Pass Labs X 250 Amplifiers

Pass Labs X 250 Amplifiers 

DESCRIPTION

The amplifier uses ultra matched components in a simple balanced Class A circuit 250 watts per channel in 8 ohms and 500 watts into 4 ohms

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-9 of 9  
[Jan 14, 2017]
Majixin
Audio Enthusiast

I took a punt on the used market to try a Pass Labs X250 here in the UK. It was £2500 so figured I could sell it on without much loss if I didn't like it. I was not prepared for what happened.

At first, I thought this beast sounded too warm and somehow clinical. I soon realized it takes 30 minutes after switching on to hit its stride, at which point the clinical edge completely dissipates and it sounds wholly liquid/analog-like in presentation - not solid state (except for the immense bass that only solid state can do).

I've thrown every kind of music at it and it has to be the best gamble in audio I ever took. I've been to hifi shows with newer amps with bigger price tags etc... but despite this amp being long in the tooth and replaced by the X250.5 and X250.8, it's nothing short of stellar in accuracy, transparency and dynamics. Imaging is holographic and the best I've encountered and there is hardly a brand of amplifier I have not heard. Also, I never get any listening fatigue with it, no matter how long and loud I play music.

Shortly after I purchased this, I found another amp (a Chord SPM1400E Mk2) on the used market at similar cost and purchased it from a used dealer. The Chord was over £8000 retail and in 5 minutes I was boxing the Chord back up. People say audiophiles have listener bias and so aesthetics, apparent status symbolism, and other considerations play heavy on how they'll perceive sound, but I wanted to like the Chord sound, not least because it wouldn't cane my electricity bill by drawing 300W+ constantly like the Pass Labs, plus the Chord looks just as great, plus I previously had an all Chord system before having to downsize for a few years, plus I still have a Chord DAC (so any biases should have been in Chord's favour). On sound quality the Pass walked it. The Pass Labs shrugged off the Chord as if brushing away an annoying fly. The used hifi dealer took the Chord back and refunded me (nice guy).

What else have I heard?: McIntosh, Levinson, Accuphase, Ayre, Bryston, Classe, Lamm, Naim, Krell, Linn, Karan, Esoteric, Audio Research, ModWright, Conrad Johnson, Edge, Unico, Audionote and I could go on and on. A few I've listed might compare, but then you pay a lot more for no significant improvement.

To me, this amp is old, is energy inefficient, runs hot (not as hot as the only negative reviewer claims - the wuss), is too heavy for convenience, doesn't fit in my rack, or any sensible AV unit, but IT SOUNDS OH SO FABULOUS.

My conclusions? I want to keep it forever and might just need a solar power installation to prevent it consuming too much electricity and upping my bill.

The DAC will be upgraded and currently runs direct into the Pass Labs. I'd consider a preamp (probably from ModWright, ARC, Pass). Speakers are a pair of Earl Geddes Abbeys. I also own Wilson Benesch ACT speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 02, 2007]
Steve
AudioPhile

Strength:

Sounded great, looked great

Weakness:

Power levels are a joke, who the hell rates there amplifier at a maximum rated level @ 1%thd hahahaha its a joke! I feel bad for the guy who paid 7k for this amp, when u get can more powerfull just as good sounding amps for less.

Bought my legacys sig III from a guy that was using this amp to run them. Legacy's are all 4 ohm speaker systems so that would give this amp a 500 watt per channel rating with this speaker, YEAH...... lets just say that needle never left the 2 o'clock position the whole time they got ran before i bought them. In other words this thing was putting out as much as it could all the time to run the speakers, granted they werent low listening levels either but thats not the point here, there power level is over rated, This thing was oven hot when we were done i kid you not if your hand stayed on the cooling fins for more than a few seconds youd get a minor burn! Now i did sound good, but a little over rated and over priced i think so. I run the same speakers with my McIntosh mc-300, and i tell yah the amp never gets over warm to the touch, and its only rated at 300 watts at 4 ohm, macs power ratings dont change due to impedence levels, lets just say i cant even come close to burying the needles on my mc. Pay close attention when looking at the power levels on the pass amp
250 watts maximum @ 1% THD, 1 kHz, 8 ohms
Mcintosh amp
300 watts RMS @ .0005% THD,20-20k, 8,4,2 ohms
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Pass labs is a joke when they rate there power levels dont get suckered in! Before you dump the money into this thing look at similar products!

