Pass/musical fidelity for focal scala


Need ur help with amp recommendation for driving the focal scala.. In my area currently available is musical fidelity ams50 and passlabs xa30.5/ xa60.5... Are those "pure class A" , can drive the focal? Which of u guys have the exp on those two.. Which one is hotter? Reliability, long years of trouble-free usage..? Or should i look for a/b amp? The player will be oppo bdp105.. Thx
didi1606
With the type of gear you are looking at, its easy to make an expensive mistake. You don't mention a preamp. If you neglect/overlook the preamp, there will be a huge price to pay down the road. Also, the Oppo will most likely be outclassed by your other components. Put the whole system together, from source to speakers, and give equal attention to each. Even if you can't buy everything all at once, you still need to do it this way for best results.
Yes, i'm a newbie to this hobby.. Just trying to enter this audio hobby slowly, that's why i make the priority on the focal scala first, amp second n everything else slowly... Bout oppo, it's connected to the other home cinema system, but for now (oppo as a player+preamp/volume control), it's enough for me.. Trying to set "other equipment first... So back to my question, which one (mf ams50 or pass xa60.5) you think will be better combination for the scala, so i'm making a right decision "one by one".. Sorry for my language, english is not my first language... Thx..
"Yes, i'm a newbie to this hobby.. Just trying to enter this audio hobby slowly, that's why i make the priority on the focal scala first, amp second n everything else slowly"

I think you're right to enter this hobby slowly. But if you want to go slow, you have to actually do it that way. I know what I would pick if the choice was between the Pass and MF amps you list. If you take my advice, though, it does you no good. To do it right, you must decide. Either amp will drive the speaker with no problems.

Here's one piece of advice I can give you. When you are new to audio, amps and speakers are the exciting purchases. When you have some experience and kind of know what your are doing, preamps and sources are the exciting purchases.

More advice. Don't fall into the cable trap. Match all of your components properly and the cables will take care of themselves.
Thx.. I'll keep in mind ur thought.. Meanwhile, is there any problem bout reliability about the class A? How hot can it get for long use?
I find all purchases are exciting, even with experience.
One of my Pass amps burst into flames the first time I plugged it in. Great sounding amp though. Pass has a reputation for building very reliable products. The vast majority of them don't catch fire.

"07-11-14: Abucktwoeighty
I find all purchases are exciting, even with experience."

Of course they are. I was just saying that it takes most beginners some time before they see how important sources and preamps are. Personally, I feel that the preamp is the most important and hardest component to get right. If you mess up and get the wrong one, the system will never sound right.

Didi1606,

Do you live near an Ayre dealer? I think it would be well worth your time to demo some of their products if at all possible. My favorite SS company.
Thx zd542 for ur exp sharing.. Nope, nowhere near my place... How about the heat?? Mf/pass.. Is it really hot so i cannot touch with the bare hand?
Just put my hand on my Pass INT-30A, which had been playing at reasonably loud volumes for an hour. Warmest part of casework warm, but I could leave my hand on it for a minute without discomfort. I have heard that class A will affect your electric bill, but I didn't compare b/f and after.

A blown fuse, for which I don't blame the amp for, has been my only issue in 3 years. I think the amp sounds lovely.

Are the Scalas rated at 92b? I think it is worth asking how much power you need, and I doubt the 30 series Pass will be enough. Mine did not work optimally with 92b Montanas, and fits better with a higher efficiency design.

If you do not have a dealer in your area, Mark at Reno HiFi is the man for Pass, and I highly recommend giving him a call.

J
Thx jdoris.. Btw, is there any chance that a new beginner like me can hear the difference between class A or a/b one.. Regarding the heat, is it safe to use the Class A all day long? My city here don't have any audio specialty brand.. So i must prepare the time and narrow the list..
You can read that your insight in audio is very limited. I will tell you one thing. In the 16 years I am in this business the most common mistake is that people spend a lot of money on speakers and not enough to amps. sources and cables. Often people get 30-40% out of their speakers max.

You make the same mistake. It is not that unique. You need to understand first of all the properties of the focals. They are able to give a wide and deep stage. They use great crossovers. But they need room to breath. And room to get the low freq. tight and controlled.

The Oppo is a great player, but there is a big but. They are not stunning in giving timbre in the mid freq.

When you go to these speakers these kind of details are needed for the level this speaker is capable of.

I owned and sold the best MF gear. I even gave MF demos at audio shows. They make great stuff. But in the world of Highend they miss the last needed details. They are not the best in depth either.

I also think the 350.8 will be a great combi with the Scala.

But.......don't forget you need a stunning source, stunning cables as well to get a good result out of the Scala's. these cost a lot of money as well.

You Always will listen to all parts togheter including the acoustics. At the end audio is about making the right combination. I call it the art of sound.

You will get the best endresult when you understand all the properties of each individual tool.
"07-12-14: Didi1606
Thx zd542 for ur exp sharing.. Nope, nowhere near my place... How about the heat?? Mf/pass.. Is it really hot so i cannot touch with the bare hand?"

"07-12-14: Didi1606
Thx jdoris.. Btw, is there any chance that a new beginner like me can hear the difference between class A or a/b one.. Regarding the heat, is it safe to use the Class A all day long? My city here don't have any audio specialty brand.. So i must prepare the time and narrow the list.."

