Pass Labs Aleph 5 Amplifiers

4.82/5 (22 Reviews) MSRP : $3800.00


Product Description

60 Watt Stereo Power Amplifier - 2-Gain Stage


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Reviews 1 - 5 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ulisse a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 28, 2009

Bottom Line:   
I bought 1 month ago as new an ALEPH 5 clone d.i.y. from an italian private. It is a little different (and maybe better) from the original Pass project, with a more powerful transformer and better matching mosfets. Formerly I had Nad 350BEE, Mission Smart Power and Marantz PM17KIS, and I have changed one by one searching a better sound. Now the Aleph works with a pre NAD C160 and replaces the italian 40wpch Bartolomeo Aloia ST140 power amp 40wpch. delivering high current. The chassis of my Aleph is a classical parallelepiped (similar to a Nad, but bigger to eliminate the heat). So my unit hasn 't the lack of comfort in connexions of the original one.
The Aloia was good, with beautiful bass and very good dynamic, but the Aleph 5 sound clearely better. The sound: open, detailed and full of air between the instruments, seems a lot similar to a tube amp, but has the extension and precision in bass and middle bass typical of a s.s. amp. The sound is richer in harmonics than the Aloia (expecially on mid-highs) and more refined in all frequency ranges.
I have Snell type D speakers, and it' s a not very easy load (on bass frequencies the Snell goes down till 3ohms), and for this reason on the Snells the bass of the high-current Aloia is more powerful than Aleph5, but that' s all: in every other aspect the sound of the Aleph5 is better. Maybe it's not born to play heavy metal or house music (though it can make it good enough), but with every other kind of music is perfect: I listen jazz for little combos, classical piano and chamber music, and sometimes electrical fusion like Pat metheny or Weather Report: in any field and different kind of music the Aleph dynamic, warm and overall very natural. The female voices like Diana Krall or Patricia Barber are fine, warm, natural, with beautiful midrange nuances. Theree is a price to pay: my unit wastes about 250watts as you turn it on, either at maximum volume or with no signal: this is the single-ended class A design of it, with a very low efficience. But I pay it willingly, as my pleasure in listening music is much bigger than before.
There is more a thing to notice: in the first 30/40 minutes the Aleph is not perfectly heated, and the sound is generally a little thin and lacks something in warmth; but when it' s perfectly heat, the sound becomes full and warm with a very beautiful and sourrounding soundstage.
In conclusion: if you find a DIY clone well builted and cheap enough (like mine) buy it, and you'll never regret it.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   private



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by prmaik a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 20, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I OWN PASS ALEPH 5 FOR 6 MONTHS.
FROM THE VERY FIRST TIME I NOTICE SOMETHING DIFFERENT COMPARE TO OTHER AMPS I HAD BEFORE(THERE WAS A LOT OF THEM).
A WORD CAME TO MY MIND:SILKY
I READ ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY TO DRIVE SPEAKERS BELOW 90DB.
MY TOTEM MANI2 SINGS AS NEVER BEFORE AND THE MATCHING WITH THE AUDIO RESEARCH LS2B M II USING THE XLR'S IS PERFECT.
I HAVE NOT PREFERENCES IN MUSIC-I LISTEN EVERYTHING-AND PASS PLAYS THEM ALL FORCE ME EVERY TIME TO LISTEN MORE AND MORE.
YES,HE IS NOT PERFECT BUT IT SOUNDS LIKE HE IS.
SAD I DIN'T BUY ONE YEARS BEFORE. I COULD SAVE A LOT OF MONEY FROM ALL THESE CHANGES AND UPGRADES I DONE OVER THE YEARS.
SYSTEM:
ANALOGUE:GYRO SE/SME IV/ORTOFON ROHMANN
PHONO STAGE:EAR 834P
PRE AMP LINE:AUDIO RESEARCH LS-2B MKII
POWER AMP:PASS ALEPH 5
CD PLAYER:YES( I AM NOT FUN)
TUNER:SONY ST-SD900
INTERCONNECTS AND SPEAKER CABLES:YES(ALMOST ALL SILVER DIY)

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1995

Price Paid:    $1600.00

Purchased At:   USA



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by tubes a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2003

Bottom Line:   
With the main characteristics of a Class A amp solidstate amp with the smoothness of a tube single ended amp this amp is probably the most musically enticing solid state amp on the market,with its monolithic design and the ability to pull hidden details within any music source this amp is stunning.With efficent speakers and easy loads you can enjoy a truly amazing amp without second guessing your purchase,this is bascially the legendary Aleph 30 on steroids,what more can you ask for?...

