doing!
The int-150 is the most worse Pass Labs product the produce. The X150.5 is second worse.

which pre amp you use?
I also purchased the xp-10 along with the x250.5
I owned the XP-20 for 2 years. It is a very good pre amp, but not a stunning one. In my opinion Pass Labs make better poweramps than pre amps.
I agree.
Skyflyer, I feel for you. You're lost in the Bo-zone. It's an part of the sky were high quality power amps only perform at their best with specific high cost cords.

I still think you're on the wrong track with the power amps. I hinted at it earlier and others, including Bo, have pointed out the XP10 may not be a great choice. You would get far greater sonic payback with improvements to your front end components.
The XP-10 is a good pre amp, it is not bad. achieve a stunning level you need more sonic qualities.

Audio becomes more understandable by testing. Because tets give you information. This information can bring you to a higher level.

When you do not know the properties of your power and pre amp, you don't know which cables you have to buy.

Because cables will work totally different with the same amps. They have their own properties as well. You need to know these properties as well. You will listen to all these properties togheter including the acoustics.
Onhwy61: I will also be upgrading my source components, this is part of the reason I've chosen to get the less expensive amp. I'm just concerned that I should have gone ahead as planned and waited a few months to upgrade the rest and gotten what I wanted initially...

Time will tell here, I'm letting information on the internet interfere with my own perception! Until I hear it I'm going to stop worrying about it!
I disagree, I have owned quite a few "good" preamps and the XP20 is a GREAT one