Pass Laboratories INT-60 integrated amplifier Measurements

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
Allen Fant's picture

Great as always review- HR.
The Pass Labs & First Watt integrated amps are on my short list to demo. Several choices in each brand- which one shall I start auditioning?

findcount's picture

bet they could sell this amp 30-40% cheaper if they didn't used an over-the-top chassis

low2midhifi's picture

There's a whiff of a self-serving argument in the 6th paragraph of this article. I am sure that this integrated is a fine piece of equipment. But to dismiss "measurements" is one many postures of the audio community that needs to be challenged.

"Measurements" don't matter; only some ethereal out-of-body experience does. Well, then why not join the ranks of most audio publications and stop going through the sweat of "measurements" altogether?

Based on my research only Stereophile, Soundstage! (Canada), and audio.com.pl (Poland) bother to do comprehensive measurements on a regular basis. Credibility is gained in my book by the efforts made to subject equipment to the objectivity of measurements. Soundstage! proudly enters disclaimers of how their methodology complies with those of the Canadian Bureau of Standards.

And, yes, measurements do matter, particularly for those of us on a budget. Measurements show where there is superior workmanship done on a budget.

I recall reading in a leading car magazine about 18 years ago that my sporty, econobox Japanese sedan had "measurements" that were quite similar to a German import costing over 2 times as much. But perhaps I missed the sublimities of the leather seating and all of the prestige. Forget that the car was not much faster, not much more powerful, and had about the same dBs (bad ones for automotive pursuits) of sound inside the driver's cabin.

I have also found that my favorite brand of timepieces (available for a reasonable price today at a mall near you) has a 5 year warranty. To my surprise, much of the finery of Geneva and Le Chaux de Fonds, costing 10 times as much, or more, often comes with a much shorter warranty.

Instead of asking why "measurements don't matter," I'd ask another question. Why does a product costing $9,000 not have better measurements, in some areas, than a $999.00 Class C integrated amp listed on the current line-up of "Recommended Components" in this publication?

I for one am delighted that I have the "better measurements," and a good audio experience to boot, off of an integrated amp (the predecessor of your Class C item) which I purchased as dealer demo for 8.7% of the price of the item under discussion in this article. I hope this fine piece of gear in this article is 11 times better than what I found on a Saturday afternoon.

Oh, and my car: it lasted 17 years; probably it out-lasted its luxury rival, and spent less time in the shop. My watch is still going strong after 15 years.

This publication, and the audio hobby in general, can't afford to dismiss the value-for-the-money trade-offs that exist in this pursuit, most your readers do it every day; we look at the "measurements," too.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Read the paragraph again:

And what about measurements? Can John Atkinson's graphs of impressive sinewaves and squarewaves corroborate relative value? Maybe . . . but, as my friend Steve Guttenberg always says, "Measurements are useless at predicting user preferences."

jason

jmsent's picture

which measurements you are referring to that are inferior to the $999 model? From what I see, the measurements of this amp are quite excellent overall. Certainly nothing to disqualify it from sounding absolutely superb. All engineers engage in trade-offs. You can run tons of loop feedback in an amplifier and get lower distortion specs, but often at the expense of sound quality . That's not the way Pass designs their amps.

jim davis's picture

I recently displaced an Ayre AX5Twenty in my main system with the PASS INT-250. If one can afford the step up from the INT-60, I strongly recommend it. The added bonus is not only are the sonics superior, but so is the interaction with the manufacturer. Kent English at PASS couldn't be more invested in ensuring a new customer's delight with a PASS product. Apparently, Charlie H has schooled the Ayre staff to make it clear that customers were clearly misguided to call Boulder and that their concerns would be best directed to their respective dealer.

cgh's picture

My understanding is they are different. Both are "point 8" but the 60 runs a higher bias and is class A up until 30 watts. The 250 leaves class A at 16 watts.

Pages

Pass Laboratories INT-60 integrated amplifier Associated Equipment

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
Allen Fant's picture

Great as always review- HR.
The Pass Labs & First Watt integrated amps are on my short list to demo. Several choices in each brand- which one shall I start auditioning?

findcount's picture

bet they could sell this amp 30-40% cheaper if they didn't used an over-the-top chassis

low2midhifi's picture

There's a whiff of a self-serving argument in the 6th paragraph of this article. I am sure that this integrated is a fine piece of equipment. But to dismiss "measurements" is one many postures of the audio community that needs to be challenged.

"Measurements" don't matter; only some ethereal out-of-body experience does. Well, then why not join the ranks of most audio publications and stop going through the sweat of "measurements" altogether?

