I am sorry for any typos in my comparison but wanted to get it on Audiogon at this point. I checked it a few times before posting but just noticed a few. Also, I would like to thank Mark at Reno HiFi for his assistance in the process. I know many dealers get a bad rap but Mark is one of the good people in Audio. He takes the time to answer questions and is always willing to discuss anything related to the world of Audio.
Thank you fora wonderful & informative review. Your results are expected. Even with more efficient speakers. I have been told by a few the XA100.5sare the "sweet" point of the line. Enjoy them. I am curious about the 200.5s.
Nice job, I'm confident it will be appreciated by others considering the purchase of these amplifiers.
Yes, as expected, all other things being equal or nearly equal, more power is better especially with multi-driver speakers. I wonder if the result would be the same with my speakers that have one 8" driver and 1" silk tweeter? Most likely yes.
Do you wish to increase the power even more and try XA200?
Great review Pettyfeversk. Thanks for taking the time to write it. Your experience is very similar to the one I had when I switched from the XA100.5 to the XA160.5. My speakers are harder to drive than yours, so the 100.5 was not enough power.
I have found that each time I have moved up the Pass line, the sound has improved. This was also true IME with the Aleph 3 to the 5 and then to the Aleph 2 monoblocks. I found everything improved, especially a sense of openness and effortlessness as well as control over the lower frequencies.
Enjoy your new amps.
I TRULY APPRECIATE your enthusiasm for music appreciation after you come home from work to decompress. so many folks just switch on the television and watch whatever is on. i too made many changes in my explorations into getting closer to the "heart" of the performances locked up in those innocuous silver discs. while upgrades are "subtle" in one way they are "invaluable" overall.
in spite of the fact that you went from one superb amplifier to one even more competent and spent a good bit of money that you could have spent in more "practical ways", the rewards are immeasurable. the "road" will hopefully also include a much better understanding of good music and a branching out and exploring within genres you like and others you will soon come to like.
Thank you for your response as well as others responses. Its always wonderful to discover new music and we audiophiles forget at times that it was the music that got us hooked into this hobby in the first place. My collection is varied and I continue to look for more artists. Plus, there is nothing like live music. I am going to see Aimee Mann next week in Boston. I came into this world as a rebel and a rocker and plan to continue my life that way.
Many thanks for that great review Pettyfeversk. I had the chance to compare both on the WP Sasha and the XA100.5 was what Sasha's needed. If I had the place for a XA160.5, I would go for. Now there are some ways to improve and use a maximum of their potential : Use of a great preamp and change the initial power cords.
Which preamp do you use? Did you change of power cords?
For me, Pass XA is a very, very great and outstanting musical instrument
Thank you for your response. Here is my preamp situation. I have had the Jeff Rowland Capri for a good while and am thinking about auditioning the Pass XP-20 as I have been told that the synergy between that preamp and the XA series is quite good. I have communicated with some Audiogoners who have mated the Pass XA amps with the Pass XP-20 and they have articulated that it is a fine preamp. I will say that the Rowland Capri is an outstanding preamp. It would be interesting to do an a/b between the Rowland and the Pass. Most people who I have spoken with have experience with either the Rowland Capri or the Pass XP-20 but not both of them.
In terms of power cords, I have Cardas Golden Reference and all of my cabling is Cardas Golden Reference. I am hesitant to change that as when I have done that in the past, I tend to come back to Cardas. Thanks again. Stephen
I had the possibility to compare my old preamp YBA1 with XP10 and XP20 on the XA100.5. The XP20 is a very fine preamp, but my choice went to a ARC REF5 and I do not regret it. REF5 is far better than XP20, so if you have the possibility to compare both, I think you will be very surprised.
Cardas a very good choice too.
Very nice review.
I have the 30.5 and 100.5's and use Conrad Johnson tube preamps (ART and ACT 2.2) in both systems. With the XA amps having a dominant 3rd order distortion characteristic and my tube pres having a dominant 2nd order, I find a nice balanced sound. I did audition the XP20 and thought it was a great ss pre. If I were to change to ss, it would be at the top of my list.
One of my favorite quotes from Mr. Pass is:
"Anecdotally, it appears that preferences break out roughly into a third of customers liking 2nd
harmonic types, a third liking 3rd harmonic, and the remainder liking neither or both.
Customers have also been known to change their mind over a period of time.
However the issue is partially obscured by the fact that the 3rd harmonic type amplifiers
usually have lower total distortion. Third harmonic usually appears with a negative coefficient,
resulting in what we think of as compressive - the example in figure 3. It's worth noting that
odd orders on nonlinearity also can be seen altering the amplitude of the fundamental tone
-something a distortion analyzer doesn't ordinarily display.
The sound of 2nd order type circuits is often praised as warm and by comparison 3rd order
type circuits are often noted for dynamic contrast. 2nd order type amplifiers seem to do
particularly well with simple musical material, and 3rd order types generally seem to be better
at more complex music."
This might explain why people have different preferences toward sound. Nothing will explain why people "argue" over it though. :-)
I'd second Jpspock's suggestion to try to listen to the ARC Ref 5 (if new, even better, the 5SE). I owned both the X0.2 and XP20 both very nice preamps. The ARC presentation in comparison will be quite a bit different and you may prefer it depending on your musical tastes and listening preferences.
Great review :-)
I have just gone from a XA30,5 to a set of XA100,5. They have not even been burned in (played about 50-70hours) but they are allready mutch better amps than the XA30,5.
I would say that the sound charachter is the same on bouth amps, but the XA100,5 are just mutch better.
