Pass labs XA-160.8 monos - or -  Mark Levinson 536 monos for Magico's

If you had to chose today / now one of these sets of mono-blocks for same money what would you choose?

Pass labs XA-160.8 monos

- or -  

Mark Levinson 536 monos


Associated gear

Bricasti M1SE w/M12 built in ethernet media player
SGC sonicTranporter Roon Server w/Uptone JS-2 LPS
TLS OCXO ethernet Switch & 912 OCXO LPS
TLS Reference CAT7 ethernet cable loom
TLS Reference DC cable loom

(Either Mark Levinson 523 or Pass Labs XP-30) based on monos chosen

Magico S5 MK II

Kubala-Sosna Emotion/Elation Full Loom


1528a8b5 9c9b 446d 85c5 0d31e7947394Ag insider logo xs@2xfsmithjack
If you had to chose today / now one of these sets of mono-blocks for same money what would you choose?
I would choose tomorrow after I listened to each amplifier. 
Mark Levinson no question, more power with less IMD and better handling of swinging load impedances.
Pass Labs - I would order from Reno Hi Fi, so if I didn't like them I could ship them back.
My heart says Pass but my Brain says Mark Levinson.

I wish I would hear both or either in my system - 

Not buying brand new.

Has anyone heard these new Mark Levinson amps. They are their - we are back products. They built a brand new facility and hired the old heard of Krell away and spent a ton of money re-ivigerating the ML brand and this amp and the stereo version are their new products!

Anyone hear either of them?. 
Since you use the Bricasti M1SE why not consider their M28 mono's? I've heard them and wish I could afford them, bettered some Pass Labs I've heard. 
Luxman M-900u monos. Perhaps the ultimate until one jumps off the cliff. and it still may be up in rarefied air. imo
Luxman's are out of my price range. I would be able to just get one M-900u for close in price to other mono's.

My Magico S5 MK II need more. I almost went with one then upgraded later but I know how I am and would not have been happy with one and after this purchase my audio funds will be kaput so want to get enough amp for what I can afford but yes these are the amps I would get if I could afford them. 

As far as the Bricasti's. They are out of my price range also but there is a used pair of out there but even those are a bit out of my range but I love Bricasti for all their digital but for amps I like the amp companies for amps. I don't want a Pass Labs or Mark Levinson DAC but the Luxman does make a pretty nice SACD player but when it comes to Bricasti I don't there is anything better. Not even DCS.. 

I heard the Bricasti M28s compared to McIntosh 601s, Jeff Rowland 725 mono-amps, and Absolare tube amps in the same system. The Absolare is in a different price category, but was my favorite amp . The M28s were my least favorite with a very dark sound and not musical to my ears. All amps were driving Raidho C3.1s.
@fsmithjack   I'm a Pass Labs fan but not having heard the MLs I cannot speak to that comparison.

However, if you are open to other amps, @rsf507  's recommendation to pair your M1 SE (M12)  with the M28s, is an excellent one.

I was very impressed with the M28s (by themselves).  Once they were fronted with a full on M12, those I was with for that initial audition gave the intra-brand pairing even higher marks. I believe albertportis is listing both components.

All the best with your search and final choices.
It has been widely rumored that Alon Wolf is very fond of Hegel amps with his speakers, so I'd definitely add them to your list.  Also, if Clayton M100s or M300s are available they're also worth a serious look along with Pass and ML.  I heard the Q7s with some Vitus monoblocs and they were sublime, so that might be yet another option.  I'd enthusiastically add Gryphon but not sure if they have US support here yet.  The first thing I'd do is ask Magico what they'd recommend given your setup and tastes.  Great speakers!  Best of luck in finding the right amp.  Let us know what you end up with and why, as I'm sure it will help lots of Magico owners going forward. 
Going for the Pass Labs XA160.8 Mono-Blocks and now trying to find a good matching preamp. Thinking maybe a neutral sounding tube preamp. What do you guys think?

Nagra Jazz or maybe Zanden 3100?

Any thoughts, idea or recommendations? 
I’m completely satisfied with an AtmaSphere MP-1 into Pass XA-160.8 monoblocks. It’s a super clean direct coupled differential balanced tube sound. Give Ralph a call.
Fior tube preamp i would certainly look at VAC wonderfully made and sounds great with depth,sound stage,dynamic impact and great bass.The company is wonderful as well.
AtmaSphere is cool and not something even on my radar. Thanks 

VAC - one of these just showed up on here. How are these? There are no reviews or anything but VAC is known as great stuff. Anyone hear of this preamp?

VAC PHI 2.0 Preamp
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