Pass or First Watt

My speakers will operate great on 2 watts. Currently I am running them with a nice 2a3 tube amp but at times the tubes make alot of noise thru the speakers so I have been looking at Nelsons new STI @10 watts or the Pass 30.5. Any one compare the Pass with any First Watt products?
Mark at Reno HiFi is good at answering those sorts of questions...... and at sending one, the other or both out for audition.
I have not run a 30.5. But based on what I have read about the SIT amps, I would go with them for sure. Give Mark at Reno Hi-Fi a ring if you don't have a dealer in your area. He is great and has a great return policy. A class A dealer (in more than one way, LOL).
My intuition would lead me toward the SIT monoblocks given your efficient speakers.I`m sure the Pass amp would sound very good .Based on reviews if seems the SIT-1 is 'special' and with its ultra simple,single gain stage clas A design is likely a purer,more natural and transparent sound.

Could be a case of very good amp compared to a sublime amplifier,Nelson Pass seems especially proud of this particular First Watt amplifier. If I were to venture to a SS amp the SIT-1 would be my destination. Good luck to you.

Gon member 213 cobra has first hand experience with both of these amplifiers and he thought the SIT-1 were superior.
Thanks for the replies. The SIT does look like a great candidate if I try SS. Any others out there compare the two amps or heard the SIT amp? 213 Cobra?
Go to the thread "thoughts on the First Watt SIT amps" from june 2012.
6moons also has solid coverage of the First Watt line. My experience with a number of First Watt amps leads me to agree with the 6moons reviews. Those reviews very nicely characterize and differentiate the models in the First Watt line.
Thanks, I read the entire thread. Also found a new review by Dick Oshler and it was very favorable. I might have to give it a try.
Hi Bob,
It`s hard to know if it would be better than your SET amp or just different. I agree with you the only way to positively know is to get it in your system.
I`m curious to hear it and compare to my Coincident Frankenstein 300b SET. So far it is the best I`ve heard(for my priorities and taste) especially with the marvelous Takasuki 300b tubes in place.No amplifier is without some flaw or degree of compromise in some aspect of performance.It really boils down to what particular characteristics matter most to a listener.
Best of luck and sucess to you.
What are your current speakers?There`re a number of 2A3 amps available, which amp and what brand/type 2A3 tube do you have? I understand EML makes an excellent mesh and solid plate 2A3.

My speakers are Lamhorns, I just started using the 2a3 amp and prior to that a Ait Tight 300b amp. I have not done any tube rolling yet with the 2a3 so Iknow that I can improve to my taste the sound and the EML mesh is on my short list.
Thanks Bob,
It`d be a lot of fun to hear your amp with a premium level 2A3 such as the EML vs the First Watt SIT-1.Hope the opprotunity happens for you.
Mark at Reno HiFi is always very helpful and great to do business with.
I have a horn system in my home, efficiency is a bit over 100 dB / watt. There is only one solid state amp. that I have ever heard that I would consider running with it, the Pass Aleph J. Literally, almost indistinguishable from my 300b amps.

I have owned the RWA Signature 30.2 as well. I like the amp alot, the sound is very, very different though. Very full, thick and warm sounding, where as the Aleph J was as delicate and light and pleasant as a 300b amp. If I had less efficient speakers, the RWA would probably be better as it would have a little more grunt, but if you are running comfortably on a few watts, the Aleph J is a winner.

All that being said, if your tube amp is noisy, it is simply a poorly designed tube amp and or some bad tubes. I have a pair of Audio Note Kits Interstage Monoblocks that are completely and utterly silent with my horn setup. I have also auditioned a Yamamoto and Wavac that were completely silent as well. My 2 cents.
Hello Bob,
Having read Charles's post for quite some time and having had a slight dealing with him in the past, I give much weight to his opinions.
I also agree with Martin's remark about your tube amp being noisy. There must be a problem which could easily be remedied. My speakers are Beauhorn Virtuoso's (106 db) which are pretty similar to yours. Mine with Lowther DX4's. They are used with Wavelength Cardinals 300b or Wavelength 45 Amps. No noise ever, whatsoever!
Good luck
Hi Ischronism,
Thanks for the kind comment. Last year at RMAF I had the chance to hear the Wavelength Cardinal driving Vaughn speakers. Not only did they sound excellent in that room, those cardinals were dead quiet. Those arevery nice 300b amplifiers.
Hmmm...the Pass Labs would have better resale value, but the First Watt would have better sound?
I am not so sure that the Pass would have better resale value than the FirstWatt amps.

Especially not if we are talking about the FirstWatt models that were limited to a production run of only 100 amps (handbuilt by Nelson Pass!).
First Watt all the way. Very, very cool amp btw.
@ Roscoeiii: You have a point there. My point is that the Pass Labs amps are more popular and would move quicker, as well and commanding a better resale value due to demand. I wonder what the blue book says?

I am not sure a Pass would move quicker. Pass Labs is well known. But I have sold 3 First Watt amps. None has taken longer than 2 days to sell. They have quite the devoted following, despite their low power and niche applications.

Anyway, not to get sidetracked. I would say buy whatever you think will match best with your speakers (Mark at Reno HiFi could help with that and has a return policy, if there are no dealers in your area). No need to buy with resale value in mind. Both Pass and First Watt amps have active markets for them.
I had a Pass XA 30.5 in my system and I loved it until I too replaced it with a Coincident 300b. Though my auditory recall is not great, the Pass was excellent and very hard for me to sell. I've had a few nice amps and the XA30.5 was at the top of my list. I have not however heard the new SIT amps or a First Watt Amp.
@ Roscoeiii: ok, fair enough. I would then say they're about equal?

And good advice there. This Mark guy sounds like a pretty cool dude.