Based on my research only Stereophile, Soundstage! (Canada), and audio.com.pl (Poland) bother to do comprehensive measurements on a regular basis. Credibility is gained in my book by the efforts made to subject equipment to the objectivity of measurements. Soundstage! proudly enters disclaimers of how their methodology complies with those of the Canadian Bureau of Standards.

And, yes, measurements do matter, particularly for those of us on a budget. Measurements show where there is superior workmanship done on a budget.

I recall reading in a leading car magazine about 18 years ago that my sporty, econobox Japanese sedan had "measurements" that were quite similar to a German import costing over 2 times as much. But perhaps I missed the sublimities of the leather seating and all of the prestige. Forget that the car was not much faster, not much more powerful, and had about the same dBs (bad ones for automotive pursuits) of sound inside the driver's cabin.

I have also found that my favorite brand of timepieces (available for a reasonable price today at a mall near you) has a 5 year warranty. To my surprise, much of the finery of Geneva and Le Chaux de Fonds, costing 10 times as much, or more, often comes with a much shorter warranty.

Instead of asking why "measurements don't matter," I'd ask another question. Why does a product costing $9,000 not have better measurements, in some areas, than a $999.00 Class C integrated amp listed on the current line-up of "Recommended Components" in this publication?

I for one am delighted that I have the "better measurements," and a good audio experience to boot, off of an integrated amp (the predecessor of your Class C item) which I purchased as dealer demo for 8.7% of the price of the item under discussion in this article. I hope this fine piece of gear in this article is 11 times better than what I found on a Saturday afternoon.

Oh, and my car: it lasted 17 years; probably it out-lasted its luxury rival, and spent less time in the shop. My watch is still going strong after 15 years.

This publication, and the audio hobby in general, can't afford to dismiss the value-for-the-money trade-offs that exist in this pursuit, most your readers do it every day; we look at the "measurements," too.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Read the paragraph again:

And what about measurements? Can John Atkinson's graphs of impressive sinewaves and squarewaves corroborate relative value? Maybe . . . but, as my friend Steve Guttenberg always says, "Measurements are useless at predicting user preferences."

jason

jmsent's picture

which measurements you are referring to that are inferior to the $999 model? From what I see, the measurements of this amp are quite excellent overall. Certainly nothing to disqualify it from sounding absolutely superb. All engineers engage in trade-offs. You can run tons of loop feedback in an amplifier and get lower distortion specs, but often at the expense of sound quality . That's not the way Pass designs their amps.

jim davis's picture

I recently displaced an Ayre AX5Twenty in my main system with the PASS INT-250. If one can afford the step up from the INT-60, I strongly recommend it. The added bonus is not only are the sonics superior, but so is the interaction with the manufacturer. Kent English at PASS couldn't be more invested in ensuring a new customer's delight with a PASS product. Apparently, Charlie H has schooled the Ayre staff to make it clear that customers were clearly misguided to call Boulder and that their concerns would be best directed to their respective dealer.

cgh's picture

My understanding is they are different. Both are "point 8" but the 60 runs a higher bias and is class A up until 30 watts. The 250 leaves class A at 16 watts.

Pages

Pass Laboratories INT-60 integrated amplifier Specifications

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
Allen Fant's picture

Great as always review- HR.
The Pass Labs & First Watt integrated amps are on my short list to demo. Several choices in each brand- which one shall I start auditioning?

findcount's picture

bet they could sell this amp 30-40% cheaper if they didn't used an over-the-top chassis

low2midhifi's picture

There's a whiff of a self-serving argument in the 6th paragraph of this article. I am sure that this integrated is a fine piece of equipment. But to dismiss "measurements" is one many postures of the audio community that needs to be challenged.

"Measurements" don't matter; only some ethereal out-of-body experience does. Well, then why not join the ranks of most audio publications and stop going through the sweat of "measurements" altogether?

Based on my research only Stereophile, Soundstage! (Canada), and audio.com.pl (Poland) bother to do comprehensive measurements on a regular basis. Credibility is gained in my book by the efforts made to subject equipment to the objectivity of measurements. Soundstage! proudly enters disclaimers of how their methodology complies with those of the Canadian Bureau of Standards.

And, yes, measurements do matter, particularly for those of us on a budget. Measurements show where there is superior workmanship done on a budget.

I recall reading in a leading car magazine about 18 years ago that my sporty, econobox Japanese sedan had "measurements" that were quite similar to a German import costing over 2 times as much. But perhaps I missed the sublimities of the leather seating and all of the prestige. Forget that the car was not much faster, not much more powerful, and had about the same dBs (bad ones for automotive pursuits) of sound inside the driver's cabin.