I don't want to sound like a broken record but you did ask for advice and said you wanted to go slow getting into this hobby. By the looks of it, you are going as fast as you can go. I see one of two possible outcomes here. You will either get very lucky and pick components that you will be happy with for a long period of time, or you will spend a lot of money and have a train wreck. With equipment this detailed, a train wreck is the most likely outcome. There's no way to bypass the experiences that end up shaping your personal tastes. Its going to happen. The only variable is how it is going to happen. The choice is yours, so I'll leave it at that.

I don't recall the heat from my Class A Pass amps to be any type of problem. Yes, they get hot, but it was never something that bothered me. I don't recall whether I could touch the amps without getting burned, or not. If you live in a hot climate and don't have A/C, that may be cause for concern. Otherwise, no.
Really nice of you two to share it.. I know every equipment must be equally to get a "better sound.. Right now my budget for something around 5-10k.. So my priority is getting the amp first, later to get everything else done.. Slowly here means i get the amp and speaker first which in my opinion the " best for me now" and getting the other equipment slowly while i don't need to change the speaker and amp again in the process.. I know this hobby is kind of "every connected equipment making a different sounding result..
Anyone ever try mf ams50 or pass xa60.5 combine with focal scala?
"07-13-14: Didi1606
Really nice of you two to share it.. I know every equipment must be equally to get a "better sound.. Right now my budget for something around 5-10k.. So my priority is getting the amp first, later to get everything else done.."

I just want to clarify my last post. I wasn't saying you need to buy everything right now. Very few people have the means to do it that way. One piece at a time is perfectly OK. When I say you are going too fast, I mean that you are going to buy expensive, specialized equipment, without the knowledge and experience you need to make a good choice for yourself.

Here's a good example of a very common problem. You buy the JM Labs speaker and a Pass amp. After a month or two, the high frequencies start to bother you. They're a bit harsh and unnatural sounding. You don't enjoy listening to music anymore, and you now find that you need to fix the system so you can listen to it. At this point, you start a thread here on Audiogon asking for suggestions on what to do. Here's a list of recommendations you are going to get.

You need to buy a tube preamp.
You need to change your cables.
You need to clean your AC up by running dedicated lines to your system.
You need to buy speakers that don't have metal tweeters.
You need to buy a tube amp.
You need to buy a better source.
You need to treat your listening room with various acoustic products.

You may get other recommendations, as well, but the ones I list above, you'll definitely get. So looking at all this, what would you do? Where would you begin?
Perhaps you should try contacting both Focal and Pass support and asking what each thinks of the synergy between the two components. Pass support is very good and will tell you if they don't think the two are a good match. I don't know about Focal, but with those two perspectives, you'll probably be in a pretty good place to make a decision.

I think this thread has been a little over-the-top on the cautious approach. Not necessarily wrong, but you've got to start somewhere...
I think he needs a lot of money :)

Options to get a lot of money soon.

You need to robe a bank
You need to win the lotery
You need to find a new job
You need to find a rich woman

Or......look for a cheaper hobby!
Hi Didi,
Zd has a point. Especially with the speakers that you have
bought. Scala (I'm not sure what you have is V1 or V2) but
nonetheless, it's a well-built, sonically wonderful speaker,
provided it has "equivalent" gears along the
signal chain to support it. Or else, it will sound quite
bright and fatiguing. Zd said a month or two, but I'd go out
on a limb to say, by week #2, you'd want to throw them away
without necessary supporting act to make them really sing.

To answer your question, I think XA60.5 will do fine with
Scala. Pass matches well with Focal. Although I have a more
humble system than the one you supposedly trying to build, I
do have a hands-on experience. I have Electra 1028 Be and
Pass XA30.5. However, getting back to the point I tried to
make above, you won't be able to tell if the matching is a
good one with just Scala + XA60.5 + Oppo. You'll need a
"matching" pre-amp, source, cables (including
powercords) and possibly a good power supply. (I'm not a
cable craze like some of the people here, but I do agree a
mid-fi/hi-fi system needs a decent set of cables. And
powercords DO matter.)

Just to give you an idea, it took me more than a year to get
the sound that I'm satisfied and comfortable with out of my
system. And I confidently know that I have not provided my
Electra the necessary gears to make it sing at 100%
potential. But it is now personalized to my taste and good
enough to give me chills now and then and I can listen to it
for hours without fatigue. When I look back right now, the
cost of Electra is only about 20% of the whole system. I'm
just trying to give you an idea of what you're embarking
upon.

I do not know how to give advice on what you should do next.
That is solely based on you and your situation. To be frank
and do pardon me, you are not even in a situation to do any
home demo yet (I wish I had someone who told me that when I
started my rig. I could have saved a lot more time and money
for the marry-go-around).

But if I must, just to throw a suggestion out there, and
again this is your money and your decision, get the Pass
amp. Then, if you're more into music, get Pass XP-10 pre,
but if you're into HT, get a nice pre/pro (not the typical
Best Buy junk either) and a good source. And go from there.
You might be selling back some of the gears you will buy,
but in this hobby, I think it is inevitable. Experience must
be learned with pain and there's just no other way around
it. We all have our own personal taste and no one on this
site will be able to pin point the "correct"
system made just for you right from the start. It will be
your journey.

Note: I'm jealous of you being able to afford the Scala for
your first rig.