go with the Pass,I had owned 380 and guess what I keep the Sony E9000es,it did not worth the money.
- 7 posts total
- 7 posts total
I own the Levinson 380S, the second SS preamp I've tried during my quest to see if I can be happy eliminating small-signal tube headaches from my life. The I/O, switching, and control facilities are superior to most of the breed. The careful design keeps all unused attached components scrupulously electrically separated from the signal path. The IC volume control action is nearly invisible in operation, certainly compared to a stepped attenuator, but still not quite up to the level of a really good pot (or presumably the one in the No.32). The sound is hard to fault, but is not completely transparent compared to bypassing the preamp altogether. It is at its best when used at unity gain or below (for attenuation), where the circuit architecture which switches out the gain stages when not needed (unlike almost all other active preamps, it merely actively buffers the inputs and outputs at or below unity gain) allows for an exceptionally uncolored and clear signal transfer. When called upon to provide gain above the input signal, the sound does take on a slight additional hardness/sharpness in comparision. Very open soundstage, very little grunge or texture, transients are quite clean, low background noise level, fine extension (though its relative lack of bass bloat can make it seem paradoxically a bit lightweight compared to some preamps) - but dynamics, image fullness, and tone color saturation are muted a small amount when compared to a bypass. The unit is very (but not totally) immune to differences in power cords or power conditioning, probably indicating good basic power supply design. Certainly the best preamp I've ever owned (and I actually didn't much care for the 'colder' sound of previous-generation Levinson preamps when I used to sell them retail) - i.e., the most neutral, with the least artifacts - the 380S's deviations from perfection are minor and mostly subtractive in nature. It's performance cannot, however, prevent me from imagining something even better, though the overall combo of sound, convenience, small size, and a used price that's within the bounds of sanity may be tough to top, at least among solid-state contenders. (I've never heard the Pass though.)