pass labs xa30.5 vs aleph 3

Stereophile reveiwer Erick Lichte has done a head to head review of these pass amps in August 2009 issue. Erick uses the aleph 3 as his main amp feeding a pair or Revel f30 speakers, he also uses Benchmark Dac1 to feed the alpeh as I do as well. He was asked to do a comparison between the pass amps as a follow up to the great reveiw of the xa30.5 which was reviewed by Brian Damkroger in which,I quote "absolutely, positively,and enthusiasticallly recommended" the xa30.5 and, Brian sounds like he perfers high powered amps in the review. In the review Erick thought the Xa30.5 sounded more resolving and a little bit better bass control and can sound louder than the 30 watts. It was leaner in the midbass than the aleph 3 but, had a slightly more presents in the top three octave. he still is in love with is aleph 3 and sound like he is not planning on replacing the aleph 3 with the xa30.5. Anyways I have been waiting for a head to head review of these pass amps since the xa30.5 was released. If anyone would like to see the head to head review send me an email and I will take a high res pictures of the artical and send it to anyone. Also Erick Lichte did a head to head review of the Musical Fidelity's 550k supercharger amp and the Aleph 3 in a December 2008 issue. He concluded the aleph sounded better than the 550's by itself. He then supercharged his aleph 3 but did not like the sound. Very interesting articals about my beloved aleph 3, and a great read for aleph 3 owners. In my opinion the aleph 3 is still a giant killer and is a legend when it comes to amps.
I listened a few times to the XA30 and 30.5 and the higher ones. I was using Aleph 3 and later on the 0 Monos. Well, I am not a technician, but from my experience the Aleph was never made to drive heavy loads, I used it with high efficiency speakers, 8 ohms and I never understood why the X (and XA) series should be superior. Maybe they are technically different and more modern, but from the Sound the Aleph is still one of the real timeless Designs for me . It closes the gap between Tube and Sand. An outstanding Design from Pass, but to be honest, the later ones never moved me an inch (the X-series was dead and thin for me).

Let me start my 2 cents by asking why he used an Aleph 3?
I owned an Aleph 3, two Aleph 30s, a pair of Aleph 60 monoblocs, a pair of Aleph 2 monoblocs, and an X150.5
The Aleph 3 was easily bested by the Aleph 30s, they just sound better top to bottom. The Aleph 60 monoblocs have the same sound as the 30, more power and obvious monobloc advantages. I also owned an Aleph P preamp and an X1 with full size power supply.
I still own the X1 and the Aleph 2 monoblocs. The Aleph 2s are supposed to be an older design than the Aleph 60s,
I just wanted to keep the more powerful amps.
These amps drove my Apogee Mini Grands easily, no doubt helped by the Mini Dax rolling off the panels at 80 hertz.
I live in Phoenix. The Aleph 2s are unusable here in the summer. It's 115 here today, class A amps are not an option.
I regret selling my X150.5, I'll probably buy another one used or move up to an X250.5. I never liked the first generation X amps. The .5 X amps are way better, to me.
I heard the XA100 amps at my former Pass dealer. I was unimpressed. I'm sure the .5 XA amps are a big jump forward in sound quality. That's just the way Pass amps evolve.
I'm consistently surprised when I see Aleph 2 monoblocs languishing used for $2500.00 here on Audiogon. These sound noticeably better than the earlier 3 stage Aleph amps (Aleph O, Aleph OS, Aleph 1 monoblocs) in my opinion.
I've watched the used XA30.5 ads here on Audiogon. For $1K less, you can have a pair of Aleph 2 monoblocs, 160 watts into 4 ohms, with monobloc channel separation & ease of amp placement, to boot.
I'm currently listening to my Avalon Avatars, driven by Murano P1000S monoblocs (with the ICE module).
This fall, I'll be listening to my Rowland Model 2, or my Aleph 2s. The Muranos will be in my video system.
Syntax, I have never listen to the xa30 and 30.5. I would have like to do the comparison myself. one thing the new pass amps are more complicated design than the orignal aleph designs. The thing that made the aleph sound the way is does was the simplicity of the circuit. to me the purity of the signal is more preserved in the alephs than the new amps, this is what I believe and read about. I believe the xa.5 series amps has 3 gain stages vs 2 for the aleph and the xa.5 will go into class ab and the xa.5 I believe are push-pull amp, alephs are single ended. The alephs I believe has a shorter path to the output. Nelson pass made the xa series with the alephs output stage and the super symmmetry "x" front end, so what does that mean? I think he wanted to get the aleph sound back because, the "x" series did not have the sweet sound the aleph series did. I did listen an x150 and was not impressed, it sounded clean and dynamic but, it sounded more solidstateish, that is the word that comes to mind.

