The Pass Labs X-1 has won many awards. TAS golden ear and stereophile class A.
How many has the Wyred for Sound preamp won?
How many has the Wyred for Sound preamp won?
The Pass X1 is as good as what you put into it. It is one of the best SS pres under $10 grand IMHO. The Pass definitely does not add anything to the music. It is very neutral and quiet. I have not heard the Wyred4sound. The Pass X1 was made for many years and did win many awards. last I looked it was still being used by Nelson Pass at the shows with the First Watt amps. Also, not too long ago I was going to trade in my X1 and the dealer said he would give me what I paid for it, no questions asked. It got me thinkin if you know what I mean.
i went threw a bunch of pre's a while back, trying to determine which was the best fit for my system. agree with Tzh21y here. the X1 was the most neutral and added/took away nothing from the music. did not try anything from Wyred4sound but bel canto, krell, and a few others were in the mix. was very undecided until the X1 got plugged in. slam dunk for me here. aside from the rather lame remote control functions....i'm very happy with the choice.
if you have a good source and want to hear every bit of it... the X1 is fantastic imho.
btw....although i didn't compare the two, i've read the newer X1's with the full size power supply are "better" then the older versions with the smaller/black box power supply.
I've got a Cary SLP-05. I loved this preamp but honestly, I wish to get away from tubes. I'm constantly tube rolling! I just can't leave well enough alone.
New baby wants my time but loves music too (I think).
Now I want to set it and forget it, but don't wish to sacrifice what I've got going DAC to amp.
Interested to hear what good audiophile folks have to say here.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the Aesthetix Calypso preamp when you get the chance. I have briefly compared it side by side with a Pass XP10 at the local dealer. IMO, the Calypso had a deeper soundstage with exceptionally pleasing tonality, but the Pass created more of the "you are in the room presence" specially on female vocal tracks. I am zeroing on these 2 units and might schedule an in home demo shortly.
I decided not to sell it. At first, I missed the bloom from the C220. After a couple of days, there was no turning back. I really like the X1. To me it is much more resolving than any tube preamps I have owned. I like the tubes better in the amp. After the X1 warmed up I was really happy and do not plan to sell anytime soon. The first day I posted it, a guy wanted it right away and offered me what I was asking. A dealer told me he would also give me what I paid for it, no questions. It got me thinking and now I know why.
I'll be getting my X1 back from Pass Labs tomorrow. Like you I had considered replacing it, but after I spoke with Wayne and Kent at Pass it seemed like a general checkout and refurbishment might be a cheap way to get it back to its peak condition. Kent said that in fact it was not performing up to factory specifications because of some parts aging, which have now all been replaced. He said "you should be surprised with the result". One more day.
I did get the Calypso. I have only had it for about 24 hours and am working out the bugs. It is used, so it is already broken in. I am really happy with the sound as of yet. It sounds so different from the X-1 I can't get over it. I love my X-1, don't get me wrong. The Calypso is so much more involving. It has great detail and bass like the Pass, but with air and bloom. The sounds really have an air around them. The balance control is not as fully "balance-able" as on the X-1, and the X-1's unity gain works better, although this may be because I have not figured it out properly on the Calypso.
I got my X1 back but I'd been spending a bit of time experimenting with it. Still need more time to burn it in.
My X1 actually had a bit more done to it than a simple checkup. The intelligence of Nelson's and Wayne's design became apparent when I asked if I could get a gain reduction in the low gain stage. Apparently the X1 is easily modfied to do this, so I had it done. I was getting too much total gain in my setup, so that I was maxing out my listening volume at very low control settings (this was with the 4dB gain setting). What makes the mods so sweet is that it can be configured afterward (by the owner) so that some of the gain reduction can be removed by a simple movement of mainboard jumpers. Not too shabby, although you'd do this at your own risk of course.
What I can say now that I got it back is that I can hear things more clearly at very low volume levels. Before, there was less of an ability to pick out small bits of detail. Now it seems I can hear things down there that I hadn't been able to before. At higher volumes the sense of clarity is also there. Additionally, of course, I now have a much more gain-friendly preamp for my setup and a much broader range of adjustment.
That and the usual praise for Pass customer support. They are one of the best companies I have ever dealt with as far as customer care is concerned. You can tell it's one of their basic tenents. If for that alone I would not think twice about considering another hunk of Pass gear.
I missed the bloom with my C220 but I can hear so much more of the music with the X1. Don't get me wrong, I love tubes, I just always got too much noise with them in the preamp. I could never find tubes quiet enough with no glare. I do love the sound they make though, I have that in the amp which is nice
Owned the X-1 in 2005. Had it for four months. Sold it. In terms of speed. Too slow. Compared it to my Parasound PLD-2000, the best Pre-Amp ever made for Parasound by Curl. Gold boards and Black Gate Caps. Fast as hell and more dynamic than the X-1 but on the cold side. Also sold it. The Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE is constantly compared to $ 10K
Pre-Amps. Several of my friends own the STP-SE, and it is about the best SS design ever under $ 10K in twenty years and as dead quiet as the Levinson 32. Based on my friends
use of the STP-SE and their experience with the X-1, the STP-SE has greater echo decay and 3-D imaging and bass performance superior to the X-1. I'll be purchasing the STP-SE with the Wyred 4 Sound SX-1000 monos and hooking up
to my Acoustic Zen Crescendos. During the past three years,the Wyred 4 Sound products have generated more positive buzz in threads, blogs and forums than any other solid state devices I have come across in my 35 years as a
Audiophile. The STP-SE with its massive power supply and price at $ 2K, is a steal. For whats under the hood and its performance level, it has no match in its price range,
even if it sold for double the price, its that damn good.
I have been well aware of First Sound for years since their
facility is 11 miles from my home. Hell, if I were to pluck down $ 10K for a Preamp, I'd rather buy a used 106 lb. Levinson 32, which is the best damn Pre-Amp ever made, regardless of tube or solid state. Levinson has informed me
on Sept. 7th that an upgrade version of the two piece 32 is
coming back out within the next 24 months. Don't get me wrong, the Pass X-1 is a great Pre-Amp, and having owned Pre-amps over 25 years from Counterpoint, Coda, BAT, and crappy Carver, the X-1 has a very smooth relaxed character
that has been Pass's signature since his days at Threshold,
to imitate the smooth midrange of tubes. Different Pre-Amps
do have different speed rates, and there are Pre-Amps that are faster than the X-1, such as the Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE.
I need to correct myself, the Parasound PLD-2000 is the second best Pre-Amp from Curl, the JC-2 being the first. Also in this thread is mentioned that Wyred 4 Sound never won Awards. Completely false. They took Editor's choice for
best amps from Absolute Sound in 2009 and 2010. And the STP-SE took the Blue Moon award from 6Moons in 2009.
I have heard that the Levinson no. 32s is a great preamp, also very expensive even when one can find one. I am not in that league financially. I have not heard the Wyred for Sound but I am sure it is fantastic if it is better than the X1. I agree with your finding the X1's sound smooth.
I have also heard that the First Sound is better than the 32s. I have not seen the 32s under $10,000.00. I usually see it for more than that. That is a lot to pay for very old used preamp. Even if they do release it again, I doubt it will be exactly like the original. I would imagine it would be pretty expensive as well.
I agree that the older S series Levinson pres are great, if you can find them anywhere. I could probably wait a year for a used 26s.