I have also found that my favorite brand of timepieces (available for a reasonable price today at a mall near you) has a 5 year warranty. To my surprise, much of the finery of Geneva and Le Chaux de Fonds, costing 10 times as much, or more, often comes with a much shorter warranty.

Instead of asking why "measurements don't matter," I'd ask another question. Why does a product costing $9,000 not have better measurements, in some areas, than a $999.00 Class C integrated amp listed on the current line-up of "Recommended Components" in this publication?

I for one am delighted that I have the "better measurements," and a good audio experience to boot, off of an integrated amp (the predecessor of your Class C item) which I purchased as dealer demo for 8.7% of the price of the item under discussion in this article. I hope this fine piece of gear in this article is 11 times better than what I found on a Saturday afternoon.

Oh, and my car: it lasted 17 years; probably it out-lasted its luxury rival, and spent less time in the shop. My watch is still going strong after 15 years.

This publication, and the audio hobby in general, can't afford to dismiss the value-for-the-money trade-offs that exist in this pursuit, most your readers do it every day; we look at the "measurements," too.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Read the paragraph again:

And what about measurements? Can John Atkinson's graphs of impressive sinewaves and squarewaves corroborate relative value? Maybe . . . but, as my friend Steve Guttenberg always says, "Measurements are useless at predicting user preferences."

jason

jmsent's picture

which measurements you are referring to that are inferior to the $999 model? From what I see, the measurements of this amp are quite excellent overall. Certainly nothing to disqualify it from sounding absolutely superb. All engineers engage in trade-offs. You can run tons of loop feedback in an amplifier and get lower distortion specs, but often at the expense of sound quality . That's not the way Pass designs their amps.

jim davis's picture

I recently displaced an Ayre AX5Twenty in my main system with the PASS INT-250. If one can afford the step up from the INT-60, I strongly recommend it. The added bonus is not only are the sonics superior, but so is the interaction with the manufacturer. Kent English at PASS couldn't be more invested in ensuring a new customer's delight with a PASS product. Apparently, Charlie H has schooled the Ayre staff to make it clear that customers were clearly misguided to call Boulder and that their concerns would be best directed to their respective dealer.

cgh's picture

My understanding is they are different. Both are "point 8" but the 60 runs a higher bias and is class A up until 30 watts. The 250 leaves class A at 16 watts.

Pages

Pass Laboratories INT-60 integrated amplifier Page 2

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
Allen Fant's picture

Great as always review- HR.
The Pass Labs & First Watt integrated amps are on my short list to demo. Several choices in each brand- which one shall I start auditioning?

findcount's picture

bet they could sell this amp 30-40% cheaper if they didn't used an over-the-top chassis

low2midhifi's picture

There's a whiff of a self-serving argument in the 6th paragraph of this article. I am sure that this integrated is a fine piece of equipment. But to dismiss "measurements" is one many postures of the audio community that needs to be challenged.

"Measurements" don't matter; only some ethereal out-of-body experience does. Well, then why not join the ranks of most audio publications and stop going through the sweat of "measurements" altogether?

Based on my research only Stereophile, Soundstage! (Canada), and audio.com.pl (Poland) bother to do comprehensive measurements on a regular basis. Credibility is gained in my book by the efforts made to subject equipment to the objectivity of measurements. Soundstage! proudly enters disclaimers of how their methodology complies with those of the Canadian Bureau of Standards.

And, yes, measurements do matter, particularly for those of us on a budget. Measurements show where there is superior workmanship done on a budget.

I recall reading in a leading car magazine about 18 years ago that my sporty, econobox Japanese sedan had "measurements" that were quite similar to a German import costing over 2 times as much. But perhaps I missed the sublimities of the leather seating and all of the prestige. Forget that the car was not much faster, not much more powerful, and had about the same dBs (bad ones for automotive pursuits) of sound inside the driver's cabin.

I have also found that my favorite brand of timepieces (available for a reasonable price today at a mall near you) has a 5 year warranty. To my surprise, much of the finery of Geneva and Le Chaux de Fonds, costing 10 times as much, or more, often comes with a much shorter warranty.

Instead of asking why "measurements don't matter," I'd ask another question. Why does a product costing $9,000 not have better measurements, in some areas, than a $999.00 Class C integrated amp listed on the current line-up of "Recommended Components" in this publication?

I for one am delighted that I have the "better measurements," and a good audio experience to boot, off of an integrated amp (the predecessor of your Class C item) which I purchased as dealer demo for 8.7% of the price of the item under discussion in this article. I hope this fine piece of gear in this article is 11 times better than what I found on a Saturday afternoon.

