Nice job with the review! Let us know how many hours it actually takes to completely break in.
Nice job with the review! Let us know how many hours it actually takes to completely break in.
Nice review. Makes me want to run out an order one!
I am a little concerned about simply replacing the 15A recepticles with the 20A ones unless of course the supply line is actually 12 gauge copper or better and with a 20 AMP breaker. I doubt the amp will ever be pulling enough for it to be a problem but there is a reason Pass put the 20A plug on the X350. While in practicality there unlikely will any problems, I'm sure the buildng code and your homeowners insurance may a have a different view. FWIW.
Congratulations on making an excellent purchase and writing a very nice review. You have a nice writing style that is both comfortable to read and informative at the same time. You did a nice job of covering all of the various aspects of the unit and segmented each part so as to make it easy to read i.e. "good flow".
As to the amp itself, i'm sure you'll love it even more as you get more time on it. Nelson's amps are very "real", "organic" and "natural" sounding. There is just a sense of "musicality" that you get along with all of the detail that is hard to imagine and / or find in other products. It truly is something that one must hear and experience in a well set up system to be able to relate. I think that your review did a nice job of "trying" to explain that : )
Hopefully, both you and your wife will enjoy the system for years to come. Sean
PS... I see you listed a Levinson amp but did not make mention of it in the review. Any thoughts / comparisons in that regard ?
PPS... Have you been turning the amp off and on as needed or leaving it turned on ?
Hi, folks -
Thanks for the commentary and the advice. I'll try to respond to all that I've see nso far:
1. Break-in time. All I can say is that, after 250 hours or so, we didn't notice any further changes in the X350s attributes that we could directly ascribe to the amp itself. Other changes, such as the upgrade to Cardas Golden Reference bi-wire speaker cables would have obscured any further judgement on that score. BTW, these cables made a substantial difference, and I'll review them after I've had a while longer to live with them.
2. AC Receptacle change. Thanks for the inforamtion WRT the receptacle change. As part of an on-going remodeling project, I did twin 12 gage 'home runs' to the breaker panel, so I'm comfortably within code for these outlets. However, I'm thinking of isolating the music system AC feed to a separate subpanel with a SOLA isolation transformer in line to screen out any possible interference and noice for mthe rest of the AC distribution system.
3. Amp comparisons. I listed the Levinson 335 becuase I had auditioned it against my Bryston 4B ST and a Krell FPB 300. At the time, I had MG 3.5Rs, and a friend of mine was consideing the Krell vs the Levinson, so we set up a weekend listening session. The results were that the Levinso and the Krell were noticeably better than the Bryston in a number of areas, but not by a huge margin. Longer-term listening might have given us a better picture, but we got a pretty good idea of each amp's character. The Levinson was warm, detailed and buttery smooth. And completely uninvolving. Too polite, was our assessment. Some folks like that. The Krell was exciting, compelling and theatrical. Lots of 'wow' factor. The 4B ST was more 'Krell-like' than the Levinson, but less refined. That was the upshot of our brief experiment.
4. Leaving the amp on or off. Generally, I leave it on all the time in the fall and winter seasons - along with the wood stove, it helps warm the room . During the warmer months, I leave it in 'stand by' mode, but turn it on an hour or so before doing any serious listening.
5. Preamp and imaging. Well, I've always been of the opinion that a great solid astate amp combined with a great tube preamp are complimentary in that each plays to the others' strengths. It gets me the best of both worlds, IMHO. This notion can make for some interesting discussion and debate, and no doubt there are always exceptions to this rule, if I can call it that.
6. Balanced vs unbalanced inputs. Thanks for the advice. As soon as budget allows, I'll replace the preamp-amp connection with Cardas Golden Reference XLR cables and I'll document the results. BTW, what do you notice comparing balanced vs unbalanced inputs?
It was a pleasure to read your beautifully written article. Yours looks like a very enjoyable system (I've always loved Maggies, but doubt I've ever heard them driven as well as yours must now be), and located on a ranch yet - great combo for environmentally uncontaminated listening, I'll bet. I see you only have a couple of answers on the forum otherwise, both from pretty recently, so I look forward to reading more of your input in the future, and bid you welcome!
