Stereo Amplifiers Auburn WA
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One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- Jeffrey Scott, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer
Home Audio, Design & Installation
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 6
X250 stereo amplifier
as reviewed by Mark Katz
Photos taken by Dave Clark in his system
The Pass X250 is the 2nd from the bottom of the Pass X series amp line. The smallest is the not so small X150, at 150 watts/channel and at the top are the 1000 watt per monobloc X1000 amps. These amps succeed the excellent Aleph series. The X250 weighs in at 100 pounds, but can be carried by two people with the help of the rear mounted handles. The front has a circular power switch and an attractive blue glowing meter that I believe conveys how much current the amp needs to draw. Wing-like protrusions that can be used as handles surround the meter and the whole amp has a brushed silver look. The back of this rather hefty stereo amp sports both single ended and balanced inputs and clever, large binding posts that are very easy to hand tighten. The binding posts are good for spades, but cant be used on bananas since theres nowhere to plug them. Also on the back is the obligatory IEC receptacle for the power cord, and the main power switch. The amps operation is intuitive. The manual gives the Nelson Pass design philosophy of low noise, very low distortion, achievable with only 2 stages of amplification and low global feedback using "Supersymmetry" and balanced circuitry. His discussion of distortion minimization makes good reading in the users manual http://www.passlabs.com/pdf/x250man.pdf . Of course, the proof is in the implementation
I unplugged the Kora Cosmos amps and plugged the Pass X250 directly into a dedicated 20 amp outlet using a fairly hefty Tiff power cord. The rest of the system used included a CEC TL1 transport with Marigo Signature digital interconnect into an Audio Magic modified Kora Hermes 192/24 tubed DAC, Kora Eclipse tubed preamp hooked together with Goertz Triode interconnects. The amp drove the JM Labs Mezzo Utopias, a fairly flat 4 ohm, efficient load through shot-gunned (one run on each terminal) Kimber 8TC. The low powered equipment was plugged into an API Powerwedge 116 II, with the preamp into a non transformer filtered outlet. The amp changed the character of my system. Gone was the seductive sound of the Kora Cosmos, in came POWER. The first thing I noticed was a sense of the music becoming more dynamic. On my speakers, it seemed effortless and amazingly energetic. It sounded as if the dynamics of the performances were brought closer to the original. With the possible exception of very high efficiency horn speakers, dynamics of the music reproduced is markedly diminished compared to the original. Many people deride this type of speakers for poor tonal balance and a honky, "cupped hand" sound and with a few exceptions, theyre right. Despite this they can convey lively dynamics that would otherwise be far more compressed on more "audiophile approved" speakers....