Pathos InPol Remix MkII integrated amplifier

Sometimes when the world shouts too loudly, I immerse myself in other sounds: in music. I escape the cacophony by diving into my stash of vinyl records (not literally, although that's a fun image) and reveling in the soundwaves they release. The soundwaves liberated from those physical grooves, combined with impressions stored deep in my hippocampus, never fail to soothe, energize, fascinate, excite.

Reviewing new analog equipment allows me to explore this sonic corporeality and gives me a chance to hear my cherished vinyl discs anew, with a different focus. Sound patterns and song lines are reanimated.

A well-made tube amplifier represents, to me, the pinnacle of sound reproduction—including certain hybrid designs. I have yet to hear a solid state amplifier reproduce the natural tone, realistic timbre, liquidity, physicality, and pure embodiment of recorded musicians that a fine tube amplifier achieves.

Tube amplifiers that have enchanted me over the years include the magnificent E.A.T. E-Glo I integrated amplifier, the tightly focused Luxman SQ-N150 integrated amplifier, the harmonically adept Zesto Leto Ultra II preamplifier, the neuron-altering Komuro 845, the atmospheric Audio Note Ongaku, and of course my Shindo Laboratory Allegro dual-body preamplifier and Shindo Haut-Brion power amplifier.

123pathos.1

But what about hybrid amps—amplifiers that include both tubes and solid state devices? How do they stack up against solid state amps? Against pure tube amps? My answer: It depends.

So when I was asked to review the Italian-made Pathos InPoL Remix MkII integrated amplifier ($5395), which uses both tubes and transistors in an innovative circuit, I dove in ears first.

On the outside
Manufactured in Vicenza and perhaps inspired by the city's architecture, Pathos amplifiers are visually arresting, with bold lines and a solid stance. The Remix is a fine example, with its contrasting colors, sleek anodized-aluminum volume control knob, and stout, curvaceous, powder-coated heatsinks of extruded aluminum, shaped cleverly to spell out the company name. The amplifier's bold, industrial exterior exhibits pride in its materials: The top panel is of varnished iron, the bottom plate, cabinet, and internal plates of powder-coated iron. The twin, top-mounted tube rings are aluminum, and the tube fins are stainless steel. All the metal parts are connected with a thermal compound to ensure thermal continuity, Pathos says.

123pathos.bac

"Pathos Acoustics was founded in 1994 by three Italian pioneers, Gaetano Zanini, Gianni Borinato and Paolo Andriolo, in ... Vicenza, a sophisticated city in northern Italy famous for its great monuments designed by architect Andrea Palladio," the Pathos website says. "The tradition of making something outstanding has continued since the days of Palladio."

The Remix may be small, but, standing on four stubby aluminum feet and weighing 34.2lb, it's heavier than it looks. On a narrow, recessed panel below a large, matte black fascia, a control panel bears a small silver on/off button; hold it down for standby. To the right are an IR sensor; a red LED, which confirms standby mode; and a three-digit display showing volume level, selected input, brightness, and phase settings. Another small silver button engages analog or digital inputs. There's also a ¼" headphone jack, which turns off the speaker taps when headphones are plugged in. Above, the big main panel is an expanse of color—black, red, or white—and features just a big volume wheel. Dual ElectroHarmonix E88CC tubes stand sentry atop. A lovely, laser-engraved remote parallels the front panel functions.

The Remix's all-business back end consists of speaker terminals, four well-spaced RCA input jacks, one set of XLR (balanced) inputs, a pair of pre-out jacks on RCA, an IEC receptacle, and two pairs of pre-out jacks, one RCA, one XLR. The robust, Taiwan-made RCA jacks are gold-plated. USB, S/PDIF, and TosLink inputs for the optional HiDac Mk2 D/A converter (not included in the review sample), which adds $675 to the price, round out the back-panel features.

123pathos.2

On the inside
The Remix uses transformers from KK Omori Seisakusho from Japan and Costruzioni Elettromeccaniche Taddei from Italy. The power supply is a switching supply: a Mean Well 150W. "The capacitors we choose are high-quality," said Damiano Zanini, Pathos's director of research and development, in an email. "Some of them are by Nichicon or Wima, others are by Lelon, a high-quality Chinese brand. Capacitors are all [rated to perform at] 105°C." Internal wiring is shielded cable by Tasker, an Italian company.

Pathos employs a proprietary, patented design—InPoL, for Inseguitore Pompa Lineare, or Linear Pump Follower—in several of its amplifiers, including the Remix; other Pathos InPoL models include the Heritage, InPower, and Adrenalin (footnote 1). InPoL is Pathos's technology for providing ample current to a loudspeaker without global negative feedback but with "limited" distortion and an acceptable damping factor. It's a particular solid state, class-A output-stage topology that uses N-channel transistors—specifically, IRFP240 MOSFETs by Vishay—and mimics the incoming voltage 1:1 so that, Pathos says, it does not change the signal's harmonic content. "To put it a little more technically, it is a MOSFET running in pure class-A that's used in a follower configuration"—following those Electro-Harmonix ECC88 tubes, which have already bumped up the voltage—"with a 'passthrough' voltage gain of 1, and a high current gain." That quote is from a document shared with Stereophile by Upscale Distribution, the US Pathos distributor.


