Take them home and listen. That is the only way you will really know which one works better in your setup. If you can't do that which one sounded better when you listened to them?
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Gee, if we only could demo everything. Jrud, did you digest the nine reviews each at audioreview for the Classe 301 and Pass 350? They are very instructional. All the Classe reviews, both negative and positive, are perfunctory at best, while all the Pass owners wax eloquently over their amp.
I am prejudiced, like all the other Pass Labs amp owners. I loved all aspects of my X-150 so much that I went out, and without flinching, shelled out the bucks for the X-600 to power my new speakers.
There is a technically compelling reason to believe in the superiority of Pass. I have a good friend who builds great amps. He studiously follows all fellow amp design accomplishments. According to him, the Pass X and XA circuits are ahead of all the competition. With some research, this becomes obvious to all but the most entrenched.
To make it simple as I can, what Nelson Pass did was to create an amp using no general feedback, while diminishing distortion a hundred fold. Because the signal is unfettered by nary as much as one capacitor nor resistor, full dynamic range is preserved, and that makes this amp BIG. The free signal also amplifies every facet and every nuance.
It's one great looking amp too.
Oops, its the 250 you are looking at. No matter, all the X amps enjoy much the same circuitry.
Hi Jrud, I do not mean any disrespect to anyone who think these two amps are not worthy in a high resolution system. They both do things very well. Both are transparent, clean, grainless and offer enough power for most speakers. IMO, they both fail in one very vital area. Neither can reproduce the small dynamic contrast that makes music involveing or will keep the toes tapping, the hand slapping the knee, or a feeling of bordeom that creeps in after a short period of time. Could be from so many years of using tube amps. I had a Pass x350 loaned to me for two weeks. I could tolerate for about 45 minutes before i quit listening and started thinking of things other than music. Classe sounded different but left me thinking of other things than the music. Both amps had this in common.
Tok20000's advice is the best advice anyone can give you.
I hope you find what fills your needs. Ya got a lot of options. Take advantage of them. I wish you the best in your search.
Brulee, and your alternative? Meaning no disrespect to the afore(not)mentioned ?amp?, it does not follow reason that the Pass, which dominates in dynamic range and instantaneous quickness, cannot handle minute bursts as well. Because you haven't heard it, doesn't mean it isn't in the offering. Just remember, more than an amp, it is the speaker that takes you there.
Hi Muralman 1, I respect your point of view. The Pass X350 I used was with only one pair of speakers. This could be one of those times where this combination was not a good match. I did point out some very fine qualities of both these amps. It just didn't deliver the life, energy, and the colors of different instruments offer. I also found it a bit dry with little of the dimentionality that my tube amps were capable of. I do admit that I am a tube snob. I guess I should not have made those statements of these fine SS amps by not using more than one pair of speakers. I was told that the Pass X350 was an excellent amp on the Coincident Total Eclipse. It just didn't do it for me.
Thanks for your decent response. You brought up some very good points. I will think a little longer before making what may seem to be blanket statements. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Once again i have gained a bit of an education from another Audiogon member.
Brulee, now I understand where you are coming from, and I fully respect your opinion. I, too am a tube fan. I haven't tried Pass X amps without tubes feeding it. One thing I like about the Pass is that it so graciously passes on tube characteristics to the speaker. I have run full valve systems on great speakers and have convinced others to incorporate tubes into their systems. I was dragged kicking and screaming into trying Pass X amps by a knowledgeable amp builder. To my surprise, the Pass preserved the all attributes of tubes that I liked. Again, that is with feeding it tube magic. My CDP, more precisely my tubes, dictate the sound quality I am enjoying.