Pass Labs Int-30a or Naim 282- 250 combo


I have finally decided to move from an all Tube set up to a solid state set up. I am currently using a Thor Pre-amp and Rogue m-150 mono blocks to drive my cremona auditors. Due to both changing tastes and lifestyle I am moving away from tubes.

After auditioning various brands my two favorites in my price range were the Pass Labs Int- 30a using a berkeley alpha dac or I am considering the Naim 282+ 250 with Hi-Cap using the Naim dac. While I had to hear them at two separate dealers, they both sold cremona auditors and had them hooked up with the sub.

I am not sure which direction to go and in some ways these could not be more opposite brands. I am looking for guidance and advice, yet I know that in some ways its got to be emotional and come from some gut instinct.

I am looking for electronics that will accurately play the music that is present without much color. I want to hear what is recorded. Yet at the same time I want to ensure an enjoyable experience.

With the Pass Labs audition I really liked its engaging feeling as well as the soundstage and the presentation. Yet with the Naim I liked how tight the bass control was and how well defined the music was. In some ways I enjoyed the Pass Labs more it was muscial, well controlled, and engaging, yet for some reason I keep on coming back to the Naim, not sure if its because I am supposed to like it or it really left an impression--which was tightness, rhythm, etc.

I am not sure which way to go. I would really appreciate some guidance from all of the experts on AudioGon (I am still relatively new).

jlaz
Both amps you described do have differing sound presentations, Buy the one you enjoyed listening to the most. The so called experts on Audiogon do not have to live with your purchase. Buy the one you liked the most. That being said both are fine amps and will serv you well. I have a Pass Labs X350.5 and an XP 10 pre-amp and I like the musical sound of the Pass amps but had a similar impression on the bass. I solved my bass issuses with a Purist Audio Designs Dominus Ferox filled Power cord with Oyaide ends that I purchased here on Agon. It set me back $850.00 but it gave me the deep fast tight & defined bass I was looking for. I was able to keep the musical sound and get the bass right and that made my system even more musical. Also keep in mind some amps work better with certian speakers. It is all synergy.
Don't disregard whatever feeling the Naim is giving as well as don't get too caught up in the audiophile "affects"; I have heard neither of these pieces, so I favor neither.

I recall back in the 80's I had this little Denon integrated which I replaced with some Heath separates. The Heath cleraly had better detail and clarity but the Denon was far more fun to listen to music to, but I allowed myself to be swayed by the "audiophile" stuff.

Listen to both setups again and it'd be even better if you can get a home trial.
The so called experts on Audiogon do not have to live with your purchase. Buy the one you liked the most.

Great advice.
The so called experts on Audiogon do not have to live with your purchase. Buy the one you liked the most.

That is really wonderful advice. I have to remind myself to buy what I enjoy listening to as opposed to what others say is a great sound. Its my ears, my money, and ultimately, my enjoyment!

How do you like the xp-10 +x350.5?
solved my bass issuses with a Purist Audio Designs Dominus Ferox filled Power cord with Oyaide ends that I purchased here on Agon. It set me back $850.00 but it gave me the deep fast tight & defined bass I was looking for.

I realize this may come across as a stupid question, but how will this help provide the deep, fast, tight, and defined bass?
Go with what you love; music.

I have to say the same as the ones above and yes I would have to be included as one of those so called experts but after playing this game for quite a while and then taking a break from it, I'm realizing that listening to the music is the most important thing and what whatever gets you to sit down for the longest periods of time and just relax listening to music, smiling without wanting to take breaks is what you want. I say go for what you think is musical.

I've been striving for so many years to get the most out my system and making sure my equipment would give me all the information possible from the CD with all the laundry list of tricks that audiophiles talk about that I should have. Well, I ended up achieving a lot of that but found I was only listening to music for short periods (1/2hr) and was getting fatiguing even though I was mesmerized for the first 10mins or so. The short story is I ended up with some equipment by mistake and I never thought I would have liked it but then realized I'm smiling more often and I'm playing music all the time. I'm now less concerned about the equipment and instead figuring out how to get more music to listen to.

If you go back to audition both systems, you may want to ask them to disconnect the Sub to get a better idea of how the SS equipment sounds with the Auditors. Subs have a huge way of effecting the overall presentation and may mask the sound/performance of the equipment. Without it the SS equipment will be more naked with one less link in the chain and more likely to reveal how it sounds. Also compare the room size to yours and do a clap test to compare the liveliness to your room. Sorry for the ramble.

Good luck with your search, the pieces you listed are both very worthy for consideration. Cheers
I am extremely happy with XP 10 and X 350.5. There are not very many amps that sound as good that can drive my Apogee speakers which have a 2.7 ohm nominal load. As for the power cord it is the wierdest thing that power cords could have such a profound effect on the sound of my system. I do not know what it is, I tried many different powercords before settling on this one. My friend own's an audio store so that helped and I rented several from the Thecableco.com. Each cord had a profound effect (Good & Bad) I think these fancy power cords work as a filters and clean up the power.
Thank you all for you advice. I agree, that in general I need to follow my gut instinct. Coming from tubes makes the Pass really appealing. Although, I am not sure I really know what I am looking for. I almost feel I am going to make this decision based on some internal gut instinct that is beyond anything quantifiable. I agree, what I want to do is find something that just sounds musical! I am not sure what to listen for, other than maybe take both home and listen to them and figure out which one makes me smile the whole time!

Is there anything in their house sounds that I should know about? Or is this really just an emotional moment for me? I guess I am an up and coming audiophile, but I just really love music, all music from rock, to classical, to jazz, blues, and even some rap/hip-hop music. I great up in a family that values performing arts and listening to great or even talented up and coming artists is how I follow up on that passion now.

Who would think this would be such a stressful project?
Sounds like you should go back for another listen.

Have not heard the integrated version, but the XA.5 series will have a harmonic richness and depth in the midrange that I have not heard in any other solid state amp. And yet, it gives-up nothing to natural detail. It is not hyper-detailed. I would say the Pass sound is more 'colored', potentially in a positive way.

That said, I would consider going with separates so you can have the option of using the Pass preamp or a tubed preamp. Greater flexibility in the long run.
As for the power cord it is the wierdest thing that power cords could have such a profound effect on the sound of my system.

Very very interesting. Where did you find buy the power cord? Did you order directly from the company?
I replaced my Pass X1 pre with the XP10 and it is a wonderful, warm, musical preamp. Detailed yet smooth, and highly listenable at low volumes. Highly recommended. Have not heard Naim equipment. But I agree with the other posters--don't listen to us; you should go back for another listen if you aren't sure yet!! And don't stress, enjoy the ride. Good luck!
I bought my PAD Dominus used here on Audiogon.
Why don't you try going back to the dealers and explain to them what you like about each amp. Then ask them if they have an amp that combines the two attributes you find appealing. Perhaps you need to broaden your search.