Footnote 1: Apparently discontinued but still available.
COMPANY INFO
Pathos Acoustics s.r.l.
US distributor: Upscale Distribution
2058 Wright Ave.
La Verne, CA 91750
randy@upscaledistribution.com
(909) 931-0219
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
georgehifi's picture

"Bass was chunky"
"bass lines"My Sparrow" were warm"
"bass on Zappa's wanted for absolute weight"
"low bass synth notes were more Jello-like"

Sounds like the bass into very easy to drive speakers was a disaster for an amp worth $5.4Kusd? Why make such an amp??

"Its strongest trait is its clear, open, communicative midrange."
That usually happens when the bass is MIA

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

...... for an amp worth $5.4Kusd" qtd georgehifi

How do you know "DeVore Fidelity O/96, Spendor BC1, and GoldenEar BRX loudspeakers" are "very easy to drive loudspeakers" ??

Have you already auditioned them ALL before this review to have made such comment ????

Listening is believing

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

...believing, Jack L.

Read this and other reviews by Ken thoroughly.

He owns these speakers.

Jack L's picture

Hi

First off, I asked georgehifi, not Ken, if he already auditioned ALL those speakers which georgehifi labls them as "very easy to drive speakers" before he made such a comment.

I would not make such comment as I never auditioned them irrespecitve whoever else already reported its audition review. Again, one's meat is another man's poison ! Sonics is soooo subjective !

So georgehifi's comment will carry weight & be worthy to take reference vs Ken's review if George himself already audtioned them ! Otherwise, his comment above would be some speculation or basing on hearsay !

My question to YOU: how do you know georgehif already owned all those mentioned loudspeakers & has already auditioned them ALL ??

Wait up, kid.

Jack L

MatthewT's picture

Specifications are not. It's really not that hard.

ChrisS's picture

...a difference to the review?

Or just to you, Jack L?

Jack L's picture

Hi George

Don't you realize your above comment is some pretty harsh allegation against this Pathos InPol Remix MkII integrated amplifier without your own full bench test report plus your in-depth audition of the same.

Hearsay or speculation can go nowhere !

Yours truy like you - a technical guy, I would NOT comment on sonic aspect without personal audition. You can read my posts always on technical aspects only, like design concept & topology, technical improvement suggestion. I do not touch any sonics at all without prior audition. This is the decent way to go technically, right

Listening is believing

Jack L

MatthewT's picture

"I know I might have overdone it by offending whoever unconciously. A rough diamond I might be ?!!

I hereby offer my sincere apology to whoever I have offended !"

The Jack we know and love is back already.

georgehifi's picture

Yep, he'll explode in a couple more posts RIP!

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

We should pay some respect to whoever reviewers who spent effort & time to give us their subjective sonic comments. Their efforts should not be taken for granted.

Listening is believing

Jack L

PS: sorry to say you just "exploded" yr contempt for the maker the Pathos InPol Remix MkII amp: "Why made such an amp?".

rt66indierock's picture

Do you consider this amplifier high fidelity?

georgehifi's picture

Who's being anything else to them. It's Ken in this review that basically says, the bass is "meh" in so many words.
What are you?? the Stereophile minder or something, stop crawling up their *****, get a life, and stop bucking for a Stereophile job because that's what it looks like doing, in readers eyes.

Looks like Indydan was right about you in his 1st post.

rt66indierock's picture

Some of us have been less than charitable to many high-end audio writers. And vice versa. My friend Andy Quint of The Absolute Sound asked me if I wanted to tear down every authority structure in high end audio. I told him it wasn’t a question.

David Harper's picture

You might have told him"there is no high-end authority structure" in high end audio. That's the whole point isn't it?

Jack L's picture

Hi

Please don't put your "Meh" in Ken's mouth ! You said its bass is "meh", not Ken! "Basically" it's your imagination !

Just to quote what Ken said about this amps performance with Spendor BC1:
"Bass was chunky, ample, and thick."

His review conclusion: " Recommended for music lovers."

Apparently you were not a "music lover"!

You even challenged the amp manufacturer: "Why make such an amp?" because apparently you take BASS is a live-&-death isse for any audio !

Be nice ! Pay some respect to the reviewer who's job is to report his subjective impression on the audio under review. Even the reviewer condemned the bass quality of an audio, so what? This not the end of gthe world ! Maybe you still like the bass when you get the chance to audition it. Ons's meat is another man's poison.

