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  1. #1

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    Default The Last Amplifier Project - Pass Labs X600.5 Monoblocks

    Over the past few years I have been evaluating higher powered amps (and saving coins) to replace my Parasound Halo JC 1 monoblocks. My research kept leading me back to the Pass Labs X600.5 monoblocks. I will take delivery of a pair next week.

    Specs:

    600 watts into 8 ohms (400 watts for JC 1)
    1200 watts into 4 ohms (800 watts for JC 1) (my modified SDA SRS 1.2TL's are 4 ohm equivalent speakers)
    Class A watts: 80 (compared to the JC 1's 29 watts class A)
    Weight: 132 pounds (64 pounds JC 1)









    The X600.5 is taller than the JC 1's, but has approximately the same size footprint, so it will easily fit in the same cabinet space. The X600.5 idle heat sink temperature is only a little more than the JC 1's (122 degrees F compared to 118 degrees F). If everything works out, the JC 1's will be traded in.

    I'm hoping the X600.5's will be great compliments for my Pass XP-30 line stage preamp and Pass XP-25 phono preamp. I actually was planning to make this purchase next year, but the dealer (Reno HiFi) made me an offer I could not refuse.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  2. #2

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    Oh boy Ray! Can I come over!?
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

  3. #3

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    Jealous? Yes I am. Those PL's are very, very nice amps. Congrats on the purchase!
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Essence Audio HDACC, Douglas IC's, Douglas Alpha bi-wire SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

  4. #4

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    Default Tubes rule!!!

    But for these beauties I would make an exception. Congrats man. I cannot wait to read your review.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  5. #5

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    Very nice, enjoy!

  6. #6

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    Oh boy Ray! Can I come over!?

    Sure. I could use some help unpacking and setting up those beasts, plus I need help setting up blind tests, lest I be accused of imagining performance improvements

    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    Tubes Rule!!!
    Tubes rule? But...but...but...Nelson said he designed the X600.5 to have the sweetness, air, layering, and sound staging of the best high end tube designs, yet with the bass slam, articulation and detail of the best high end solid state designs. We'll see.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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  7. #7
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    Default

    Very nice, and I would hope that system would have good synergy...

  8. #8

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    Those are freaking amazing! Honestly I'd give my left one to hear the big boy SDAs and that much super high quality amplification! Listening to them is probably going to be a religious experience. Congrats!

  9. #9

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    I'm so jealous

  10. #10

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    That's a pretty set-up! Beautiful Amps!
    "Everything I ever did in my life worthwhile I caught hell for"

  11. #11

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    Those could definitely fit the bill as "Last" amplifiers. There's not a whole of gear I'd say that about. Congrats, man!
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  12. #12

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    Hey Ray

    I can see all is going well and happy to see your spending money on good things.

    It seems to me the weakest link in your system is the 1.2tl's. Can that be true?????

    Like all the others here I really have enjoyed reading your reviews/findings and look forward to your thoughts on your new power plant.

  13. #13

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    Impressive, period.

  14. #14

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    Congrats !
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
    Digital: Mac mini 2.3GHz dual-core i5 8g RAM 1.5 TB HDD Music Server Amarra (memory play) - USB - W4S DAC 2
    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  15. #15

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    Awesome!!!

    Congrats Ray!!
    No Way But The Hard Way, So Get Used To It!!!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by NJPOLKER View Post
    It seems to me the weakest link in your system is the 1.2tl's. Can that be true?????
    Yes, that could be true.

    I keep expecting to reach "the wall" whereby differences in high performance gear can no longer be perceived, but I have not reached it yet. The 1.2TL's have "grown" along with my electronics upgrades. If the 1.2TL's were still in their stock form, then yes, they would be a weak link. I still continue to audition speakers...patiently waiting for that magical moment when a new pair speakers entices me to replace my hot-rodded 1.2TL's.

    On the surface, it might seem inefficient to run a 20+ year old pair of speakers with top of the line electronics and cables. It is no more inefficient than taking a 20+ year old Porsche and updating its engine and other components and ending up with a car that is the equal in many respects, and is the superior, in some respects, of contemporary sports cars.