Oh, and my car: it lasted 17 years; probably it out-lasted its luxury rival, and spent less time in the shop. My watch is still going strong after 15 years.

This publication, and the audio hobby in general, can't afford to dismiss the value-for-the-money trade-offs that exist in this pursuit, most your readers do it every day; we look at the "measurements," too.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Read the paragraph again:

And what about measurements? Can John Atkinson's graphs of impressive sinewaves and squarewaves corroborate relative value? Maybe . . . but, as my friend Steve Guttenberg always says, "Measurements are useless at predicting user preferences."

jason

jmsent's picture

which measurements you are referring to that are inferior to the $999 model? From what I see, the measurements of this amp are quite excellent overall. Certainly nothing to disqualify it from sounding absolutely superb. All engineers engage in trade-offs. You can run tons of loop feedback in an amplifier and get lower distortion specs, but often at the expense of sound quality . That's not the way Pass designs their amps.

jim davis's picture

I recently displaced an Ayre AX5Twenty in my main system with the PASS INT-250. If one can afford the step up from the INT-60, I strongly recommend it. The added bonus is not only are the sonics superior, but so is the interaction with the manufacturer. Kent English at PASS couldn't be more invested in ensuring a new customer's delight with a PASS product. Apparently, Charlie H has schooled the Ayre staff to make it clear that customers were clearly misguided to call Boulder and that their concerns would be best directed to their respective dealer.

cgh's picture

My understanding is they are different. Both are "point 8" but the 60 runs a higher bias and is class A up until 30 watts. The 250 leaves class A at 16 watts.

Pages

Pass Laboratories INT-60 integrated amplifier

If I told you that Pass Laboratories' INT-60 integrated amplifier ($9000) was engineered by meth-lab trolls, its faceplate was wonky, its transformers buzzed, and it made every instrument sound like a tambourine, you'd think I was a crackpot with some kind of axe to grind, right? Because I suspect that, like me, you've never experienced or even read about a Pass Labs amp that didn't sound good.
Wed, 11/23/2016

Bryston BDA-3 D/A processor Measurements

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

This could be one that pulls me away from Multibit, very nice measurements JA must be one of the better ones I've seen.
Pity/shame Bryston didn't see fit to include the digital VC that the AKM dac is capable of. Hopefully in the BDA-3 MkII??

"Output Volume (PCM, DSD) The AK4490 includes channel independent digital output volumes (ATT) with 256 levels at 0.5dB step including MUTE. This volume control is in front of the DAC and it can attenuate the input data from 0dB to –127dB or mute. When changing output levels, it is executed in soft transition thus no switching noise occurs during these transitions. It takes 7424/fs from FFH (0dB) to 00H (MUTE). The attenuation level is initialized to FFH by initial reset. Register setting values will be kept even switching the PCM and DSD modes."

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Using the internal volume inside the DAC means DSD has to be converted to PCM(according to AKM data sheet) which negate the effect of DSD recordings. Besides, it is preferred to use the pre-amp volume as opposed to digital to improve the SNR for low level details.

georgehifi's picture

DSD does nothing for me because there's no music available that I like that is "Native DSD".
Give me DXD (pcm) if in the future it can get the music content I like.

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Check out pure DSD recordings direct from DSD masters
https://www.nativedsd.com/
http://www.primephonic.com

strettonufo's picture

Really curious how playing back music files in all formats supported by the DAC via HDMI compares with playback via USB. Disappointed that the review didn't get into this.

Pages

Bryston BDA-3 D/A processor Associated Equipment

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

This could be one that pulls me away from Multibit, very nice measurements JA must be one of the better ones I've seen.
Pity/shame Bryston didn't see fit to include the digital VC that the AKM dac is capable of. Hopefully in the BDA-3 MkII??

"Output Volume (PCM, DSD) The AK4490 includes channel independent digital output volumes (ATT) with 256 levels at 0.5dB step including MUTE. This volume control is in front of the DAC and it can attenuate the input data from 0dB to –127dB or mute. When changing output levels, it is executed in soft transition thus no switching noise occurs during these transitions. It takes 7424/fs from FFH (0dB) to 00H (MUTE). The attenuation level is initialized to FFH by initial reset. Register setting values will be kept even switching the PCM and DSD modes."

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Using the internal volume inside the DAC means DSD has to be converted to PCM(according to AKM data sheet) which negate the effect of DSD recordings. Besides, it is preferred to use the pre-amp volume as opposed to digital to improve the SNR for low level details.

georgehifi's picture

DSD does nothing for me because there's no music available that I like that is "Native DSD".
Give me DXD (pcm) if in the future it can get the music content I like.