So why jump the gun ? Also stop "bucking" this amp's manufacturer again because YOU personally were not happy with its bass.

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

Your deluded Jack L if these quotes from his/Kens mouth don't = "meh" bass

Quote Ken:
"Bass was chunky"
"bass lines"My Sparrow" were warm"
"bass on Zappa's wanted for absolute weight"
"low bass synth notes were more Jello-like"

Then JA's quote usually applies to bass:
"But the amplifier's inability to drive low impedances without what I feel to be excessive levels of harmonic distortion is a matter for concern".—John Atkinson

Get over your self!! Jack L REALY!!

Jack L's picture

Hi

Sorry, I don't want to nickel-&-dime with your nit-picking on who says what !

Instead of criticizing the bass of the hybrid amp under review, why don't you suggest a better design topology in bettering its bass to the amp manufacturer ??? Just like I do sooo frequently in Stereophile ??

Creative recommendation is always over & above mere critiicism, right ?

I used to be an active poster in an audio technical platform focussing on audio electronic design & DIYing experience. Yet the editors always like hiding behind the platform, doing only moderation & deletion. Never be involved to share with the posters.
So cooooold & so clinical !

Unlike Stereophile where the editors are involved positively to share with their posters. This is what they have earned my respect for their humanity insight, namely John Atkinson & Jim Austin. One poster: Glotz I want to mention again for his kindness & generosity in forgiving me for abusing him verbally.

Jack L

Glotz's picture

I think both of you have something to offer and to be honest, I agree with Jack L on this one. George is kinda coming off like this amp maker is a charlatan. No offense meant, George.

I think the argument went off the rails for both posters, and it happens with perceived insults and passionate minds. NBD.

If this component isn't 'utterly high-end", why must we assume that it was the designer's intention. Maybe they wanted this amp to sound that way- for music lovers. I can imagine those that would love this amp for what it is. Accuracy is not the goal of every audiophile.

We all have opinions and they are all valid. George has cool points to add, but perhaps do it in a way that doesn't insult the designer or impugn the reviewer. Rather offer your expertise, as both of you have a good degree of expertise!

Many have accused me of bucking for a Stereophile writing position, and I wouldn't ask for that job even if I could write as well as the editors here. Accusing anyone of the same thing is just off the mark.

We're all eager to offer insights. All of them are valid if done with respect. There are many times I feel for John, Jim, Herb and Ken for putting up with our opinions, passions and misunderstandings. Apologies for my past transgressions, no matter how well intended.

michelesurdi's picture

lots of lipstick on this pig.still as w.c. fields used to say there's a sucker...

cognoscente's picture

I haven't read the above comments and just want to say this: this is one of the best audio designs ever, if not the best. In terms of "the look"! Weldone. Really, no sarcasm, as a designer myself I think "the eye also wants something". In terms of sound, if I understand the review correctly, this amp is more for people who want relaxed easy-going sound, what I always call the warm seventies analog pre-digital sound, instead of over-analytical sound with the last word of detail and tightness. A matter of preference, like everything else. Anyway, a beautiful (dac/) amplifier.

Jack L's picture

Hi

YES, I can't agree more !

We are talking about music enjoyment. So be a music lover rather than a measurement data observer.

Listening is believing

Jack L

PS: "Like everything else" ? How about high fashion... my weakness.

mememe's picture

"Recommended for music lovers". This says nothing meaningful. It's become a worn out catch phrase. So general in meaning - thus lending it to many contradictory interpretations. Reading and looking at the measurements ( not that impressive these days ) plus JA's last comment would keep me away from this product.

georgehifi's picture
Jack L's picture

Hi

So what & how "meaningful" you want ? Please qualify it? Maybe some technical/musical guru somewhere can help out what you want from Ken's review conclusion.

JA's last comment: "But the last amp's inability to drive low impedance without what I feel to be excessive levels of harmonic distortion is a matter of concern."

JA measured3.5W/8ohm 0,1% THD+N & 7W/4ohm 1% THD+N - left channel of this hybrid amp.

Why you get so panic about such "excessive levels of harmonic distortion" ? This is only a bench test report, not realworld situration.

Apparently you don't know the impedance of any realworld loudspeakers NEVER stays at one particualar impedance like a bench test using a resistor, say 8 ohm or 4 ohm. In fact, the impednace swings constantly up & down like a roller-coaster. At certain frequencies due to the box desigh interreacting with the speaker drivers, it can be low low down to 4-5 ohm in micro-seconds but in most audio spectrum it swings up to max 15-20 ohm & the like.

So the loudspeaker impedance for any amp can be summed up as per loudspeaker's NOMINAL impedance: 8-ohm!! So you can relax now !