the aleph 3 is the amp that Erick uses for his main amp. I think that is the only aleph amp he has. He was a good canidite for the follow up reviews. I have been thinking about trying out aleph J which is suppose to be the best aleph yet. I have family in mesa and, I know how hot it gets in Phoenix, I'm surprise you use the aleph 2's in the summer. I have a smallish dedicated music room in my basement. the aleph 3 gets hot but not bad. My basement is cool year round. I live in Michigan so it does not get that hot here. I've been tempted to get a pair of aleph 2 but I think the heat would be too much for my small 2 channel room. I believe the only difference between the xa sereis and the xa.5 series is that the xa.5 can drive harder loads, i don't know this for sure.
I have had the Aleph 3, Aleph 5, Aleph 2, XA160 and now the XA100.5. I wrote a review here on Audiogon detailing my impressions of the evolution. I briefly heard an X250 at a dealers, but was not moved. My current XA.5 are by far my favorite, though I did keep the Aleph 3 for my separate TV system. I agree that the Aleph 2 represents an incredible value in today's used market. I just found the bass somewhat lacking. I too would like to read a comparison of the Aleph J with the XA30.5.
One thing I noticed is that when an aleph 3 is listed for sale here, they don't last very long. there was one for sale just a couple days ago and it's gone already. someone here has a really nice review of the aleph J, these don't last long either, they go pretty quick.

I'm wondering how hot your XA100.5 amps run?
I know everyone thinks Class A is Class A.
I have seen amps that run even hotter than my Aleph 2s.
My (former) Pass dealer had a Plinius stereo amp several years ago, on demo from the distributor. It was one that runs Class A or Class A/B with a switch on the faceplate.
In Class A that amp ran so hot nobody would touch it.
We speculated the amp needed more heatsink area......
I bet the caps in that amp fried sooner than other amps.
Hi all,

Glad you enjoyed the review. Though the Aleph 3 is not my only amp, it is the amp that I listen to the most. I thought the comparison between the Aleph 3 (Pass' 30 w/p/c, Class A amp from the 90's) and the XA 30.5 (Pass' current 30 w/p/c Class A amp) would illuminate the evolution of Pass' sound and design. The article is in the August Stereophile.

Erick Lichte
I can sum up my temperature experience with Pass Class A amps as follows:

Aleph 3 - very hot in small box
Aleph 2 - very hot in two larger boxes, so more total heat
XA160 - not as hot as Aleph 2, in two even larger boxes
XA100.5 - not as hot as XA160, in two large boxes

Hope that wasn't too confusing. Basically, the XA.5 is the coolest Pass Class A I've had. I can easily leave my hand on the top for long periods. The heatsinks get warm but can be touched for quite a while. The TAS review even stated that it is not hot for a Class A design. I can listen in the summer now with the windows closed, but the Aleph 2 forced me to open the windows in the Massachusetts summer. I actually preferred the look and size of the Aleph 2, but the sound of the XA.5. It is "quieter and cleaner", if that makes sense, and has much better control/grip over the lower frequencies - more robust. The overall sound is more balanced and coherent.

