I have owned a Pass x250 and a Krell 402e; which I suppose is fairly close to the comparison you mention. I can say after owning the Pass x250; which the 350.5 is supposed to be a much smoother amp than the 250, is an amp I thoroughly enjoyed. I think I may have had a preamp mismatch (Audio Research LS15) at the time; so it sounded a bit lean. However the frequency extremes were outstanding; that is to say the bass and treble were great. The midrange on some recordings; although fleshed out, simply did not have bloom.
On the other hand, the Krell 402e did not have the slam the Pass amp had; the midrange was a tad more liquid, but still lacking something. Perhaps I expected a little more neutral presentation, but both amps for me erred on the side of cool sounding. You can't go wrong with either of your choices, but system matching with SS it a little more critical than with valves; which has been my experience. I would opt for the Pass x350.5; using a tube preamp and Cardas type cables. HTH
Thanks for a great post. I am surprised to hear the Pass had more bass slam. Anyhow, thank you.
To supplement Ff116's comment. There's quite a bit of difference between the X.5 and the non .5 version of the Pass amps. I own the X350.5. Prior to purchasing it, I had the opportunity to hear it compare side-by-side with X350 at a friend's house as he was debating which one to buy. The preamp was the ARC Ref 2 Mk I. All four of us at the shoot-out all were a bit surprised how lean and solid-state like the X350 sounded. The X350.5 exhibited more of what you would expect from Pass with the warm and tube-like midrange and excellent control on both ends. The bass control was just superb. We all thought the difference justifies much more than just an ".5" upgrade status.
I am running mine with an ARC LS-25 Mk I (with Reference level mod by GNSC).
@ Ff116, Thats an interesting post about the evoltion E stereo amp and the Passlabs amp, I was told by Krell and other x krell employees, that the Evolution E amps was different than my modded totally renewed by Krell 700cx, the difference is my amp by far has extrodinary slam!, I would like to compaire this Krell 700 cx to eany passlabs amp as far as the slam department goes, Passlabs is a great product, we all know that, but if you know the history of Krell, each and every model line has had a different sound from one to the other, like the Krell Kas model line, and so fourth, really, the older Krell models are better to me, cheers.
The 0.5 series are superior to the earlier X series. To be unnest the older ones I did not find that impressive. What kind of speakers do you use? Wenn you want the best in 3-dimensional image. The Pass Labs does a better job. There are only a few older Krell amps which sound I loved. But these days I am only interested in the best level in 3-dimensional image. Because this is the key to the absolute sound. Krell is not capable of giving the wide and deep stage as Pass Labs can give. Pass labs is also capable of letting you hear the difference between 2 acoustic guitars with ease in the same recording.
Bo1972, Which Krell to which Pass Labs did you compare, as this make a big diffence and this is, as you know very system dependent.
My Krell 400E mono with ARC Ref 5SE gives a extremely wide, deep and open image, in which it seems, that my speakers where not there.
No need to go to Pass for me, as I am extremely satisfied with the sound.
Said that Pass Labs sound almost broken on eg a Wilson Sasha, where Krell with this speaker shines, so system dependence is always the rule.
Both amplifiers are great and preference of someone also is one key rather than which is better.
And yes, I hear also very easily the difference between 2 acoustic guitars in the same recording.
I own the Pass Labs X250.5 which drives my Wilson Duettes in the dining room and the Krell Evo 2250e which drives my Spendor STs in the bedroom. The VTL 7.5iii is the preamp for both. They are two very different sounding amps. In a room where the accoustics are not challenging I prefer the Pass to the Krell. The Pass has an wide soundstage, and excells in the mid-range, goes very deep in the bass and does not sound like a SS amp. The Krell is more analytical has better imaging and air around the notes and instruments and the bass is so well controlled that it sounds good in any room environment. I tried the x250.5 in my bedroom, which absorbs sounds and the whole soundstage flattened and lost transparency, the Krell was largely unaffected by the room. I am using the same interconnects and speaker cables with both amps. Both amps will benefit significantly from an upgraded power cable. I hope this helps.
I auditioned pass 250.5 at my local dealer and liked everything expect dynamics and bass. I am surprised by the comment that Krell 402E did not have bass that is not as good as than older generation of Pass??? Latest Krells are great amplifiers. I own latest Krell 302e and in my house compared it with Plinius sb301, Mark Levinson 532H, Gamut d200i and latest Hegel H4SE.
Krell has better bass, more airy highs and very energetic and natural midrange with very real 3d sounstage and of cause its dynamics are awesome.
I really would like to know if in this price range (around $10K) there is something better overall . I agree with some comments here that pre-amp can be an issue when auditioning pre-amp. It needs to be a great match with the amplifier or it will kill all the goodies that particular amp is famous for.
Krell FPB Mc series. I really liked the musical sound, but the stage was not the strongest part. Pass Labs gives a different focus on the sound of instruments. I am not talking about the stage. The Krell is more focussed on the overwhole sound. There are many Krell amp's I auditioned which were not that convincing or special. I sold my XA100.5 to a client with puppy7 sepakers. Was the best puppy audition I ever heared. I also auditoned more average demo's with Wilson Audio speakers. Often acoustic problems. Many had Krell amp's. The acoustic problems were not caused by the Krell amp's.
I use a Purist Audio Limited 2013 powercable of 4000 dollar. It is a lot of money but I add's new qualities to all the parts were you Judge an amp for. I often do a-b comparissons between an map or source with a less expensive cable and a less expensive amp or source with a much more expensive powercabels. Most of the time people choose for the more expensive powercable and less expensive source/amp during blind audition.. Many people expect that the more expensive amp/source will be better.
I disagree about a Pass Labs amp sounding broken on a Wilson Sasha. My buddy has Sashas and when I hauled my XA160.5s to his house and hooked them into his system, IMO the Sashas never sounded better.
In fact, I've never heard a Pass amp sound "broken" in any system in which it was paired with appropriate speaker loads.
The ".5" version is a major improvement over the standard X or XA models.
I don't have any experience with Krell amps.
@ Bo1972, Hi, not to be funny here, but if my soundstage of my Krell amp got eany bigger, it would knock my house walls out!this krell amp also has a very, very deep soundstage and I can hear more than two acoustic guitars at once, try multiple guitars at once on the same recording, like you are there at the musical performance, and I am forreal serious about what I am saying here, I suppose the caliber of cables helps that I own, you can say I am getting the full glory out of this Krell modded FPB 700cx amp, what I mean by modded is Krell put all new caps of todays technology in that was not available when the amp was manufactured, that was $3,157.38 of an up-grade!, cheers.
The thing I don't understand from Krell is why the sound of there amp's during a long period of time sound so different. Sometimes it is very musical and other times they can sound clean and without any kind of emotion. Often people use Krell with Tranparent cables. They bring more colour in the sound.
It is nice to modify an already good amp. New caps often improve the speed and openness. I have a person who can, modify sources, amps, cables and speakers from my clients. Technique and time goes on.
Thankyou Bo1972, of course you know I do not use the Transparent cables, so I do not have the colour exsperience, I hear great things here on the gon about Transparent cables used on a variety of equipment, I have never heard anybody say they sound coloured, cheers.
Transparent makes nice cables, no doubt about it. I did some test with Nordost Valhalla and the more expensive Transparent in the past. Was with Krell poweramp and pre amp. With Valhalla there was a lot more details and speed. The sound is Always more important over resolution. With Transparent it was a lot more pleasent to listen at. A system needs to have a nice overwhole sound. Wenn it is not there you never wil listen for many hours. It is that simple!