Pass Labs X 5 Amplifiers

X 5

5 Channel Super Symmetric Amplifier

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
kris   AudioPhile [Nov 10, 2004]
Strength:

Power Power Power. Looks and Overall sound quality. My Dynaudio speakers just opened like never before.

Weakness:

Are you kidding!

This is the best sounding amp I have ever had in my system period. I have deomed Krell kav, Classe, Sunfire, Proceed and this was hands down the best. This amp replaced my Proceed amp 5 and even though they are rated the same the Pass just has so much more power and headroom campared to the others. It also had more power then a Sunfire 425x5 amp that I had for a short time. It also looks like it cost $$$$ compared to just just looking like a black box. I will be a Pass Labs man for life. These drive my Dynaudio speakers that are 86db like they were 96db. Hats off the Pass Labs.....

Similar Products Used: Proceed Krell Sunfire Classe Meridian
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Doug Lang   Audiophile [Mar 12, 2000]
Strength:

Sweet high frequencies, pretty face plate, well designed binding posts.

Weakness:

Slightly vieled top end.

Great looking, well designed, hot running, soft sounding, & sweet upper frequencies. It blew away the ATI pair and had the 9B from Bryston (5 channel) on the run in my system; B&W N802, HTM1, 805 (rears), and Tara Lab cables, etc.

The only thing that held me back from buying was a demo with Bryston 7Bs, one for each main and one for the centre with a 3B for the rears. That thin veil over the higher frequencies was instantly removed, the bass came out of nowhere and really established a fundamental foundation for the sound. The resolution improved dramatically. The silence was astounding as were the incredible dynamics from quiet to loud. The voicing over the centre was so much more natural in was very noticable. It was a night and day improvement!

The Pass is a good piece of equipment, however, I suggest that readers shop around a bit. It is expensive and there are other solutions out there that don't rely on a single chasis that only produces class A up to approximately 25 watts and then shifts into class AB thereafter. If it is pure class A you're after try the Krell FPB or tubes.

Here in Canada a X5 is anywhere from $5,500 to $7,500 CDN. I found much better sound for about the same money with the Bryston seperates!

Similar Products Used: Krell 300, Passion 1000, Bryston 7B & 9B, Classe, Tact Digital, ATI 1505 & 2505.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Will Binegar   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 19, 1999]
Strength:

Soundstage, detail, natural sounding vocals

The B&K was my starter amp, and it's a nice amp at its price point. But I felt a better amp would bring out the best in my system, which includes the Meridian 561 pre/pro, CAL CL-10 CD player, Panasonic DVD-A10 DVD player, Sony SAT-A4 DSS receiver, PSB Strautus Subsonic 3i subwoofer, and Von Schweikert VR 4 Gen II, LCR 31, and VM-2 speakers. Interconnects and speaker cables are Nordost Red Dawns.

I bought a used Krell KAV-500, and borrowed the Pass and ATI amps from a dealer friend of mine. I had all three for a month or so, so I had the opportunity to have an extended A/B/C test. The ATI is also a nice amp at the price, and it's a step up from the B&K. The Krell and Pass though are in another league. The Krell excels at presenting detail and throws a big soundstage, but it can be a bit harsh or shrill at times. This is particularly noticable with high string or piano notes.

The Pass is outstanding. It also brings out the detail but is smoother than the Krell. Vocals sound more natural. I really noticed this most on accoustic material, and oddly enough... Football on DSS! Both the Krell and Pass let you here all the nuances of each instrument and voice, but the Pass creates a finely blended whole that isn't remotely fatiguing. In my system, the same couldn't be said for the Krell.

The only other amp I've heard in its price range is the Krell KAV-500. The B&K and ATI are about 1/4 and 1/3 of the price respectively. The ATI is the best bang for the buck, but it's really made to fit a different part of the market. So, despite it's being expensive, I'll still give it a 5 for value. Because the Pass really does deliver on the promise of high resolution and musicality that we should expect of an amp in its class.

