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Thread: Pass X1 preamp

  1. #51
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Mr P, I have my X1 preamp hooked up to the X250 via XLR's. My DAC is not balanced.

    I will not limit my choices of my next preamp to just XLR. If I end up with a CJ ET-3se, I won't lament it not having XLR's as long as it sounds better than what I currently have. I have narrowed my choices to the CJ and a BAT. I will pull the trigger in the summer.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  2. #52
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    LOL, I spaced the X1 and it's the title of the thread. Too bad I still don't have the CT-6. I still think and in my experience the all balanced path is the way to go. I can understand broadening options though. Also, when comparing your XLR to RCA I recommend disconnecting the set not being used at one end. Frenchmon and I were comparing cables and although the difference in sound level was obvious when switching from XLR to RCA we thought the differences in the cables were better detected when one set was disconnected.

    Here's an article although dated, 1994, this guy is not for balanced connections but the truths cannot be ignored. Like mixing balanced and non-balanced with some degradation. The thing is Pass is balanced and you bought into that, if wanting RCA type circuits you should sell the Pass.

    "All the usual mixing and matching review procedures were useless; it was out of the question to make direct comparisons. I was fought every inch of the way, precisely because these Audio Research components are of true balanced design; ie, fully balanced differential circuitry is present at their every stage, including cross-coupling between hot and cold signal paths. It didn't take me long to realize that you can't mess with true balanced components; "

    The same here for Pass, see prior post for explanation of patented Balanced Symmetry.

    "For example, take an Audio Research V-series power amp with its balanced input (again, I'm not singling out ARC). In my experience, it won't perform at its best unless it's driven balanced. If you want to hear this amplifier in an unbalanced system, then I strongly advise you to acquire the relevant unbalanced/balanced converter, the Audio Research BL1. Regardless of the latter's exceptional quality, you've added a second set of connectors, cabling, expense, and grounding. "

    As stated the article is old so maybe the conversion is better inside the gear these days but it's an expensive bet. IMO I disagree with many of the sound quality negatives listed, both Krell and Pass in one or the other have shown them not to be true. JM thought he had improvements when going with a balanced CDP, I thought I did as well when adding a Krell CDP to my Krell amp but it's hard to say since the player itself was an upgrade. I'm not saying one approach is better or worse, just that mixing is not the optimum approach for a system. I went RCA for a while from SACD to preamp but when going XLR it made a noticeable improvement.
    Balance: Benefit or Bluff? | Stereophile.com

  3. #53
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post

    Here's an article although dated, 1994, this guy is not for balanced connections but the truths cannot be ignored. Like mixing balanced and non-balanced with some degradation. The thing is Pass is balanced and you bought into that, if wanting RCA type circuits you should sell the Pass.


    A
    I think I will keep the X250 unless the heat in the summer is intolerable. Its the best amp that I have heard so far all though the Nuforce model 9se come close. Even with RCA's it sounds great. Now my system is not as revealing as yours. Your speakers cost over 3 times of what I paid for the 1.6's ($1800) and your ML CD player is light years ahead of my DAC. Your X10 preamp is also a step up from mine. So I may not be hearing the full benefits of XLR.


    I have heard the Pass with just the XLR's and just RCA's with the X1. I have also heard it with the new AVA FET Valve all tube preamp via RCA's. While there is a slight improvement in sound with XLR's it is not dramatic. The X250 really pairs well with a tube pre. The midrange had more texture, warmth and body with the FET Valve pre but it lost a little resolution. I think that the CJ or BAT preamps will sound better than the FET by a wide margin.

    My Magnepans really like a tube preamp. I wish that there was a CJ and BAT dealer here so that I could take one home to try.
    Last edited by blackraven; 01-06-2014 at 01:26 PM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  4. #54
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    When you are serious Music Direct carries BAT with a return policy and I haven't looked at it but they do have some financing. BAT new is expensive stuff. Spearitsound for CJ allows a return if not satisfied but ask up front and the return is a short window. There's a CJ dealer in Indianapolis but I've not dealt with them.

    It's really worth while experimenting with cables as well.

  5. #55
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Mr P, I have my X1 preamp hooked up to the X250 via XLR's. My DAC is not balanced.

    I will not limit my choices of my next preamp to just XLR. If I end up with a CJ ET-3se, I won't lament it not having XLR's as long as it sounds better than what I currently have. I have narrowed my choices to the CJ and a BAT. I will pull the trigger in the summer.
    For what it's worth, I've now had three amps that were tuned particularly for balanced input: (1) Monarchy SM-70 Pro, (2) Class D Audio SDS-258, (note: the CDA series has a different front end and isn't tuned for balanced); (3) Pass X150.5.

    I haven't listened to the Pass X150.5 driven single-ended because my ARC LS9 is fully balance and I assume balanced sounds at least as good as SE. However neither the Monarchy nor the SDS sounded significantly better balanced than SE.

  6. #56
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I am contemplating buying the CJ ET-3se preamp after reading reviews and talking to the guys at spearit sound.

    http://www.conradjohnson.com/It_just...tereophile.pdf


    Conrad Johnson ET3SE Preamplifier ? Reviews | TONEAudio MAGAZINE

    Conrad-johnson ET3SE (4920) - Pre/power amplifiers

    Here is a review of the lower priced non se version-

    Conrad-Johnson ET3 preamp (Hi-Fi+ 75) | AVguide

    The SE version has all the attributes that I am looking for. I think that it will be an excellent match with the X250. The guy at spearit sound said that the ET has great speed and the low end of a SS pre but the midrange and warmth of tubes. He stated the attack is crisp and the sound is detailed.

    Now I have to sell my Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube preamp and the X1.

    Any one interested in a Pass Labs X1 for $2K or the AVA Ultra Plus for $975
    Last edited by blackraven; 01-22-2014 at 11:09 AM.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  7. #57
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    From what I've read, (not heard, unfortunately), the CJ will be a warmer sound than the AVA. I'd certainly like to the ET3 in my system.

    But from your own comments, I think I personally would be fine with the X1, but I'm unable to afford it and, anyway, I'm quite content with my ARC LS9 for now. BTW, I don't recall if your AVA has remote control and/or phono?

    I'm skeptical that you will sense any loss going to a single-ended preamp -- at least I'm pretty sure that basic CJ tube sound will be a more significant change than SE vs. balance per se.

    I didn't hear much difference going from balanced to SE with either my Monarchy nor Class D Audio amps despite both being optimized for balanced. I haven't gotten around to trying my X150.5 SE as yet.

  8. #58
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Feanor, the AVA has a remote but no phono preamp. Although Frank can add one (if fact, Frank posted on my thread on the Audio Circles forum that he would be willing to install his new phono preamp in my preamp if any one who buys the preamp wants one). It has a factory installed HT bypass switch and factory upgrades from the original 6N1P tubes to the 6CG7's and the newer MosFets to take it from an Ultra II to an Ultra Plus. The original price was $1799 and then another $450 of upgrades. Frank just gave it a thorough check up in October. I will be posting it on audiogon tomorrow once I take some pictures. I hate to see it go. Its a real bargain at $975. It responds well to tube rolling. I will include a pair of RCA clear tops.

    I am not concerned in the least about going back to RCA's from the XLR's. Any benefit from the XLR's will be overshadowed by the improvement in sound from the CJ. I have not read a bad thing about the the ET3se and the guys at spearit sound glowed about it. They said it is not overly warm or syrupy like the recent older models.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

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