    When you crack open many of today's-well regarded high end speaker designs, sometimes you find exotic drivers and custom crossover components, but often you find high quality, but off the shelf, parts. It is how those off the shelf parts are implemented in the speaker design that makes the magic happen. When you crack open my 23 year old SDA SRS 1.2TL's, you find:

    1. Audioquest 15 gauge solid core premium quality wiring,
    2. premium capacitors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    3. premium resistors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    4. premium inductors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    5. a custom designed and extensively vibration damped crossover circuit board, with over-sized, heavy-weight copper traces,
    6. damped driver baskets and drivers and tweeters tightly coupled to the baffle board with steel retaining rings.

    How many modern high end speaker designs have all of that, or even half of that?

    Even more important than all of the physical design improvements is the patented SDA interaural crosstalk cancellation circuit. The purpose of stereo reproduction is to recreate a three dimensional illusion of a musical performance. No other speaker in existence does that as well as SDA's, with their wide and stable sweet spot and panoramic sound stage.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    __________________
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK

  17. #17

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    Very nice amps! Have fun!

  18. #18

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    Hey Ray... you have a problem though now...

    You cant end every review with:

    Someday when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now....

    I think "someday" has arrived
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

    Lessons cost money, good ones cost LOTS - Tony Beets

    HT: APC H15 | Pio 51FD | Uverse | Xbox 360 | Squeezebox Classic | Integra DTR 5.9 | Carver AV-705x & M1.0t MKII Opt002 | LSi 15 | LSiC | LSi F/x | Kimber Hero IC & 8VS SC

    Office: Win 7 -> DacMagic w/ Pangea PSU | DIY Pass BOSOZ| Parasound HCA-1200ii | Polk RTA 11TL | Cables TBA

    Bedroom: Uverse | Roku 2 | Samsung LCD | SurroundBar 2000

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  19. #19

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    Can't wait for the deatails...'cause know shows or explains the details like you

    those are beasts
    Home Theater:Samsung8000-55LED,Pioneer SC35, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Sunfire TGA7201, LSi25, LCi RTSc, LC80i
    2chnl system:Melody 101 tube pre, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, W4S Dac, MG Audio Planus2 speaker cables
    Office rig: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures

  20. #20

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    Beautiful amps, Ray, congrats.

  21. #21

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    I think you will be very happy and as good as the JC1's are...........I predict you will like the X600.5's even better.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  22. #22

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    Ray,
    Congrats on the amps, a beast with beauty for sure! I look forward to your review, as always.

    Halen

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    Yes, that could be true.

    I keep expecting to reach "the wall" whereby differences in high performance gear can no longer be perceived, but I have not reached it yet. The 1.2TL's have "grown" along with my electronics upgrades. If the 1.2TL's were still in their stock form, then yes, they would be a weak link. I still continue to audition speakers...patiently waiting for that magical moment when a new pair speakers entices me to replace my hot-rodded 1.2TL's.

    On the surface, it might seem inefficient to run a 20+ year old pair of speakers with top of the line electronics and cables. It is no more inefficient than taking a 20+ year old Porsche and updating its engine and other components and ending up with a car that is the equal in many respects, and is the superior, in some respects, of contemporary sports cars.

    When you crack open many of today's-well regarded high end speaker designs, sometimes you find exotic drivers and custom crossover components, but often you find high quality, but off the shelf, parts. It is how those off the shelf parts are implemented in the speaker design that makes the magic happen. When you crack open my 23 year old SDA SRS 1.2TL's, you find:

    1. Audioquest 15 gauge solid core premium quality wiring,
    2. premium capacitors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    3. premium resistors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    4. premium inductors, which are designed to minimize electrical and mechanical noise,
    5. a custom designed and extensively vibration damped crossover circuit board, with over-sized, heavy-weight copper traces,
    6. damped driver baskets and drivers and tweeters tightly coupled to the baffle board with steel retaining rings.

    How many modern high end speaker designs have all of that, or even half of that?

