Pass Labs X1 Preamplifiers

X1

User Reviews (8)

Showing 1-8 of 8  
Lai Si Meng   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 27, 2002]
Strength:

Honest reproduction, life-like musical experience,deep and wide soundstage, smooth and excellent pace,wonderful balance for the best of solid state attributes coupled with the warmth and sweetness of "tube" equipment.

Weakness:

The cable linking the two chaisis needs improvement to ensure better connectivity

The Pass Labs X1 joins the top echleon of world-class preampliers and to my ears, the best solid state piece in providing vacuum-tube warmth on top of it''s sterling solid state qualities. Holographic images were thrown amidst a deep and wide soundstage giving a distinct 3-dimensional sound-field. In a word- the listening experience was life-like and real. I listened to life performances and I can say with conviction that the X1 reproduces music that closely resembles the real thing. It''s music making capabilities are excellent being able to provide the whole spectrum of recorded music that is available in the source discs. Long hours of listening remains enjoyable with no fatigue to the ears. There is no hint of any grain nor harshness, the transients are precise, bass is solid and deep and the mids are absolutely accurate- the X1 brings one to an emotional experience in listening to recorded music. I would recommend this preamplifier to anyone who desires to have an emotional involvement with music while enjoying the accuracy and experience of a life performance.

Similar Products Used: Pass Labs X2- an excellent preamplifier by itself, Conrad Johnson, auditioned Audio Research and Mark Levinson preamps
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Al   AudioPhile [Feb 15, 2002]
Strength:

Huge soundstage, smooth warm great imaging.

Weakness:

None except the cable connecting the power supply to unit but Pass is upgrading this. Remote need some time to get use to can be improved.

Great pre-amp. Very smooth, warm and detail, huge soundstage, also very quiet. At this price range probably the best. If you need more detail read the review by Absolute sound.

Similar Products Used: Classe, Melos, PS Audio
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Steve H   AudioPhile [Feb 13, 2002]
Strength:

Beauty, build and sound.

Weakness:

None that I found.

Got a deal at audiogon on this 2 month old piece in MINT condition. Wow, this is amazing. I LOVE the build quality and sound this pre puts out. I have revel Studios with a sunfire signature amp with about 1k in cables and was using my Krell HTS 2 until this came in. The sound is so sweet, and airy. WOnderful detail. At the price I paid, it is easily a 5 star performer. At retail of $5500 Im not so sure, but I love this preamp. Now I am seling my Sunfire amp to get the X250 from PASS. Highly recommended.

Similar Products Used: Krell HTS2, Parasound (crap)
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Martin Taylor   Audiophile [Mar 08, 2001]
Strength:

Fantastically transparent, fast, neutral

Weakness:

Not quite as solidly built as the X2

I bought this as an upgrade from the X2, itself a fine preamp. My requirements were for more than one balanced input, balanced output to drive my Chord SPM-1200C and remote control. This preamp has almost no apparent character. It sounds very clean at all times, has wide bandwidth and is fast and dynamic. It matches the Chord very well and produces a wide, deep soundstage with pinpoint imaging. I cannot recommend it too highly. Nicely presented, too.

Similar Products Used: Pass Labs X2
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Mike   Audiophile [Jul 16, 2001]
Strength:

Naturalness transparency, details, resolution, soundstage

Weakness:

None

My 30 years of searching for perfect sound (to my years) has ended. Naturalness transparency, details, resolution, soundstage is absolutely incomparable with anything I had or tested before. This includes Levison, Krell, AR, PS etc.
Combination of Pass X-1, Pass X-250, 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 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.

Comparing to Krell and Levison sound is more dynamic, transparent and simply more natural. Soundstage is more 3D with more layers and perfect positioning. Vocal is incredible.

I listen to all kind of music from Pink Floyd, Roger Waters to New Age Novo Flamenco to pure Jazz and Classical.
Of course heavy metal can not be perfect with Martin Logan but the rest is perfect.

Similar Products Used: Krell KRC-2, KRC-3, KRC HR
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Arthur Macabe   Audiophile [Nov 05, 2001]
Strength:

beauty, depth, ergonomics

Weakness:

na

Considering its price point, the x1's line stage's level of performance is nothing short of sensational. Its blend of tonal neutrality, speed, control, and harmonic purity add up to a sure recipe for musical excellence. It is capable of competing in the highest audiophile arena, while its slight spatial reticence and textural softness are easy to live with. It should readily integrate with a diverse range of systems. The x1's ability to drive a variety of amps and exotic cables allows it to comfortably slip into an existing system without adverse complications. Let me take this opportunity to raise my glass in a toast: to Pass labs and the design team there. Cheers!

Similar Products Used: 2 levinson, 3 Mcintosh
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Mazher Bashir JAFFAR   Audiophile [Sep 11, 2001]
Strength:

Transparency
Build Quality
Neutral sounding
Power Amplifier Remote Switch 'on & off' facility
Seperate Our Board Power Supply

Weakness:

Remote Control [very poor] Behaves abnormally.
Top & Side plates of Pre Amplifier very 'tinny' as in tin like, and should be made more robust and sturdy.

13th September, 2001.

PASS LABS X-1 Pre-Amplifier.

Serial Number :- 010388.

Price Paid :- US $ 3,200/- + Customs Duty for Import into India .