Hi, Zaikesman -
Thanks for the compliment. It's taken quite a while and no little amount of experimentation to get the system balanced so that all of its elements harmonize and synergize.
And you're right - the location doesn't hurt, either. Our place is located on 16 acres straddling a 4000 foot long soft field airstrip. The house is a 60' X 100' pole building that we've renovated into a lower space comprised of approx 3000 sq feet of shop space and a 1200 sq ft aircraft hangar. We remodeled the upper space into something more suitable for a family of four. The original configuration of the living was a little strange, and it took a bit of work to get it comforatable and more usable. But it had some interesting features - an all-tile main living room, a kitchen done in Italian granite, and an small bathroom that would have been nothing special except that it was done in Italian granite and travertine marble. The previous owner is a third-generation Italian stone mason who built stone-cutting machinery in the shop spaces below. Hence the tile, stone and granite.
It is quiet out here. My lifelong ambition was to be able to live where the only noise I could hear at night was the wind in the trees. This would be it. While the listening environment isn't completely ideal, overall, everything sounds pretty darn good.
As time permits, I'll publish reviews of the Cardas cables and the Accuphase DP-75 I've recently acquired. I've also got some plans with respect to MG20R xover mods and speaker frame stiffening. I'll be sure to publish the resutls here.
In closing, I'll say that if I've erred in any regards towards system configuration, it's always been towards the musical over the theatrical or analytical. Music is about communication, emotion, the pictures that it makes in your head and the way it inspires your body to move. Anything else is just special effects.
Thanks and congrats on a most excellent upgrade. Given the efficiency of your Wilson 5.1s, the amount of headroom you have with the X1000s must be truly breathtaking.
When my situation improves, I'm looking to move to a pair of X600s. In the meantime, the X350 continues to amaze me with its transparency and power. My MG20R crossover upgrade project is on the back burner for now, but I have most of the parts I need.
I did extensive listening to the X350. It was a well burned in unit from a dealer. As good as it is, there is still a brightness and shrillness that rears its head when you play less than perfectly recorded material at it. None of the tube amps I used did this, and I do not believe it was just a matter of the Pass revealing more than the tubes - I believe it is still a solid state artifact, whether it be some form of intermodulation distortion or some other transistor distortion.
The Boulder 1060, which is more revealing and detailed, and generally much superior to the Pass, does not do this on the same recordings. Yes, the Boulder is a $19,000 amplifier.
But for my tastes, I can't bear to listen to what this amp does to second rate material.
Curious - Based on your experience, it doesn't seem as if you were listening to the same amp that the rest of us have heard. Now I'll grant you that the Pass X series amps are not tolerant of problems or poor synergy elsewhere in the system. But I've got some of the best tweeters on the planet in my system, and I'll tell you that the X350 is most assuredly neither shrill nor overbright. It is not romantic, either. Poor recordings sound exactly like what they are. The highs on my system are open, clear and extended - my wife and I and our friends can listen through our music collections for hours at a time on my system without the sort of fatigue that would surely result if your observations were the rule rather than the exception.
Sounds to me as if there may be some issues elsewhere in your system. And that may simply mean that the Pass is just not for you.
All righty Ward, my Pass X-350 was delivered about an hour ago. Based on your review and some others in other forums, I made the decision to buy the Pass over Krell or Levisons of similiar outputs. This is my first venture into the realm of seperates or higher end product so forgive me for sounding like the novice that I am. The X-350 is downstairs still sitting in the double box as I am going to have to wait for a friend (or two) to come over and help me lift it out.
On to the reason I am posting in your thread. I am looking to marry this beast up to a McIntosh C2200 tube pre-amp which I have not yet purchased. I will be playing SACDs with a Shanling CD T-200A and into some very old Polk Audio SDA 1s. These are next to be upgraded. I am thinking of moving to Martin Logan Aeons. I am really looking more for your opinion and reccomendations here about what pre-amp to connect this beast to. Since the last post was almost two years ago, I hope you are still watching this thing.