Speaker suggestions - Pass XA30.5 $3500

Hi all, I've been with Thiel for about 10 years and think I'm ready to try something new. I've got a Pass INT-30A, listen only to digital sources (PS Audio PWDII), and want speakers that image well and can periodically support a loud dance session. Looking at speakers that go for around $3500 used.

I listen to a wide range of music (e.g., Electronic, Pop, Rock, Jazz, and female vocalists) and am open to a variety of speaker designs.

Also, the Pass is probably more powerful than you think. Stereophile measured it as clipping at 135W @ 8 ohms and 295W @ 4 ohms. I preferred it pretty soundly to the X-250.5 on my Thiel 2.4s.

I have a medium sized living room that takes up the entire width of the house when you come in the front door. It's 15' x 21' with 8' ceilings (on a slab) and the stereo (attached to a TV) is on one half of the long wall. The room's a bit unbalanced in that way, but unfortunately that's the only setup option.

Thanks for your suggestions.

- Chris
The XA30.5 is a very musical amp with a wide and deep stage. And has more drive and dynamics than most other amps of 2 times 150 watt by 8 ohm can give. When you want to go to a higher level of the Thiel speaker you should try a set Monitor Audio Pl-200. It is a lottle more than the 3500 dollar for a used set. But it outperforms the Thiel easily. It uses better crossovers, so th stage is wider and deeper. It can play very loud. SPL is about 118 db. It even plays far behiond and beside the speakers. The ribbon tweeter gives a much sharper individual focus of instruments and voices than any dome tweeter can give.
There's a pair of Ref 3A Grand Veenas for sale near your price range, and also some Joseph Audio RM25XLs for sale a bit under your price target. Both are great imaging speakers and are both relatively easy to drive. Best of luck.
not sure if you can find a set, but i recently moved to audio physics Caldera II. its matched with a Pass xa30.8 and Pass xp10. This setup is fantastic. By a long margin, the best i have ever owned. I picked up the calderas for that price range. I also heard the scorpio's are great also. Imagining is one of the strengths of the early Audio physics line. great balance from highs to lows with no shortage of bass response.
Thanks for all the suggestions folks. Please do keep them coming.
Oilmanmojo: I see that there are various AP's up on Agon, some of which are MKI and others are MKII, and the current line is 25. I realize they make a lot of different speakers, any elaborations on the general differences across generations?
I sold AP for over 8 years of time. They make fine speakers.
But in the world of highend audio a wide and deep stage is
what makes highend audio thrilling. This part is not the best
of AP.

The Pl-200 is superior in speed and has a much wider and
deeper stage. Beside this instruments and voices are a lot
more physical apparent.

These days I sell 3 dimensional sound. I outperform all other
shops in audio all the time. That is how I work. At the end
the best and most convincing sound in audio always wins. That
is why I keep it simple and clear!
Zu Soul Superfly or Supreme
heard the pass auditioned with dynaudio contour--sounded awfully good
Pass Labs tests their amps using Tannoy speakers, specifically Tannoy HPDs, 15‰ with 2‰ coax tweet, Imperial cabinets turned upside down. I just visited and heard an impressive demo at the home of one of the owners who said each one of their testers, including Nelson Pass, uses the same system for consistency. His current amps were the XA-160.8 monos, but he confirmed that the XA-30.8 has the same topology and outputs power up to the levels Bo1972 says your XA-30.5 does. Great boogie.

I imagine if you're patient, you'll find a good pair of Tannoys in your price range soon.

Good luck.
I cant speak for the different versions. Bo indicated he has more experience. The Caldera II was a late 90's version that got a lot of great reviews when it came out and was noted for its sound stage and presence. The later version did not fair as well (Caldera III) but when i was evaluating my purchase, many people who had owned or still owned the 3 box set of Caldera speakers all echoed the quality of these speakers in their experience. I also understand that since the founder (Joachim Gerhard) left, the newer speaker designs are not loved as some of his earlier lines. I also consulted Nelson Pass concerning what amps would match up with these speakers and he clearly said i would be pleased with the 30.5 or 8. I was looking at one of his first watt products before his comments. He was familar with the audio physics line and said he often talked to Joachim in days past
I owned the XA100.5, 60.5, 30.5 and X250.5 and next week I
will receive a 2 year old 350.5. I am thinking about the 350.8
later as well in 2015.

Here comes an important note. I used the XA100.5 with Purist
Audio Aqueous powercables with Oyaide 004.

Later I used the X250.5 with the Purist Audio Limited Edition
with F1/M1 from Oyaide.

I got a better articulation of voices with the last set.
Voices became a lot more sounding like the XA100.5 in the mid
freq. I had a better speed. The endresuls were even better
than the first set.

I had a few conversations about this with Pass Labs. Many
people only use a low level of the whole potential of an amp.

Another example: in the last few months I bought 2 sets of
Audioquest Wel Signature XLR cables. These gave me a new level
in listening. Voices and instruments are so much more phycical
and the black level is gone to a new level as well. The other
thing is that you can hear very precise what height does in a

You can buy a 600.5 (8) or 160.5 (8) with good interconnects
but you still will not have the same level in height and black
as with a much cheaper Pass Labs with stunning cables like the
Wel Signature.

Many people only get only a low level out of their amps what
they are capable of!!
I had a very similar room in which I chose the Dunlavy Cantatas. The nice thing about Dunlavy speakers is that they tend to minimize the negative effects of any room, even really problematic ones where symmetry is virtually impossible. The Cantatas would also benefit from the Pass unit's ability to maximize bass extension which can be really amazing from this design. If you are not familiar with Dunlavy speakers, do a little research to see that they have been out of production for some time, but still have quite a following in the audio community and represent a tremendous value in the used market.
Brauser: Do Dunlavys happen to use "generic" drivers? I'm a little concerned about purchases from defunct companies since there's no way to return the speaker to stock if the a driver fails.
Also, any opinions on Coincident speakers? There's a pair of Super Eclipse III's in the price range. I've read both good and bad (and aware that the Pass is overkill for their level of efficiency)...
Very cool query Chris-

the Thiel CS 2.4, CS 2.7 are my reference loudspeakers!
Actually, I really loved the CS 3.7- it is too big for my room.

I have always wanted to demo w/ Pass Labs gear.
My musical tastes are the same as yours. And Thiel gets it 'right' IMO.

I have spent time w/ the following speakers;
Focal/JM lab
Joseph Audio
REL subwoofer - (the best in the business)!
Thiel -(my fave and reference)!
Wilson Audio

The only other brand on my short-list to audition would be the VERITY line.
Keep me posted, feel free to ask me questions and Happy listening!
Jafant: Any thoughts on the Aerial Acoustics Model 6T?