    Even more important than all of the physical design improvements is the patented SDA interaural crosstalk cancellation circuit. The purpose of stereo reproduction is to recreate a three dimensional illusion of a musical performance. No other speaker in existence does that as well as SDA's, with their wide and stable sweet spot and panoramic sound stage.

    Beautiful

    Exactly what I was hoping or thinking your findings would be. Another true to life testament on the potential of Polk SDA's Kind of makes me want to take a trip down to New Jersey and pick up my SDA SRS2's right now!!

    Thanks for your response and congratulations on another job well done.

  24. #24

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    Weight: 132 pounds (64 pounds JC 1)


    Those are beautiful.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Oppo BDP-105; Amps: Anthem Integrated 225; PS Audio GCPH Speakers: Polk - LSi15's (sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; B&K Reference 200.2; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  25. #25

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    I believe you have found the holy grail! Very nice.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  26. #26

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    DK,

    You mind listing the amps you have evaluated? I'm just curious about your journey. Thanks.

  27. #27

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    Very cool and congrats! Always have wanted to get my ears on a full Pass system like that. Look forward to your impressions on it!
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Hey Ray... you have a problem though now...

    You cant end every review with:

    Someday when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now....

    I think "someday" has arrived
    No, I'm not there yet. There is always something "better" around the corner.

    Quote Originally Posted by D_M View Post
    DK,

    You mind listing the amps you have evaluated? I'm just curious about your journey. Thanks.
    A discussion, with pictures, can be found in this thread from 2008:

    Higher-Power-Amplification-For-SDA-SRS

    You can see that this has been on my mind for a while. I had narrowed my choices to the Bryston 28BSST2 and the X600.5. The 28BSST2 offered more power (1000 wpc into 8 ohms) and costs 13% less than the X600.5, but the 28BSST2 is optimized for 8 ohm speakers. I was not fully confident about its performance with my 4 ohm 1.2TL's. The 28BSST2's output goes down to 900 wpc into 4 ohms. The X600.5 "doubles down" to 1200 wpc at 4 ohms.

    I have attached spreadsheets which compare the JC 1 to the X600.5 and to the 28BSST. Specs can be misleading if you don't know the design specifics. For example, the JC 1 has a slew rate of 130 V/usec compared to the X600.5's mere 50 V/usec. That might lead some to believe that the JC 1 is the faster, more agile and more nimble amplifier. Nelson Pass explained the X600.5's lower slew rate this way:

    "In the X600.5 the symmetric voltage gain stage will peak out at about 100 mA. We also take advantage of balanced output stages (halving the slew requirement), and last but not least, we bias the amplifiers high."
    Attached Files
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    __________________
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    No, I'm not there yet. There is always something "better" around the corner.
    LOL, I agree to disagree.....

    Whats left Raife? Re-wiring your connection from your house directly to the power station ..

    Cause thats about all I can think of.....
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

    Lessons cost money, good ones cost LOTS - Tony Beets

    HT: APC H15 | Pio 51FD | Uverse | Xbox 360 | Squeezebox Classic | Integra DTR 5.9 | Carver AV-705x & M1.0t MKII Opt002 | LSi 15 | LSiC | LSi F/x | Kimber Hero IC & 8VS SC

    Office: Win 7 -> DacMagic w/ Pangea PSU | DIY Pass BOSOZ| Parasound HCA-1200ii | Polk RTA 11TL | Cables TBA

    Bedroom: Uverse | Roku 2 | Samsung LCD | SurroundBar 2000

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  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    LOL, I agree to disagree.....

    Whats left Raife? Re-wiring your connection from your house directly to the power station ..

    Cause thats about all I can think of.....
    I can think of a few things:

    1. Dedicated, fully acoustically treated listening room.
    2. Dedicated transformer from the power company to isolate my house from the power grid's noise.
    3. Separate, audio grade breaker box for audio and video AC circuits.
    4. Commercial grade AC regenerators.
    5. Whole-house surge suppression.
    6. And things like this:






    Pass Labs X1000.5
    1000 wpc into 8 ohms.
    2000 wpc into 4 ohms.

    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    __________________
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK

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