Well you probably don't see comparisons of these two brands because they are in different leagues price wise. Sonically I think they are both nice, musical solid state amps. However, the Pass amps tend to cost a LOT more than the McCormack amps. There is another thread that just listed comparing Pass to Krell, that's a more normal comparison.
Folks tend to compare items that are in a similar price range, whether it's amps, speakers, cars, etc. Folks don't compare BMW's to Chevy's much either.
Thanks. I do see Pass amps for 1500 or so used, which is not that different from McCormack DNA-1s for example. I think Pass Aleph 30s are an example...
Diff price league for similar power output. DNA-1 is over 150 wpc, IIRC. Pass is 30.
OK, pretend the price difference doesn't exist.
Have you heard both and have any opinion as to relative sound character?
Don't seem to be having much luck in this thread.
Also, consider this...
If I buy a DNA-1 for ~$800, and send it in for $1000 to $2000 of upgrades as I plan, it would in the price range of used, more powerful Pass amps.
Jim, as you noted in your OP, you really don't see these two brands compared in the archives. Swampwalker and I told you why. It's hard enough to find any Pass vs. Mccormack head to head comparison, and now you want to compare modified McCormack to Pass?? Good luck finding anyone who has some side by side experiences there.
They are both good brands with good reputations, spend as much $$$ as you are comfortable spending and enjoy the music. I believe that you have to be careful with both brands if you are planning to use a tube preamp though, impedence issues.
OK, guess you're right. Thanks for the help. I tried posting this again, so guess we can ignore that one.
Hi Jim, I certainly see the pricing disparity that the others speak of, but I think considering both manufacturers reputation, it is a fair question. I wish I had the experience to answer it, hopefully someone will, I'd like to hear how they might compare.
We hear all the time about how an amp compares way above its price range.
>> We hear all the time about how an amp compares way above its price range.
Yes, isn't that the truth. If it's not better than amps twice its price, it's not worth the price being asked for it. :-)
Jim- As I think about your question, it occurs to me that you have nothing to lose by asking Steve McCormack and Nelson Pass that question directly. You can reach the former through SMc Audio (he does post on this site on occasion but unfortunately we can no longer PM each other) and the latter through the DIY sites. Neither of them has a significant financial interest and they both have a strong reputation for honesty, integrity and openness in their dealings with the public. If you decide to do so, I'd ask you to ask them for permission to post their comments.
Swampwalker, that is a good idea. I in fact called SMC this week and didn't get Steve, but his partner (Chris?), who talked to me for a long time about the upgrade options.
At times like this I just wish I lived in a big city.
I have heard McCormack at a dealer. Liked it, but it had a somewhat forward sound and a little bit of glare in the treble, although I notice this sort of thing more than most, as I am very sensitive to anything that sounds remotely bright. And, admittedly the sound quality may have been affected by speakers being used -- Gallo Ref 3.5s. (This was also a stock McCormack I heard, not a modded unit.)
I own a Pass150.5, which I like better than what I recall of the McCormack. The Pass has excellent detail and a bit of warmth at medium volumes when it is operating in Class A. Pass also has great bass. I used to own a VAC Phi 200, a very good tube amp, and like the Pass better, for whatever that's worth. If you listen to rock music, the Pass is really excellent.
IMHO, and to keep it brief, the biggest difference is that the McCormack amps tend to be forward of neutral, the Pass amps are incredibly neutral. Depending(!) on your speakers, budget and/or listening preferences either can be an excellent choice.
Oops, my first response was referring to the latest Pass amps, the earlier Aleph and some of the Pass First Watt amps are quite different, some being quite recessed IMHO.
Unsound and Mcondon, thank you much for your comments. Unsound, that is the kind of very valuable appraisal we can only get from each other and the kind of thing that helps us know what we want.
Mcondon, I suspect the X150.5 is a bit more than the Pass Aleph 30s or McCormack in my budget? But bet they sound nice...