Pass Labs 150.8 and XP-20 versus PrimaLuna Dialogue Premier HP integrated
Considering moving from PL to Pass Labs 150.8 and XP 20. Thinking about moving to separates and Solid state. The PL sounds awesome but I think I want a bit more punch on the low end and overall fullness.
The Pass Labs .8 series are truly excellent amps. I have a friend who has the 60.8. I would go with a used Audio Research Ref 5se for the preamp.
IMHO it is better than the XP 20. And ARC Ref preamps work really well with Pass amps. A little tube magic without as much upkeep.
The Olympica III are very nice speakers. I own SF Elipsa SE Reds. You might want try Audio Research separates. I use a Ref 5se preamp and Ref 110 amp to drive my Elipsa speakers. I know it is all tube, but it is truly a match made in heaven.
I listened to the primaluna vs a Musical Fidelity M6PRX at a local dealer at the time and went with the SS M6PRX. I wasn't super impressed with the Primaluna at least with the speakers I was auditioning.
i have since learned to love tubes and have the Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40. The lack of transformers makes this sound unlike any other tube amp and probably more similar to the Pass Labs amps than the Primaluna. The Primaluna doesn't come close sonically.
The Pass Labs .8 series are truly excellent amps. I have a friend who has the 60.8. I would go with a used Audio Research Ref 5se for the preamp. IMHO it is better than the XP 20. And ARC Ref preamps work really well with Pass amps. A little tube magic without as much upkeep.
I have the X150.8 and the OP will definatly get more punch in the low end. I agree that the valve pre-amp and solid state power-amp is an awesome combination.
Eniac26 your statement mentioning Primaluna in the same sentence as Pass Labs in my opinion is very uneducated and obviously sounds like you have a strong dislike for a particular brand. Have YOU compared the 2 products and listened back to back? If so, what model of each. I mean come on lets play fair here before throwing one brand under the bus. Have you read reviews for Primaluna especially the Dialogue Premium and Premium HP? You might be surprised what you find. Stereophile rated the Dialogue Premium (non HP) as one of the best amps he has ever heard at any price. Just be fair and do some research before making statements about a product please.
Recently bought the Pass X150.8 to pair with my SF Oly3's. Pre is the tubed dual mono First Sound soon to be PD 4.0. Dual power supplies, dual mono schematic. With one power supply the tube pre in this system (FS PD 3) in addition to the Cary PH 302 tubed phono pre with good albums is startlingly good. I do mean good albums like the Verves from the 50's and 60's. Piano, sax, and jazz guitar simply erupt from the space around the speakers. Scary good. With two power supplies in the First Sound I expect the system to sound even more incredible. Also having an external power supply added to the Cary phono section. Flimsy albums from the 70's and 80's tend sound like the crap they are. Unfortunately the limiting factor is always the source. Can't make ice cream from feces. The Pass X150.8 was a game changer in my system. Nottingham Spacedeck/arm Ortofon Cadenza Bronze.
I think it's like comparing a Morgan 3 Wheeler to a Porsche GT3. Either will get you there in style but comparing them…hmmm…Obviously tube amps often sound VERY dynamic (can I say Kick Ass?) and I like my moderately powered tube hifi amp (my SS preamp works swimmingly with it), but don't plan to do any arc welding with it. I have nothing but respect for Admiral Nelson's "tube like" (his words) designs (owned a Forte…it was great), but my "low end punch" comes from a couple of SS REL subs so I suppose I'm in a hybrid zone. I think it's interesting that Nelson Pass personally likes to design his way cool First Watt amps to sound "musical" and utilize extreme simplicity and just enough power to make them useful…kind of like a tube amp...Also, the Pass amp/preamp combo costs around $15,000, the Primaluna $4,500 or so…hmmm again.
Thanks for all the feedback. I ended up purchasing Pass Labs x250.8 with the xp10. I can't believe how the sound has opened up. There is much more detail and openness with the Pass Labs gear. I was very hesitant in changing from tubes to SS, but glad I did.
XP20; few reasons. The '20 has a way about it that the '10 doesn't quite have. Perhaps it's the more robust power supply. I would call it better micro dynamics. Having a tape loop was a plus for me too.
Good choice on the Pass Labs with the Olympica III - the fabers benefit from he extra power and really open up. The downside of the Primaluna HP line is that tube rolling - which in my opinion is really needed to get the most out of the Primaluna- is really expensive, and still not be to your taste. eight power tubes and six preamp/driver tubes will add $800 to $1500 to the price. Not hat the stock tubes are bad by any means, but comes to another level with tube rolling. changes its competition level and price point when you factor in the tube rolling, which is one of the Primaluna's biggest draw.
Well- Things have changed a bit. I am auditioning the xp20 v xp10. Don't know if I can tell any differences. I also did a speaker upgrade and traded in the SF III's to Wilson Sabrina's! Wow, what a difference. I love the Pass Labs, Wilson combo. It's a winner. I don't see how I can improve on the system.
I had PL integrated amp prior to purchasing my Pass Lab equipment ; 250.8 and XP20. I would not say PL was junk at all. Quite the opposite, it is build extremely well. The sound from the PL is terrific. The only reason I moved away is I need more with my Wilson Yvette’s.
Prima Luna is outclassed in every way vs the new Passlabs .8 series, even their integrated amp for sure will beat any Prima Luna combinations which I have heard several ,and for the record quality U.S made products are far better build and engineered especially A Nelsen Pass designed piece of Electronics !! And resale no comparison.