Thanks for the detailed response. My Aleph 2s are the hottest running monoblocs I've owned. I will keep them until something better sounding comes along.
The last pair of used XA100.5s I saw here on Audiogon were $10.5K, that's a little more than I'm prepared to spend...
I wish I could demo a pair here in the Phoenix area..
I really like the Pass "Simpler is Better" philosophy.
I'm looking at a used Gamut stereo amp, unfortunately,
it isn't local.
great blog hapening here.
i am driving usher tiny dancers with the aleph 3 and been trying to get "more of the same" (because it's addictive), but from comments here and recent reviews, there doesn't seem to be anything to fit the bill without breaking the bank, especially down under in oztralia.
i've just come across the accuphase a30, which is also rated 30w class a and priced more than the xa30.5 - anyone have experience with it?
FWIW, I own Atma-Sphere MA-1 amps and recently have borrowed my friend's Pass XA30.5 amp to see how it compares sonically.

From a heat perspective, there is absolutely no contest in which produces more heat - the MA-1's produce WAY MORE heat!! The MA-1's easily raise the temp 7-10 degrees in my 3500+ cubic foot room with two big openings, while the XA30.5 barely impacts the temp. Accordingly, the XA30.5 doesn't require anywhere near as much cooling as the MA-1's. So you play less to run and cool the XA30.5 than the MA-1's.

Unfortunately for me (and lucky for the power the company) the MA-1's sound a lot better and do more of what I like than the XA30.5, so they aren't going anywhere.

George, as you are one of the few people I've come across that has heard both of these excellent amplifiers in the same system with speakers which were compatible with the Atma-Sphere, could you provide a more detailed summary of your impressions? I take it your friend's XA30.5 was fully burned in and you listened to it fully warmed up? Thanks.
George, as you are one of the few people I've come across that has heard both of these excellent amplifiers in the same system with speakers which were compatible with the Atma-Sphere, could you provide a more detailed summary of your impressions? I take it your friend's XA30.5 was fully burned in and you listened to it fully warmed up? Thanks.
While waiting for George's response, I can tell you that the XA30.5's were fully burned in and warmed up (George had borrowed them for a while).

I can also attest that the Pass doesn't come anywhere close to the Atma-Spheres in terms of texture and depth, imaging etc. In fact, when I first heard George's system with the XA30.5's I thought it sounded a lot like MY system. I have the XA100.5's (but otherwise completely different speakers and electronics). Sort of a Pass 'house' sound maybe.

In any case, I think the XA series could use more body. I have to use a tube preamp in order to get a satisfying sense of weight to instruments like sax, piano etc (at least with my Wilson Sophia 2 speakers).
Is comparing the 140wpc MA-1 to the 30wpc XA-30.5 on Vandy 5A speakers
valid? According to most reports I have read, the 5A speakers like power,
despite having a powered subwoofer.

This test seems like comparing a penny nail hammer and a sledge

It'd have been more equitable to place the XA-100.5 amps on the Vandy 5A
and comparing those to the MA-1 (or comparing a 30wpc Atma-Sphere S-30
to a XA-30.5).
Hmm. While I'm not an expert on what the Vandy's need, I would think that the fact they have powered subs would mean they wouldn't require that much power.

The XA series is known for having a lot more power than the rated value (I think the rated value is for class A, after which it goes into A/B). While I wouldn't want to drive my Sophias with the XA 30.5, it was reviewed by someone (Stereophile or TAS, forget which) who had Sophia 2s and supposedly Pass thought it would have enough power.
Look, I am not debating the existence of sonic differences produced by the
two brands on 5A loudspeakers. The point I am making is that comparing a
30wpc Class A amp to a 140wpc Class A amp is not apples to apples, and a
reader should give the comparison appropriate perspective so as not to make
a blanket judgment regarding the sound produced by a Pass Labs amp versus
an Atma-Sphere amp on the 5A speakers. Undoubtedly, the two brands
sound different, but how they differ in comparably spec'd models is unknown.