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Seantrong a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Very natural, very relaxing to listen to. For those who wants the punch not your amp to buy! Must use efficient speakers 90db and above.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1997

Price Paid:    $1500.00

Purchased At:   audiogon



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rtsy a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 22, 2002

Bottom Line:   
First some gripes: the power switch, speaker and RCA jacks are recessed into its large heatsinks. Hard to turn it off without being reminded it's a class A design (WARM!) and I won't leave it on since it draws 300w so long as it's powered up.

It's also a space eater. The amp itself is a cube about 1 foot all around. Nelson Pass recommends 6" clearance on all sides so you're actually required to give this amp 24 inces width, depth AND HEIGHT!

The manual says it takes 1 hour warm-up before it reaches it's operating state but to my ears, it sounds good even from a cold start, it just gets better after a while.

The looks are polarizing. It's definitely not a gold-trimmed Jadis. It's as industrial as amps can get without exposing transformer windings I think. I like it, more than some won't.

When I share listening notes on audio gear I hear, I have some sort of formula, talk about the bass then the mids, then the highs, then dabble a bit into soundstaging/imaging, then pace/rhythm/timing.

After sitting in front of this beast for half an hour, my notepad was empty. I couldn't break down the sound of this amp into bits that can be analyzed and commented on. Everything just came to place with no one part of the audio spectrum being highlighted or extremely outstanding.

Amps such as Krell or Levinson are often praised for bass slam and control. Amps such as Conrad Johnson or VAC are often praised for midrange warmth and lushness and non-fatiguing top-end. But not the Aleph 5. Tight, tuneful bass, expressive, liquid mid, smooth highs were all there placed securely in a well-defined, expanded space.

A word about space, this amp at times sounded really big on my system (Harry Belafonte in Carnegie Hall) and at times really small and cozy (Amanda Mc Broom). My theory is it merely reflects the recording venue.

Now a word about timbre. A simplification (perhaps oversimplification?) of good amps for me is they belong to two camps. First are those that belong to the neutral/accurate camp and those that belong to the sweet/euphonic camp. The Aleph 5 is a champion of neutrality, ably amplifying whatever you feed it without adding a coloration of its own...well, almost.

Not a major complaint but rather an observation that can guide in the selection of ancilliary equipment. I did hear a metallic/steely character. It's cool-sounding but not unemotional cold. It's not enough to turn the nylon strings on a classical guitar into steel ones but certainly enough for me to agree with more jaded audio buddies who recommend the use of warm and lush pre-amps like those from CJ (I'm using it now with a PV11), Jadis, V.A.C., etc.

The guy I bought it from swears he never had steely timbre (he uses Audio Note front end, Audio Note and Blue Circle preamps, Spendor speakers, Silver Audio and Analysis Plus cables). Maybe it's my room or my source (a lowly NAD 502).

I was using a 9wpc SET (nOrh SE9's Thai OEM, T.S. Audio 34.1) prior to the Pass Aleph 5/CJ PV11. I retained all of the benefits midrange of SETs and added depth and slam (thanks to 60wpc w/c was more than enough for my Sonus Faber Concertinos), greater top end extensions and resolution, and speed/control.

One thing I perceived wihtin 10-15 seconds of the first track I played is the sense of immediacy and palpability this amp posseses. Maybe it's the ultra minimalist 2 gain stage design that gets me much closer to the emotion of the original recording.

One thing about this amp is I now know exactly how much my favorite artists and bands weigh. Holly Cole, John Pizarelli, Harry James, Livingston Taylor, Tony Bennet, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, the New york Phiulahrmonic, etc. all weigh 60 lbs. of a cubic foot of iron that is the Aleph 5.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Price Paid:    $1750.00

Purchased At:   Philippines




Reviews 1 - 5 (22 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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Pass Labs Aleph 5 - need matching preamp

Looking for a matching preamp for a Pass Labs Aleph 5 amp. Tube,hybrid or s/s but the amp only has a low input impedance of 10 and 25(balanced) so tube output impedance must be at least 10 X. ThanksRead More »

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