Similar Products Used:

MCINTOSH

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
1
[Feb 08, 2007]
Andrew
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Powerful and graceful.

Weakness:

None

This amp is a masterpiece! Very pleased with the dynamics and imaging. Powerful yet graceful, the x250 is a real winner. The looks are among the best I have seen in a solid state amp. Nelson Pass answers e-mails with set up and maintnance questions. Try getting that service from the mainstream manufacturers.

I have owned Krell and Bryston. Both are very good companies and also have great service records. I have recently settled with Pass because it never seems to interfere with the recordings. No coloration. Very natural and revealing. If a recording is of poor quality, you will hear it. When a recording is superb (Maple Shade or Chesky) it will spook you. Amazing. Even my non-audiophile friends can appreciate the ablity of this amp to bring recordings to life. Wife factor is positive becuase of the stunning appearance.

My speakers are B& W 805's
Speaker Cables-Audio Quest Indigo
Cables- Tara Labs


Similar Products Used:

Krell, Bryston, Hafler, Rotel, Fosgate, Marantz

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 25, 2006]
Bouman
AudioPhile

Strength:

Best I've heard yet.
Build quality: all 50 kilos of it and very reliable
16 very expensive, output matched, International Rectifier transistors per channel!
Industrial Design and I do mean "Design"
Relatively cheap when compared with Krell or Mark Levinson and more reliable.

Weakness:

A bit expensive when compared with Bryston or Proceed.

Quite an amazing amp. It sounds controlled yet relaxed never strained or harsh and soundstage and imaging is almost holographic. I don't think that I've heard a better set then the one I have now. I also liked it better than the Krell amps I've heard (bit harsh and grainy) or Mark Levinson.

Before I used a Bryston 4b-ST, which is probably still one of the best amps for the money, but the X250 is just better though. And so it should be! at the retail price in Europe: 7-8000 euro which is ofcourse an insane amount of money.

But the reason I really bought it was: it is so d@mn good-looking! I just love the massive front with the sculptured handles, soft bluelight Bias meter and the sleek horizontal cooling fins. All my friends love it, except ofcourse for my girlfriend. But I would personally see that as a positive endorsement since she 's got the most hideous taste, god bless her.

Similar Products Used:

Bryston 4b-ST, proceed Amp2/HPA2

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 09, 2006]
kurt
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Powerful, detailed, lush and built like a tank.

Weakness:

None

Very happy with the x250. Drives my B&W 805s like no other amp I have auditioned.This includes Rotel,Marantz,Fosgate and Bryston. Powerful, true and very honest, this amp will not let you down. It will bring out the best in the recordings and point out the crap.

Customer Service

Reno Hifi on E-BAY.Great company

Similar Products Used:

Rotel ,Bryston,Marantz andFosgate

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 01, 2003]
Woody Battle
AudioPhile

Strength:

Neutral, equally good at delicate details and explosive dynamics, musical, neither dry nor etched without any apparent loss of detail. Styling, fit and finish are all first rate.

Weakness:

The wing nut binding posts are placed awkwardly, only work with spades and can be problematic with some spade connectors.