Similar Products Used: Krell AKV-500, B&K AV-5000, ATI 1506
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Chris Lee   Audiophile [Oct 30, 2000]
Strength:

Clear, good bass, details

Weakness:

None

Very nice product by Pass Labs. One of the best 5 channel AMP I have ever heard... excellent. Much better than Proceed (I previously owned for 2 years).

Similar Products Used: Proceed AMP 5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Rob   an Audio Enthusiast [May 28, 1999]

Update: Swapping out the power cord that comes stock with the X5 (18 gauge, 3 conductor), with an improved one (10 gauge, hospital plugs), makes a noticable improvement in sound. And yes, this was verified in a double blind test =). My suspicion is that the sound improvement is a direct result of the dramatically lower resistance...anyway, even better depth than before, now it's so good it's simply startling. When my audiophile friend listened to a few tracks with the new cord, his reaction was, "Oh yeah. That is simply...GOOD". Enjoy! Thanks Nelson...

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Rob   an Audio Enthusiast [May 12, 1999]

This is hands down the finest multichannel amp in the business. Period. Compared against the Aragon 8008/8008x3 combination, this amplifier had improved dynamics, much better bass, and vastly better microdynamics. The design and build quality are beyond superb, and there aren't many artists out there who wouldn't find this amplifier simply beautiful. Go take a look, you'll never buy Krell or Proceed again.
Obviously,

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Matt   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 30, 2000]
Strength:

Superb detail, deep soundstage great dynamics and can drive tricky loads to more than adequate levels.

Weakness:

Needs to be warmed up. Heatsink and chassis are not as bulletproof as X350 & X1000. Requires a better mains lead, balanced feed and good support to perform at its best.

I have been using this amp for about 5 months now and can honestly say that it gets better every day. Setting it up takes time and the better you treat it (Support, Mains cable) the more you will get out of it. Detail is superb and low level instruments in the mix are reproduced faithfully and not mixed up with everything else. Dynamics are also impressive and with balanced conections, you can go from absolute silence to LOUD in an instant.
This amp can be equally satisfying in 2-channl as it is in 5-channel and no performance dropoff is noticible when driving all 5 channels hard.
I am using a ProAc Studio 150's, CCOne and Tabblette 50's and a TagMcLaren AV32R processor/pre-amp which has unbalanced connections. This does not enable me to use the balanced connections but Nelson Pass told me that the performance gains are only to be had in the level of noise rejection. I did however hear it using balanced connections and there was a perceived performance gain but it was marginal and that was not a conclusive test by any means.
Comparing it to the Parasound I would choose it every time. The Parasound has a bit more grunt but cannot deliver the dynamics and the fine detail. I would also happily listen to the X5 for hours on end delivering THX reference levels (105dB peak) where by the end of half an hour in front of the Proceed I would be reaching for the remote to turn it down. If you like bags of bass then you might be dissapointed by the Pass. But if you like finely resolved bass which may seem like less at first then the X5 is for you. You can always add a good sub for those earth shattering sound tracks.

All in all I would buy this amp again. The only things which dissapointed me were the chassis construction which is not up to Pass's usuall standards exept of course for that faceplate. I would also have preferred Speaker terminals with less plastic content. Nelson Pass said these were economic considerations when I asked the question so a worthwile upgrade in the future. So I would say that it is slightly overpriced.


As with all gear above a certain price point you need to hear them and make your mind up. If you are a person who has more CD's than DVD's give the Pass a try you won't be dissapoined.

Similar Products Used: Parasound HCA-2205A
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Charles   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 17, 2000]
Strength:

Crystal clear, no fatigue w/listening,unlimited (seemingly)
all

Weakness:

none

This is one fine amp. I'm using it with an Aragon Soundstage via balanced inputs and w/M&K speakers all
around. It seems to have unlimited headroom with no strain.
Very detailed but not harsh at all. I can't really comment
on overall bass response because it runs my 5 monitors and
my sub takes up the lows. Maybe this makes for an easier
time for the X5, but it sounds wonderful. I thought I would
be stepping down a little in 2 ch stereo but not the case.
This matches my previous system which consisted of Threshold/Levinson electronics and Wilson speakers. I couldn't be happier. 5 stars of course.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com