Maggielurva suggested that I talk a little about my system, so here it goes. I would start with my Pass Labs amps, since Pass Labs is the brand that stays in my system the longest…..

My Pass Labs X2.5 preamp + XA60 monoblocks render sound in a very natural and musical way. I listen almost exclusively to acoustic music, and it is also most important for me to derive musical enjoyment from my listening sessions (life is too short!) so these characteristics are critical.

But don’t get me wrong, they are not euphonic, they are the most neutral sounding amp I have ever owned. They just have the knack to put across music as music without any romantic tint.

My love affair with Pass Labs started when I chanced upon a used set of Aleph L preamp and Aleph 3 power amp. Up to that point, I was tinkering with integrated transistor amps, but found myself never totally satisfied.

I liked the philosophy behind the Aleph L+3, Pass Labs’ entry level combo at that time. The Aleph L preamp was passive at low to middle volume settings, the Aleph 3 power amp was full class A and single-ended, both are minimalist to the hilt. The 3’s 30 class-A-watts were enough to drive even a pair of floorstanders in my smallish listening room.

With the Alephs, I found myself listening and reacting more and more to music, my listening sessions stretched longer and longer. So when funds permitted, I looked at Pass Labs again for options, why mess with a successful formula, right?

The X2.5+XA60 combo was very clearly cut from the same cloth, just that the X’es took all the virtues of the Alephs and ratcheted them up a number of notches. The music swings harder, the emotional content is more intense, and all the audiophile parameters are improved upon – the top and bottom extended further, the resolution improved, the soundstage ballooned up, they sound more powerful than even a 100-watter that I owned earlier. The ergonomics and industrial design also improved tremendously (every one who saw the blue meter in the middle of the fascia would think it is way cool).

The Alephs are no longer with me, writing this brings up some nostalgia and a tinge of regret, I should have kept them. Well, at least I have the X’es to go home to, so my music life is still treating me pretty well. :-)

8 comments:

jones said...

That is a hell of a combo!

As good as it gets for SS amp

Ralph said...

No wonder you got hooked!!!!!!
The aleph to me are amongst the modern day classics......I think they are still popular in the used market in the US.

Is Pass Lab big in Malaysia?

to me it is hard for you to go wrong with such combo

blandy said...

You have reached the pinnacle of SS amplifications as far as I am concerned...AH,the Alephs,Why can't they make things like that anymore?Very ,very musical

ds said...

Nice set! :)
I am also an ex-Pass Aleph owner, ah that amp runs hot and it did add quite a bit to my electricity bill..ha
in my setup, it was however bettered/replaced by tiny digital/chip amps which are SLA batt powered.

ricardo said...

No wonder you enjoy yourself so much.

I think if you listen to a lot of instrumentals monoblock s are certainly theway to go ....

The plucking of the guitar,the violin,s bow ...these really need serious power.

Good choice.

Anonymous said...

After having gone thru various Alephs, from 3,5 to 0s then finally 0 Monoblocks. I can feel your love for Nelson Pass's babies!

I recently came to know a guy with a pair of Aleph 1.2. What beauty! My dream Alephs!

Now if I can only pair my 0 to the X2.5 Pre.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

ralph,

pass lab is reasonably popular here. it is 2nd in reputation to krell but much cheaper. and the local dealer is a nice fella.

hifikaki said...

Great to hear from so many fellow Pass Labs lovers!

Aleph users really love their Alephs as you hardly see them on the 2nd hand market here.