10-11-09: Madfloyd
Hmm. While I'm not an expert on what the Vandy's need, I would think that
the fact they have powered subs would mean they wouldn't require that much
Read the threads, and you'll see that many owners have commented on the
benefits of more power when driving the 5A. Zybar's experience changing
from the 60wpc Atma-Sphere M-60 to the 140wpc MA-1 is one example.

10-11-09: Madfloyd
The XA series is known for having a lot more power than the rated value (I
think the rated value is for class A, after which it goes into
The XA-30.5 leaves Class A at 60wpc peak.

Still not comparable to the 140wpc of the MA-1.

We all know from experience that any loudspeakers' sound changes as more
watts are added to drive it.
I'm trying to say that I think the 'house' sound of the XA .5 series came through in the audition of the 30.5's.

George and I were curious to hear my XA 100.5s on his Vandys but having heard the XA 30.5s on them - and having it be *very* reminicent of the sound of my system (even with different speakers and preamp), we felt that we no longer needed to lug my 100.5's over to his house (I live close by).
Well, when you're read to sell those XA-100.5, please send me an email. I'll take first dibs.
Tvad's points are well taken. FWIW, Pubul57 came to the same conclusion after comaring the XA30.5 and the Amta-Sphere M-60 on his Merlins. I have been very impressed with the XA30.5 on my Geddes Abbey speakers. It smoked my hybrid amp. My speakers are 95db efficient, 8 ohm nominal impedance and have a reasonably flat impedance curve. Ralph Karsten of A-S reviewed the impedance curve and said these speakers are very well suited for his amp and recommended either the S-30 or the M-60. I bought a M-60 and will post my impressions after I have a chance to make a comparison. Having either of these amplifiers in your system is a problem of riches IMO.
I think Madfloyd already summed up a lot of my thoughts on the sound differences between the XA30.5 and MA-1's, so there really isn't much more for me to add on that front. Simply put, the system lost a good deal of its "magic" when the MA-1's were taken out and replaced by the XA30.5. For the majority of my listening, I didn't see the meter move on the XA30.5, so I don't think it was running out of gas or being pushed out of Class A mode. As such, I don't think it was an "unfair" comparison with the MA-1's.

While Tvad is certainly entitled to his opinion (and I do respect his opinion) I am in full agreement with Madfloyd in
that we both heard so much of the Pass sound of his XA100.5's when the XA30.5 was put into my system. While Madfloyd would have no issue with bringing his amps over to my place, I did indeed tell him that I didn't think it was necessary. Maybe one day I will take him up on the offer, but for now my curiosity has been satisfied.

Getting back the to the Atma-Sphere amps...I don't think the improvement of the MA-1's over the M-60's is so much about the extra watts, as it is about the ability to work better with a 4 ohm load. With the M-60's, I felt that I had to use the Speltz Autoformers with the 5A's to sound their best, while the MA-1's didn't require them.

I plan on talking to Ralph next week about upgrading my MA-1's to Mk 3.1 status (from Mk 3) and will ask him his thoughts on this subject.

I had a chance to A/B the XA30.5 vs the Atma-Sphere (A-S) M-60Mk3.0 (with stock driver tubes - not the NOS which are recommended for top performance) on my Geddes Abbey speakers.

The Abbey's are a large sealed box 2 way monitor with a compression driver mated to a 12" waveguide and a 12" pro woofer and roll off at 50Hz 12db/octave. I use servo subs for the LF. They are 95db efficient, 8 ohm nominal and have a reasonably flat impedance curve which has a dip to 5.5ohms. According to Ralph Karsten and Duke who saw the impedance curve, they are well suited for the A-S.

My source is a Zalman silent music server with a Lynx AES/16 card driving a Berkeley Alpha DAC which has a built in pre-amp section with XLR and RCA outputs. I drove both the XA30.5 and M-60 with balanced outs.

