Sonic Frontiers or Pass with Dunlavy 4a

Heres my situation. I have a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 preamp connected to an X-350. I have an opportunity to go with an all Sonic Frontiers system, Power 2 and SFCD-1 and I like the idea of trying components that were made to complement each other. On the other hand, I could go for the X-1 preamp. I like the natural, detailed sound of the 350 and i've heard the SF tube amps are on the neutral, detailed side as well. I would like a little more bloom in the mids but not at the expense of sacrificing everything else. Im not trying to turn this into a tubes vs ss thread, but I wouldn't mind hearing from people who have had both driving their Dunlavys. Im sure opinions are extreme in both camps and thats fine, i'm just trying to get some insight before I make a decision. I also have a concern about the power 2's ability to drive the 4a's.
I'm driving my Sonus Faber GP Home speakers with a Power 2 amp. Even though the GP's are 90db rated, they are a hard load and need power. I think it has to do with the impedance curve which seems to be more important than the strict efficiency rating, based on what I've read and observed. I started on the Power 1 but had to upgrade to the Power 2 to get the most of these speakers. I'd bet the Power 3 monoblocks would be a treat, but you have to stop somewhere, you know?
I'm a multiple SF owner, so you should know that my input is definitely biased toward Sonic Frontiers.

Little segue... I was at a great high-end shop in the Chicago burbs recently and they were great hosts (OK, it's Holm Audio). I felt guilty making them set up all sorts of shit for me, but they did it happily. They had one line of products, IMHO, that outdid the Sonic Frontiers stuff that I run. It was called "Thor Audio", and the price tag was high, but Holy Cow! If I could afford it, man would I be picking them up in the blink of an eye.

Now Tevya sings "If I were a rich man..........
Before swapping active componentry, i'm going to give you my standard answer for someone running good quality equipment but looking for that last bit of system performance and sonics. That is, try swapping some Goertz MI-2 Veracity speaker cables into your system. Goertz offers a 30 day money back guarantee and are great to work with. Just make sure that you ask for and use their impedance compensation networks, even if they tell you that you probably don't need them.

These cables will provide you with different sonics than what you already have, and whether or not you like it is a personal choice. The MI-2 Veracity's should allow the Pass to really "load up" into the Dunlavy's. The increase in warmth and midrange liquidity should be easy to notice and may be just what you're looking for. If not, simply package them back up and send them back to Goertz. Simple enough, isn't it??? I don't know if you could find a cheaper way to make sure that what you've got for electronics isn't already "good enough" to do what you want : ) Sean
I like the Pass gear with the Dunlavys. Sonic Frontiers is good stuff; pleasant,but it wasn't my flavor of sound. I really don't think the Pass X1 is going to give you the "midrange bloom" you are looking for. It is a very neutral sounding piece. If you are looking for bloom, the all SF system may be more to your taste. Best Regards,
IMO the X-1, as already stated above, will not give you the "bloom" that you are looking for. Mine never did and I really loved the X-1. It was better sounding to me and my audio buds then the SF line 2. As I recall, the SF tube amps did not offer a typical "bloom" sound either. I was using a Pass X-250 in my system and found that a tube preamp added some bloom versus the X-1 and using a tube amp with the X-1 added some bloom. The balance of either combo was different but enjoyable.

Since you already have one combo, I would say you either need to try differnt tubes in the line 3 or change up some cables. I see that you are using the Audience power cord on the X-350. I have one and although I felt it was a great cord for the money, it seemed to add a little hardness to the mids. It was very hard to tell until I tried the Elrod Sig 3 power cord on my X-250. That is when I realized what the X-250 was really capable of sounding like. As Sean states, try a few different cables first to see if you can get your system to sound as you want it to before changing components, because then you may have to deal with additional system matching issues.

Happy Listening.
I agree with the post mentioning different tubes. I find Amperex Bugle boys to add a little bit of "tubeyness" to the SF preamps, as they are generally very neutral sounding. You wouldn't have to change all of the tubes. I recommend these be placed in your cd player first. The Parts Connexion might have some insight on this. I also agree with Sean's post as well.
Thanks, Is adding the zobel networks the key with the goertz mi2, am I trying to add resistance between the amp and the speaker? Just wonderitg because the Goertz python seems to be the same as the mi2 but with the "twist" and a shielded jacket.
Someone else suggested that I use silver ic's. It seems that i tried silver ic's once on a different system and they had a bright etched sound. Anyone care to guess what a set or two of good silver ic's might do to the sound?
The Python's are NOT THE SAME electrically or sonically as the Equivalent gauge Veracity design. In my opinion, they are a lower grade product that was designed to compete with other products cosmetically and to increase the flexibility of the conductors. As such, they should be avoided if possible and the "flat" series ( non-spiral twisted ) of speaker cables should be selected.

As to the Zobel's, they simply present the amp with a higher impedance load at frequencies well above the audible spectrum. The flat Goertz design is such a low impedance and so wide in bandwidth that some amps will see this as a near short circuit at very high frequencies, causing them to become unstable and possibly do damage. By placing Goertz' impedance compensation network ( a Zobel ) in parallel across the binding posts of the speaker, the amp sees a higher impedance load, maintaining circuit stability.

As a side note, there are many high priced aftermarket "tweaks" that are simply Zobel networks built into some type of fancy packaging. Not only do these help to keep an amp more stable, they can also reduce the potential for RFI to enter the system via the speaker cabling, etc... As such, they are strictly a "win / win" situation and people should not be afraid to use them. They will in no way subtract from the listening experience and in some cases, actually improve the performance of the system. That's why others have taken to selling them as an accessory tweak at outrageous prices. Sean