I just purchased a Pass Labs X-1 Pre-amp and X-250 amplifier last week. I knew that they would be a major upgrade from my old integrated amp (an Acurus DIA-100 Mk II), but I really did not expect the level of performance that I have received. My system consists of: Pass Labs X-1 pre-amp Pass Labs X-250 amp Sony SCD-777ES SACD player Conrad Johnson DR-1 CD transport Meridian 563 D/A converter (upgraded to 24 bit status) Polk Audio LS-90 speakers (on Solid Steel stands) Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects Analysis Plus Oval 9 speaker cables I am amazed at how tonally accurate this system is. When set at the correct listen level for a piece of music, I have never heard better. The tonal qualities do fall apart if I try to play the music too loud. (I think I am overloading the room.) On good recordings, singers often sound like they are right in the room with you. On bad recordings, you can tell how much and what type of artifical processing was used. Dynamics also seem to be perfect. The amp/pre-amp can be very delicate and quiet when the music calls for it. Then, out of nowhere can come the snap of a drum, the resonate clunk of a wood block, or the explosion of a canon can appear. In each case, the micro and macro dynamics of the system seem to be spot on target. The ability of the amp/pre-amp to reproduce the trailing edge of a drum hit, wood blocks, finger snaps, etc is amazing and very realistic. As far as I can tell, the Pass Labs amp and pre-amp are perfectly neutral and very musical. There are no signs of grain, etching, dryness, or veiling of details. The amp and pre-amp are very revealing. I had a set-up problem that was causing some resonances and a loose connection in my speakers. I was able to find and fix both of these problems because the amp/pre-amp highlighted them. I can also now tell that the Meridian D/A converter is much better when using the balanced outputs than when using the single-ended outputs. My old amp only took single-ended inputs. I preferred the Sony player even when playing regular CDs with my old amp. Now using the balanced outputs, the Meridian D/A converter w/ the CJ transport is definitely better for playing CDs. When available, SACDs on the Sony player still have a slight edge over regular CDs on the Meridian/CJ set-up.

Similar Products Used:

None. I have auditioned amps by Krell, Mark Levinson, and Plinus.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 13, 2003]
Lai Si Meng
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

faith reproduction of recordings, pronounced inner details of the music, body and weight to the music instruments, excellent bass reproduction, excellent dynamics, fast paced and lots of power on standby

Weakness:

The weight of the amp is significant- due to my small size,it is quite a challenge for me to move it around alone. But, this can also be an advantage as it will allow me the opportunity to invite some friends over to help me do the relocating piece while enjoying the music together

The music flowing from the Pass X250 is truly a joy and provides immense audio pleasure and I know it can only get better as it continues the burn-in process over the next few weeks. The sound of the Pass X250 resembles the musicality of the Pass X150 ( I had the opportunity to upgrade)and more... There is now a distinct body and weight to the musical presentations and the inner details of the instruments shine forth with clarity. Clearly the additional power of the X250 brought about these major enhancements to an already musically satisfying Pass X150. My personal prefences tend towards a bias for sound-staging, truth of trimble and dynamic flow..and the X250 delivered and more.The Egglestonworks Rosa's now can sing to it's true potential delivering deep and taut bass reproduction coupled with a faithful presentation of the mid-range dynamics. I can hear the resonance and the decay of solo instruments- the sound of the saxophone, the piano, the cello etc are so real. I would say that there is no hint of sweetened influence on the part of the amplifier to the music reproduction-only a truthful presentation of what is there in the actual recordings. Another major plus for me was the ability of the amp to deliver the dynamics of the recordings on significantly lower levels of volume control. Where previously, I needed to set the volume control on the Pass X1 pre-amp at a "10" level, I now can hear the dynamics and more through the Pass X250 amp at a volume level of "7" on the pre-amp X1. This is an excellent development that can add years to my enjoyment of music without ear-damage from possible excessive high hearing volumes The Pass X250 amp is here to stay with me for a very,very long time- and I am looking forward to enjoying the music with it.

Similar Products Used:

Conrad-Johnson, Nads, Pass X150

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Dec 08, 2002]
bigkidz
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Warmth, smoothness, naturalness (not as rounded sounding as the BAT VK-75SE tube amp but close), details, depth front to back placement of musicians, dynamics, transparency, etc. Note the four star rating becasue there are beter amps. (try a higher priced Pass for example).