The superiority of the A-S was evident within seconds. It was not a subtle difference. My wife, who is the ultimate anti-audiophile, for the first time ever asked me why the system sounded so much better and sat down to listen to some tunes.

I observed the same thing as Madfloyd. While I regard the XA30.5 as the best SS amp I've heard in recent memory, it doesn't come anywhere close to the A-S in terms of transparency, dynamics, tonal texture/shading, soundstage depth/width. I never thought a 2 channel system could get this close to sounding live. The realism of the musical presentation was magical.

In terms of power, I only have half the power tubes in my M-60's presently and they had no problem blowing me out of the room. Of course as Tvad has noted, this is very speaker dependent and YMMV. I'm going to get my M-60's upgraded to Mk3.1 level and buy some NOS driver tubes.
Glad things worked out for you Earflappin.

Yes, like Earflappin, I too did the XA30.5 versus Atma-sphere M60 "test", in my case with the Merlin VSM-MXe. There is no doubt that the Pass are the best SS amps (Aleph, Aleph J, and XA30.5) I have heard, yet it was not a difficult decision to choose the Atma-spheres. My feeling is that when an OTL can match up with a speaker, it is a pretty difficult combination to beat. There are maintenance issues involved with using tube amps, but there is something to the sound of tubes that I feel makes it all worthwhile. As to OP, I think that is very possible that the Aleph J (better than the original)with tube friendly speakers (highish, smooth impedance)might be every bit as good as the XA30.5; proabably becasue it is a simpler circuit with fewer parts since it is not trying to deliver more current with dipping speaker impedances.
George, my thanks to you for sharing your experience with the A-S amps, as well as to Pubul57. I had to buy the M-60 without having heard it and the conversations with you guys gave me the confidence to take that risk.

I would agree with Pubul57's conjecture about the Aleph J vs the XA30.5. Also, First Watt has come out with a new J2 amp that should sound really good as well, but the output power is fairly low.
As soon as someone has heard the J2, let us know you impressions. Sound intriguing, but it is only 25 watts, proabably 90db or higher sensitivity.
Wonder if any anybody has had the chance to compare the XA30.5 with the latest FW J2? Thanks
Lmcyee, I am currently auditioning a J2 and an XA30.5. They are very different. The J2 has an aliveness that I have never heard before. That thing produces uncanny detail - the kind of detail that lets you know not only what kind of cymbal a drummer is playing, but what kind of stick he is striking it with. And you would swear you can hear individual snares rattling against the bottom skin of a snare drum. In contrast, the XA30.5 is warm and rich sounding. Considerably less micro detail, but more rounded and three dimensional, if that makes sense. I love them both and am having a hard time coming to grips with having to part with either! Startling aliveness versus soothing sweetness. If only there was a way to blend the two...
Jbarnett, thanks for your post. What speakers and pre-amp are you using? I was going to try the J2 but at 25W into 8ohms Nelson and Mark at Reno Hi-Fi thought it wouldn't have enough power to drive my 95db efficient speakers.

Have you auditioned the Atma-Sphere amps? I would describe them as having both of the attributes you mentioned - a startling aliveness with a soothing sweetness, especially the midrange.
11-18-09: Earflappin 25W into 8ohms Nelson and Mark at Reno Hi-Fi thought it wouldn't have enough power to drive my 95db efficient speakers.

The issue of sufficient amp power is a bit mysterious.