Purchased from:- Hi End Research. SINGAPORE.

Purchased the Pass X-1 to replace the Simaudio Moon P-5 & the Bryston BP-25 pre-amplifiers. I arrived at the decision to purchase Pass after auditioning various other pre-amplifiers [as mentioned above] all in the same price range. The Pass is a great pre-amplifier, as in it does what it is meant to do, and does it in a reasonably efficient manner.

It is transparent, does not add or remove any sonic signature to the incoming signal and transmits the same to the power amplifier very efficiently.

Has a separate out board power supply. Has a trigger to switch on and off the power amplifier, this is a great feature on the pre amplifier [incidentally this feature is absent on the other models that I reviewed]

The biggest drawback or problem that is presented with the Pass X-1 is its remote control. Although made of Aluminum [as most of the good quality hi-fi gear is made of these days] is very poor both on the ergonomic and the function front. The size is awkward and does not fit in the hand well and the worst part is that the GUI [Graphical User Inter Phase] acts with a will of its own, when you reduce the volume on the remote, the volume on the pre amplifier goes up and if you increase it on the remote it continues to go up ! Really strange !

Over all I am very happy with the product. I would have liked Pass to make the sides and the top and the rear of the pre-amplifier in the same manner as they make their power amplifiers. Strong, Robust & Long Lasting. I do hope that they take a lesson from their X 600 and implement the attributes of a well built ‘Tank Like’ construction.
The only other pre-amplifier, that I found to me more transparent and sonically coherent to the Pass was the Hovland P-100 [Tube & Unbalanced Design]. I could not buy that since my system runs in a balanced mode / set up and the Hovland does not offer a ‘Balanced’ option !

Pass, make a few changes, but keep up the good work ! Finally my quest for a Pre-amplifier is over. Strongly recommended.

Testing and review carried out with :-

A] Equipment

·Audiomeca Mephisto II Transport [Serial Number 2001045]t
·Audiomeca Enkianthus 24/192 DAC [Serial Number 2001073]
·Simaudio Moon Eclipse CD Player [Serial Number A-211294-CD]
·Electrocompaniet EMC-1 CD Player [Serial Number 01334]
·Ultech Audio UCD-100 CD Player + Sonic Frontier SFD !! Mk 2
·Pass Labs X1 Pre-Amplifier [Serial Number 010388]
·Simaudio P-5 Pre Amplifier [Serial Number A-081291-PRE]
·Bryston BP-25 Pre Amplifier [Serial Number 251744]
·Bryston 7B ST Power Amplifier [Serial Number 773775 & 773793]
·Dynaudio Confidence 5 Loudspeakers [Serial Number 729879 & 729990]
·vdH [Van den Hul] ‘The Second’ Balanced XLR Interconnect
·vdH [Van Den Hul] ‘The Integration Hybrid’ RCA Unbalanced Interconnect
·vdH [Van Den Hul] ‘The Revelation’ Speaker Cable
·vdH [Van Den Hul] ‘The Mainstream Hybrid’ Power / Mains Cable

B] Music

·M.A. Recordings - Begona Olavide / Mudejar MA042A
·Water Lily Acoustics - Tabula Rasa WLA-CS-44-CD
·ECM Records – Making Music / Zakir Hussain ECM – 1349
·Moment Records – Ustad Sultan Khan MRCD – 1006
·Reference Recordings – TUTTI ! RR-906CD
·Telarc – A tribute to Oscar Peterson CD – 83401
·Chesky Records – The Raven / Rebecca Pidgeon JD 115
·Mercury – Essential / Yello 512 390 – 2

Mazher Bashir JAFFAR

13th September, 2001.

Mumbai [Bombay] INDIA

e-mail :- schwinn@bol.net.in

www.schwinnwarehousing.com

Similar Products Used: Simaudio Moon P-5 [Serial Number A-081291-PRE]
Bryston BP-25 [Serial Number 251744]
Mark Levinson ML-380
BAT VK-40
Ayre K-3ix
Sonic Frontier Line 3
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Manuel Gottlieb   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 05, 2001]
Strength:

This is an extraordinarily clear and detailed preamp which never becomes thin or hard

Weakness:

The input selector switching is a bit too involved, especially across the room with the remote; only three balanced inputs, one of which is the tape input, which has to be shut off before you can select another input.

Recently bit on a too good to be true sale opportunity, and bought the x-1 and companion x-ono phono amp to replace the Aleph P and ono. There is a definite advance in the next-generation units, although I would say that about 70% of that is in the difference between the x-ono and Aleph ono, with the later unit being warmer, richer and smoother without losing any detail. The x-1 also shows the same improvement over the Aleph P, without as much difference between the two models. Both x units are smaller (which is good), but have external power supplies (which may well be part of the improvement, but is a pain in the ass. However, although both units come with power supplies, both can be run off the same power supply, which helps.) Unlike the Aleph P, which was beautifully simple, the x-1 has a fancy selector switch (supposedly because of some big advance in the volume control), which is a bit of a pain to use, especially by means of the remote, until you get the hang of it. Very highly recommended. I use the x-1 and x-ono with a pair of Classe CAM-350 monoblocks, and they could have been made for each other.

Similar Products Used: Pass Aleph P
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-8 of 8  

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