In the world of luxury goods, the entry level products have a tough time. The Porsche Cayman for example. That’s the Porsche for those who can’t afford a 911 (the connoisseur knows better by the way). Or Scansonic for those who can’t afford a Raidho. And so there are many examples. What about the Pass Labs X150.8? Is that the model for those who can’t afford an XA model or X250.8? Spoiler… no… it’s definitely not!
To cut to the chase, the Pass Labs X150.8 is our new reference power amplifier. And for good reason: it fits in perfectly with the XP-12 that we have been using for a long time. With great pleasure… The step up from the Bryston 4B SST3 to this X150.8 is no small one. The Pass is looser, more neutral and faster in character. That is nice, but it also had consequences: we quickly had to look for another reference speaker; the Focals are no friends with the Pass. So you see: two wonderful products, but the marriage is not optimal …
We have now had this Pass Labs X150.8 connected to several speakers. Think Sopra’s, a couple of Xavians, Diptyque, Final Audio Model 12, TAD Evolution 2 and it has been used in the Triple test monitor speakers. The power of this amplifier is that it unerringly shows what is going on in the system. Whereas the Bryston very often sounds nice (which is a very nice feature), this Pass is more of a transparent pass-through. Both have advantages and disadvantages; it’s just what you’re looking for. Your author is basically looking for a ‘measuring device’ to write decent reviews for you. However, of course, it’s nice if it sounds good too…. Fortunately, he does just that. More on that later.