At RMAF, Audio Note was driving their AN-E SPe HE loudspeakers (95dB...and John Atkinson suggests they are less sensitive than 95dB) with an 8wpc amplifier to very loud and undistorted levels.
I hear ya Tvad..... I thought the same thing...i.e. 25W should be enough power. Once there are some more reviews out there on the J2 I may have to try one just for the sake of curiosity.
Earflappin, I have the Emerald Physics 2.3 speakers, which are 97dB and bi-amped. I am using a Wyred4Sound 250W ICE amp for the woofer (1000Hz on down) and the J2 / XA30.5 for the compression driver/mid (above 100Hz). My source is exclusively digital - iTunes (lossless) via an Apogee Ensemble firewire interface , which serves as DAC and preamp. This arrangement is provided by Clayton Shaw, founder of Emerald Physics and Spatial Computer. Without getting into analog vs digital and all of that, I'll just say that this system delivers music in a way that I have not heard on any other. Clayton's approach to Speaker and Room Correction Software is completely ear opening.

I too have been dealing with Mark at Reno HiFi. He is fantastic to work with. He had his reservations about the J2's power limitation too, but it sounds so good I am willing to sacrifice that little bit of extra volume on those rare occasions.

Thanks for the suggestion on the Atma-Spheres. I've heard lots of great things about them, but I just don't want to go the tube route. In fact, I just might wind up keeping my J2 and my XA30.5, I love them both so much.
Thanks Jbarnett. I have spoken with Clayton on several occasions and have deep respect for his speaker designs. I especially liked the evolution from the 2.0 to the 2.3. I almost bought the 2.3's in fact, but my current listening room forces the speakers to be within a foot of the front wall and even with room correction it seemed a bit of a stretch for the 2.3's. So, I went with the Dr. Geddes' Abbey speakers which also use a compression driver tweeter with a 12" waveguide and a 12" pro woofer, but in a sealed box so placement near the front wall is not an issue. The sound is to die for. I suspect it is similar to the 2.3's. Are you using the stock Behringer cross over?

I have a Zalman fanless PC running Windows 7 64 bit with an AES16PCI card going AES/EBU into a Berkeley Alpha DAC which also serves as my pre-amp. I use XXHighEnd as a software player which to my ears is better than iTunes. XXHighEnd is designed to turn off unnecessary software services and use a dedicated CPU core for playback. I am getting sound quality like you that I am simply amazed with even on CDRB.

I hear ya about the tubes....I had managed to avoid tube amps my entire audiophile career having owned Spectral, Halcro, Boulder, Linn SS amps. Now that I have my A-S OTL amp I must say that tubes are really not that much of a hassle. In fact, I kind of like the retro look of the A-S amps.

Oh well....that's what I love about this hobby....there are many ways to musical nirvana.
Ha, ha. Joined the party late. I just pulled my Pass Aleph Os from storage and plugged it into my system last night for a quick comparison against the X350.5.

The speakers are Verity Parsifal Encores.

It took the amp about 2-3 hours to finally warmed up and sound decent. I need to go back and read the August article. But I am getting the same impressions as what has been said so far.

I had some long discussion with Verity when I first bought the speakers. They said that I did not need very much power to drive these speakers. But when I initially tried both amps, I was attributing the different sound charateristics to the fact that the X350.5 had more power, and thus, better control of the speakers.

Earflappin, have you, or has anyone else done the upgrade from 3.0 to 3.1. It does not seem expensive. I do wonder what the changes are internally and how the perfomance changes, improves? with the upgrade. Hmmm, maybe this should be a new thread?
Pubul57, yes, I just had my M-60's upgraded from 3.0 to 3.1. My understanding is that the upgrade involves an evolution of the voltage amplification circuit which reduces distortion by 95% at full power. The improvement was not subtle to my ears. More transparency, detail and fluidity in the presentation. Easily the best bang for buck upgrade I've ever made to my system. I highly recommend it.
I'm sending my amps in for the upgrade this week:) Thanks for your input.
Ok, so I got the 3.1 upgrade a year ago, and I am never (did I say that) selling my M60s. But, I still want to have an SS that approaches the quality of my tube gear. So in a way it comes full circle since I feel that Pass or First Watt is the answer. The J2 and M have come out since the last post. Any further thoughts on XA.5/J2/M..... I currently leaning to the J2, but only because of what others have said, I have never heard either of the new First Watt amps. Will any of them come close to the magic of the M60s with my OTL friendly speakers (89db).
Will any of them come close to the magic of the M60s with my OTL friendly speakers (89db).
Pubul57 (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Based on having the M-60, J2 and M2 in my system, I will say the First Watt amps sounded appreciably different than the Atma-Sphere amps...neither better not worse...just different. There was a difference between the J2 and M2 as well, but less so than with the Atma-Sphere amps. The J2 has more bass control and clarity. The M2 has a bit softer, more forgiving presentation (but not mushy or with lack of extension). The J2 has more in common with the XA-30.5 than does the M2, IMO. You really owe it to yourself to hear both amps on your speakers if possible.

