X250.5, this is a no brainer.
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I'd have to disagree. I owned the Pass X-250 and with the Elrod EPS Sig 3 power cord, it was one hell of an amp. I used the X-1 preamp and then a bunch of tube preamps. I found the TOm Evans Vibe to be outstanding with the X-250. It is by no means a Graaf tube amp! The X-250 orrdered a balance of details, separation of instruments, excellent bass, musical mid-range (again not tube like) and OK high end extension. It worked well with Acoustic Zen Sil Ref IC MKIs and Cardas Golden Hexlink 5-C ICs. The Elrod was the cord for this amp. The X-250.5 is warmer soundig from what I have heard. The Rowland 10 was not that much better sounding then my old Kinergetics KBA-75 maybe 10-20%. The X-250 was 40-50% better then the Kinergetics. My wife found the Kinergetics more musical then the Rowland.
Goone, both the 250.5 and 350.5 are great sounding amps, however, the best sounding single chassis amp in the .5 series is the 350.5 by a significant degree.
Not just more power, but a qualitative shift towards "musicality" without losing any extension on the top or bottom, details, and dynamics. The 350.5 is only slightly bettered by the mono-block 600.5's, but they cost almost another $9000.00.
I believe the 350.5 is both the sonic and cost "gem" of the Pass Labs .5 series. It replaced the highly regarded Edge NL-10 in my system, which cost almost $3000.00 more but was out performed by the Pass Labs 350.5.
I replaced BAT monos with the 350.5. Mine now has about 600 hours and I still love it. It does not quite have the decay of a warm tube amp such as Conrad Johnson, but it is atleast as warm as the ARC amps. The sound stage is large and focused and the bottom end is much more defined than you could expect from a tube amp. I am driving the amp withy either an ARC Ref 2 or a Pass Labs X.0. I do prefer the ARC preamp on everything except rock.
It took about 250 hours for the unit to mature. Base did improve and the depth of the sound stage grew larger. The general warmth and musicality stayed consistant after about the 100 hour point. By the way, I'm driving Avalon Ascents which are not easy speakers to drive in the base department. The 350.5, however, does a wonderful job of surprising audiophile friends who heard these speakers driven by various high powered tube gear. (VAC, BAT,
ARC ) Even some of my tubes or die friends have had a hard time finding fault with this power amp.
The 302 has been great with the Studio. Compared to Krell monos: 500% more detail in the music, all the subtle nuances are now there, where the Krells sounded slightly more veiled and dark. More open sound with the Rowland by miles. Not as much bass slam, but does a fine job, there. I think the Krell's delivered more current in terms of being able to drive absolute levels of volume. I think the Rowland starts to strain just a tad at ear splitting levels. I did not try the 501s, but it would have been nice to compare.