Weakness:

Lack of binding posts for bi-wiring. Two metal handles on the back of the amp got a little in the way of connectng the thick AZ Hologram speaker cables coming around from the sides of the amp to the speaker terminals. The RCA IC input connectors are between the pos/neg speaker terminals, while there is enough space, the layout could have been better.

I purchased the Pass X-250 (product year 2002) after auditioning many amps in my home stereo system. The amp added tansparency, details, depth (front to back) warmth and dynamics to my system. Music just flows effortlessly with seemingly unlimited power reserves. Music is very natural sounding. I have heard some comments that the Pass amps are thin sounding in the mid-range and I would say that it probably was because of cable matching. During my audtions of the amps, I tried my standard Monster speaker cable that I am very familiar with, along with some DIY speaker cables and Acoustic Zen Hologram mono runs. I also tried different power AC cables, JPS Labs Power AC (not the plus), Audience, AZ Tsunami, MAS, Synergistic Master AC Coupler with active shielding, AZ Silver Ref ICs (RCA) and Siltech G-3? XLR). I compared the Pass X-250 amp to the Rowland M-112 (OK amp but not for $5K), Krell KAV-2250 (lots of deatails and clarity but not the most musical), Spectron Musician II Digital amp (very clear sounding but one dimensional with no depth, music seemed to come from a single plane), Sonogy Black Knight II (nice all around performer), Linar 250 (nice amp for the $$$), Sim Audio (nice amp especially at the used prices), BAT VK-500 & VK-6200 (both nice amps, preferred the 6200 for its laid back and warm sound), BAT VK-75SE (nicest amp but $$$$), Kinergetics KBA-75 (my twelve year old amp kept pace with all of the above amps considering you can get a used one for around $650, it lacked the last degree of detail, depth, overall smoothness, my wife actually preferred it to the Spectron). I should also note that my speakers require a high current amp. My system consists of: Sony SCD-777ES, JPS Digital Power AC Acoustic Zen Silver Ref. ICs (RCA) BAT VK-30SE, JPS Power AC AZ Silver Ref. ICs (RCA) B&W Matrix 803 Series II speakers Pass X-250 (changed from the Audience AC to AZ Tsunami power AC, much more relaxed sound, not as stressed sounding). I listened to Pat Barber, Gino Vanelli. Blood, Sweat & Tears plus Yo-Yo Ma (SACDs). Diana Krall, Enya, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Beatles, etc., for the auditions.

Similar Products Used:

Rowland M-112, Spectron Misician II, Sim Audio W-5, Linar Audio 250, Krell KAV-2250, Kinergetics KBA-75, BAT VK-500, 6200 & 75SE.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Jul 16, 2001]
Mike
Audiophile

Strength:

Naturalness, transparency, details, resolution, soundstage, dynamic range

Weakness:

Lack of binding posts for bi-wiring

My 30 years of searching for perfect sound (to my years) has ended.

Transparency, details, resolution, soundstage is absolutely incomparable with anything I had or tested before. This includes Levison, Krell, Wadia etc.

Comparing to Krell and Levison sound is more dynamic, transparent and simply more natural.

Combination of Pass X-250, Pass X-1, Sony SCD-1, ML Re-Quest bi-wired by double run of Nordost SPM, SR Designer Reference XLR Active gave me what I was striving for.
I listen to the
I added couple of tweaks which work in my room like Harmonix tuning dots, ebony tuning feet, Maringo tuning dots and home made AC filters and power cords.

I listen to all kind of music from Pink Floyd, Roger Waters to New Age Novo Flamenco to pure Jazz and Classical.

Of course my old Carver Amazing loudspeakers would sound better with heavy metal but the rest, sound marvelous powered by X-250.

Similar Products Used:

Krell KSA-250, Krell FBA-250, different ML

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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