Whether you will find the same magic, or a different magic, is only something you can answer.

I used these amps on Audio Note AN-e/SPe HE loudspeakers (98dB, 8 ohm nominal...but a not-so-flat impedance curve). Preamp was an SMc Audio VRE-1.
Thanks Grant. I've spent a few week driving myself nuts with
reading and talking with AGoners looking for an SS to have in
the mix, but I think the J2 and M2 are the two I will give a
try. My guess is the J2 is more of what I am looking for, but
Mark at Reno Hi Fi makes it easy to try and find the best fit.
Thanks for you help here and in other threads.
All Pass Labs dealers make it very easy to try out Pass Labs gear. You need to call Pass labs and get your LOCAL dealer and work through them. They all offer free in-home demos with no restocking fee and only pay shipping bpth ways. I can't for the life of me figure out why all Pass Labs threads lately are turning into shameless plugs for RENO HiFi?
I can't for the life of me figure out why all Pass Labs threads lately are turning into shameless plugs for RENO HiFi?
Tpk123 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I mention Reno HiFi because they're easy to work with and they have good stock.

Also, there's the state sales tax issue. Yes, I know any out-of-state purchases are supposed to be reported on one's state income taxes so the sales tax is paid. I'm certain everyone here claims their out-of-state purchases, yes? Of course you do.

Sorry to be blunt, but there's your answer.

That said, if your local Pass Labs dealer offers the same terms and service, and they have similar ample stock that's immediately ready to be sent out for audition, then by all means support him/her.
Do Pass dealers carry First Watt? Thought that was limited to Reno and Audiofeil.
I don't have a LOCAL Pass dealer. The closest dealer is three to four hours away in a different state and he does not have a lot of stock. He also does not carry my speakers for testing. I have bought many Pass amps and preamps through Mark at Reno HiFi as Pass Labs suggested I do. I also tend to buy demos and used gear from Mark because he offers very generous trade ins. I have been very pleased with the service.

Tpk123, was that a "shameless plug"?

Local could be regional so you can forget your little tax scenario. Not sure your affiliation with Reno but this is getting out of control. Should we all declare Reno the only dealer in the US?
Pubul57, the thread is about the XA30.5. Again, not sure why folks are ruthlessly plugging Reno in thread after thread. Have a look at Tvad's posts in the past week, more than one mention of Reno in more than one post. Let's keep the forums to discussion about sonic qualities and answering the post rather than trying to get your pal another sale.
Tpk123, I have had excellent and very responsive service from Mark Reno. He's not my pal, but I'd also be happy to recommend him. When someone treats you well, no harm in mentioning it to others. It's not being a shill, it's called word-of-mouth.

There's more dealers and manufacturers worthy of praise, but I'll refrain to keep the thread on track.

I may have recommended Mark on another thread. I'm just letting you know to save you the time to look through all my posts. I am also biased because I love my Pass Labs amp as well. That's my full disclosure.
No Peterslayer, that was a shameful plug.
Thanks Rtn1, for the kind of money you are spending on your amps you damn well better get good service and a free beer to boot! Go RENO!! Yahoooo RENO, RENO, RENO, RENO!!