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Check out pure DSD recordings direct from DSD masters
https://www.nativedsd.com/
http://www.primephonic.com

strettonufo's picture

Really curious how playing back music files in all formats supported by the DAC via HDMI compares with playback via USB. Disappointed that the review didn't get into this.

Pages

Bryston BDA-3 D/A processor Specifications

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

This could be one that pulls me away from Multibit, very nice measurements JA must be one of the better ones I've seen.
Pity/shame Bryston didn't see fit to include the digital VC that the AKM dac is capable of. Hopefully in the BDA-3 MkII??

"Output Volume (PCM, DSD) The AK4490 includes channel independent digital output volumes (ATT) with 256 levels at 0.5dB step including MUTE. This volume control is in front of the DAC and it can attenuate the input data from 0dB to –127dB or mute. When changing output levels, it is executed in soft transition thus no switching noise occurs during these transitions. It takes 7424/fs from FFH (0dB) to 00H (MUTE). The attenuation level is initialized to FFH by initial reset. Register setting values will be kept even switching the PCM and DSD modes."

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Using the internal volume inside the DAC means DSD has to be converted to PCM(according to AKM data sheet) which negate the effect of DSD recordings. Besides, it is preferred to use the pre-amp volume as opposed to digital to improve the SNR for low level details.

georgehifi's picture

DSD does nothing for me because there's no music available that I like that is "Native DSD".
Give me DXD (pcm) if in the future it can get the music content I like.

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Check out pure DSD recordings direct from DSD masters
https://www.nativedsd.com/
http://www.primephonic.com

strettonufo's picture

Really curious how playing back music files in all formats supported by the DAC via HDMI compares with playback via USB. Disappointed that the review didn't get into this.

Pages

Bryston BDA-3 D/A processor Setting Up Digital Source Components to Output DSD

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

This could be one that pulls me away from Multibit, very nice measurements JA must be one of the better ones I've seen.
Pity/shame Bryston didn't see fit to include the digital VC that the AKM dac is capable of. Hopefully in the BDA-3 MkII??

"Output Volume (PCM, DSD) The AK4490 includes channel independent digital output volumes (ATT) with 256 levels at 0.5dB step including MUTE. This volume control is in front of the DAC and it can attenuate the input data from 0dB to –127dB or mute. When changing output levels, it is executed in soft transition thus no switching noise occurs during these transitions. It takes 7424/fs from FFH (0dB) to 00H (MUTE). The attenuation level is initialized to FFH by initial reset. Register setting values will be kept even switching the PCM and DSD modes."

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Using the internal volume inside the DAC means DSD has to be converted to PCM(according to AKM data sheet) which negate the effect of DSD recordings. Besides, it is preferred to use the pre-amp volume as opposed to digital to improve the SNR for low level details.

georgehifi's picture

DSD does nothing for me because there's no music available that I like that is "Native DSD".
Give me DXD (pcm) if in the future it can get the music content I like.

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Check out pure DSD recordings direct from DSD masters
https://www.nativedsd.com/
http://www.primephonic.com

strettonufo's picture

Really curious how playing back music files in all formats supported by the DAC via HDMI compares with playback via USB. Disappointed that the review didn't get into this.

Pages

Bryston BDA-3 D/A processor Page 2

Wed, 11/23/2016

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

This could be one that pulls me away from Multibit, very nice measurements JA must be one of the better ones I've seen.
Pity/shame Bryston didn't see fit to include the digital VC that the AKM dac is capable of. Hopefully in the BDA-3 MkII??

"Output Volume (PCM, DSD) The AK4490 includes channel independent digital output volumes (ATT) with 256 levels at 0.5dB step including MUTE. This volume control is in front of the DAC and it can attenuate the input data from 0dB to –127dB or mute. When changing output levels, it is executed in soft transition thus no switching noise occurs during these transitions. It takes 7424/fs from FFH (0dB) to 00H (MUTE). The attenuation level is initialized to FFH by initial reset. Register setting values will be kept even switching the PCM and DSD modes."

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Using the internal volume inside the DAC means DSD has to be converted to PCM(according to AKM data sheet) which negate the effect of DSD recordings. Besides, it is preferred to use the pre-amp volume as opposed to digital to improve the SNR for low level details.

georgehifi's picture

DSD does nothing for me because there's no music available that I like that is "Native DSD".
Give me DXD (pcm) if in the future it can get the music content I like.

Cheers George

MusicEar's picture

Check out pure DSD recordings direct from DSD masters
https://www.nativedsd.com/
http://www.primephonic.com

strettonufo's picture

Really curious how playing back music files in all formats supported by the DAC via HDMI compares with playback via USB. Disappointed that the review didn't get into this.

Pages

Pages