I have a set of Avalon Transcendent and the XA100,5 are a perfect match on these speakers......
Thanks for the response. Your new amps will continue to change as they burn in. The biggest changes are in the first one hundred hours and more subtle changes in the second hundred hours. I have about 400 hours on mine at this point.
Thanks for your thoughts. I am giving some thought to the Audio Research Preamps, possibly the LS-27. Can you give me more of a sense why you thought the Audio Research preamps were a better match for the Pass Monoblocks? How does the Audio Research effect your system? What type of loudspeakers do you own? Thanks for your thoughts as it is difficult for me to arrange to hear either the Audio Research or Pass Preamps in person. Stephen
Thank you for an excellent review, very well written and informative. Nice to see someone enjoying their system so much. Thanks again, very helpful to me.
I am glad that you found the review and comparison helpful. Let me know if I can be of further assistance regarding other information or thoughts about the Pass Amps I have owned. You can reach me by cell at 978 877-9123. Take care and have a good day. Stephen
It's your review, and one other members, that is about to cost me quite a chunk of change sir! Grrr...
Thank you for the kind offer, I actually just read your post and picked up the phone to dial your number, then I thought "spare the poor guy" and put the phone back down-for now. Don't be surprised if I give you a ring and blab your ear off sometime in the near future!! ;)
Call me anytime you like, as I hope I can be of assistance as we all take this audio journey. Take care . Stephen
Well I did it. Ordered a set of XA-100.5's! Stephen and Teajay, you two were a HUGE help, thank you!
Thanks for informative review and the comparison of different models along the line.
Can you please elaborate on a comparison to simaudio amps? Did you have the W7M?
Oops, I also meant to include Peterayer as he was also a HUGE help. You three have put up some fantastic and very helpful reviews, Pass owes you one. Now, anyone want to buy a VAC?? ;)
I am excited for you and hope you really enjoy the Pass XA100.5 amps. They are really special and I am sure they will add to your system. What do you have for speakers, a sources, and preamp? Let me know when you will have the opportunity to hear them? Stephen
I had Simaudio Monoblocks many years a go and can't remember what they were called. I know they were about 500 watts per channel and had a coll, very detailed sound. Stephen
I can't wait for them to arrive, should be here in a couple of days now.
I have the following; Usher Be-20's(Danny Richie cross overs), BAT Vk-51SE pre, MBL 1531 CDP, PI Audio Ubberbuss and KCI cables. I'll post up my thoughts after I get a little time with them. Thank you for all the help!
Hope you received your amps and are enjoying them. Stephen
I received them yesterday and couldn't stand it; took the rest of the day and rushed hme to hook them up. My wife and son were there to help and upon firing them up my wife said; "they sound terrible!", had to explain to her(again) they're new, they're cold, give em time. We went out to eat and I left them running, a couple of hours later upon my return.......oh my! Really starting to warm up and sound nice, I listened to them until I had to go to bed, can't wait to get home from work today!
On another note; they are beautiful, the craftmanship is top notch, of course they are Pass so I'd expect nothing less.
Congrats on your new purchase. I've had my 100.5's for 3 yrs now. The best of the ss amps I've heard. Happy listening!
The burn in for the Pass XA100.5 amps that I was told about really worked for me. It was to leave them totally on for 3 days. You don't have to play music. After three days, leave them on during the day and for three nights when yu go to sleep, turn them totally off from the back. This seems to accelerate the burn in. They continue to improve after that but the greatest change was in those first six days. I leave mine in the standby position when not listening and when I power them up, they sound their best when on for 1-2 hours. They just have to warm up to really give you that sound. Let us know how they work with the rest of your system and how you feel about them. Good luck and if you have any questions or I can help in any way, give me a call on my cell. Stephen 978 877-9123 You can call anytime as I turn it off when I call it a night. Take Care.
Great write up. I love my XA 100.5's and my other Pass gear...XP-25, XP-30.
How do you like the XP-30? I should be receiving the XP-20 today and will try it in my system. Have been using the Rowland Capri.
I love the XP-30. It replaced my Mark Levinson 380S which I loved. The XP-20 is pretty close to the sound of the XP-30 from what I have heard. Much better deal buying a lightly used XP-20. I have not compared the two however myself. I was going to audition/buy an XP-20, but before I could, the XP-30 came out and I went that route.
Does anyone who has a virtual system up on Audiogon know when it will be possible to update it. I go to my page and it says I have no system up and I have had one since 2004. I am interested in changing the photos but at this point it is not possible for me to get into my system since they did the change to Audiogon. Stephen
How was the break in period with your Pass XP-30? How long did it take you and what changes do you remember experiencing from the time it was new to fully broken in. Thanks
Thank you for the tips on break in, did exactly as you said and it sounds fantastic!
You've got our interest peaked on that Pass XP-30, please tell us more about your thoughts on it. A mini-reveiw would be wonderful!
Thank yoy Pettyfeversk,just the info i need.
I have the XA30.5 and considering the XA60.5 or 100.5. I extract a lot of juice and the needle swings 70% across often. I do not want to lose the sweetness of the XA30.5. Your notes help indeed.
I am running my Wadia direct and might add a preamp later.(XP20 or XP30 or Krell Phantom).
Great write up and your comments concerning the differences
between the XA series of amplifiers emulates what Pass has
explained to me.
Unfortunately I have a wife who isn't very understanding of
this hobby so I think a pair of XA100.5's are out of the
question for me. I really like that rack that you have the
amps sitting in. Did you buy it or make it ?
The moral of the story...."Bigger is better".