Pass Labs Aleph 3 power amplifier System Details
I hope I'm not giving too much away too soon with the statement that I wish I'd had more state-of-the-art equipment on hand to use in the system with the Aleph 3. During the fairly lengthy review period, the Assemblage DAC-2, Audio Alchemy DITB, CAL Gamma, and Rotel RDP-980 D/A converters took turns as the source component. Digital signals came from either the Audio Alchemy DDS III or the Rotel RDD-980 transport. Jitter boxes used were the Audio Alchemy DTI Plus, Monarchy DIP, and the Theta TLC, alone and sometimes in series. The preamplifier was an Audio Electronics AE-2, the line-level circuit of which appears to be a copy of Nelson Pass's "Bride of Zen" preamp design. (Note that the Aleph 3's low voltage gain makes it unsuitable for use with passive control units.)
Speakers were most often the Linn AV5140s (to be reviewed in the May issue), sometimes my reference B&W 804s.
Sound & Vision Digiflex Gold I cable was used between jitter box and processor, and feeding the jitter box was either Audio Magic Presto or Audio Alchemy Clearstream. One-meter lengths of either XLO Pro Type 150 or TARA RSC Reference Gen.2 connected sources to the AE-2 preamp. Pre-to-power-amp cable was 1m of Kimber PBJ. Speakers were fed by either AudioTruth Argent Hyperlitz or TARA Labs RSC Reference Gen.2. The DACs and preamp were plugged into separate MagneTek isolation transformers for power-line conditioning. Line-level components sat on a RoomTune JustaRack. The Aleph 3 sat on two stacked, square concrete blocks with the same dimensions as its inner box, leaving plenty of open space below, above, and around it.—Muse Kastanovich