Even if an amp, particularly all-tube topology, bench measured up to THD 5% but it can still SOUND much much better than a solid state amp measured THD 0.005% (per Daniel Cheever's audio engineering master degree thesis) because our auditory perception works totally different way vs bench tests !!!!

So why panic because of "excessive levels of harmonic distortion" as per JA's bench test report ??

Relax !

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

psyborg06's picture

Can sound better? Because a random graduate thesis says so, based on an extremely dubious test methodology that amounts to, "I controlled it because I said so"? Why must we pay $5000 for excessive distortion? Why do you jump to the defense of a product you have not heard on the basis it maybe could possibly sound better, and that objectively is horribly performing to anyone capable of understanding entry level electronics? It makes no logical sense unless you are incapable of following logic yourself, or being paid to promote products.

georgehifi's picture

Wow!!
Look who's sprouting measurements out of where the sun don't shine all of a sudden. https://ibb.co/qWVpY0Q

Jack L you really need to change mags to Absolute Sounds, before you blow your brains out, they are just what you preach, just "poetic license" that it, without measurements.

Jack L's picture

Hi

You brain so so full of measurement data so YOU are well qualified to get your "data license". Start recuiting your "data licencees" !

Surprised YOU have not gone to persuade J.A. to change Stereophile.com to "Stereodataphile.com" to show off yr obsessed loyalty to J.A. bench measurement work.

Apparently you don't even know subjective reviewing is the policy of Stereophile since day one 60+ years back, with bench measurement as a supplement to the reviews.

You brain is so swollen with measurement obsession that you fancy Stereophile bench measurement can supersede its subjective reviews.

Make up, man!

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

georgehifi's picture

You really have no idea do you, some say "you are from the inside" here, because anything negative said here in the forums that is proved with the reviewers statements and back by JA's measurements, you freak out about. I'm starting to think "you are from the inside" too, or your bucking for a moderator job here, if you are you're going the wrong way to go about it, as they need to be non biased.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Noooo!

YOU & Mememmeme both "freaked out" without knowing the impedance of any loudspeaker being constantly fluctuating as per the music frequencies. Never staying at 8 or 4 ohms which is used for bench tests only!! As I already told mememememe, take the NOMINAL impedance as quoted by the loudspeaker manufacturers.

Learn some loudspeaker ABC !!!

J.A always does the right thing which I never challenge. It is a matter of interpretation ! His measurement was based on 8/4 ohm which is the standard bench test methodology.

Jack L

mememe's picture

The best thing to do for this site and for the rest of us would be to stop reacting to any future posts by Jack. Let's just turn Jack off.

Jack L's picture

.

mememe's picture

The best thing to do for this site and for the rest of us would be to stop reacting to any future posts by Jack. Let's just turn Jack off.

georgehifi's picture

Wouldn't that be nice to have a make member invisible button for him, like SNA Audio forums have.

Cheers George

Jack L's picture

.

hemingway's picture

such a good read

teched58's picture

I see the worst of Jack L's infectious posts have been removed in this thread and in others previously.

However, one wonders why Jack L is never called out and told not to repeat his juvenile and nasty anti-gay slurs.

One further cannot help but wonder if it has something to do with the fact that if Jack L gets mad and leaves there will be few comments anywhere on SP anymore.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I appreciate your support and concern. Thank you.

Stereophile will fare just fine without homophobes. You'll see. And maybe more people will begin to comment on all the fine music we review.

jason

jason

teched58's picture

As I pointed out to Jack in a reply on a previous article, we all, whether we are aware of it or not, have a member(s) of the LGBT community within our extended families. This is a statistical reality.

Perhaps this thought is of help to people who may have a hard time understanding that all people are human beings and should be treated with respect.

ChrisS's picture

...privately, though sometimes the warning is public when there are more than a few participants.

teched58's picture

...to make SP an upwardly moving, vital, online site may or may not have passed, but there is clearly no interest among current management in doing even the most minimal online best practices, which could result in a growing the audience.

(How one grows the number of leads for products which require both a large discretionary income and a credulous approach to electronics is a separate, and much more difficult question, and probably explains why there is no focus on attempted audience growth.)

I guess SP will remain aimed at the same demographuc which the late Roger Ailes once described as his network's target: 55 to dead.

As for Jack, he will not be warned. Indeed, by dint of his being the most prolific commenter on this site, he is the online face of the SP readership.

ChrisS's picture

...the "heated" discussions on this site.

You may not be able to tell the amount of moderation that has gone on.

But they all pass.

ChrisS's picture

...pass on too.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

I'm currently reviewing monoblocks that cost over $100,000/pair. When I asked the distributor/dealer about his customers, he said that the youngest to buy amps in this price range was in his thirties. In the age of tech, a helluva lot of young people make six figure salaries and spend a lot of time at home.

Readers in the U.S. need to remember that the world, and the customer base for high-end products, is far bigger than the U.S. The notion that all audiophiles are older white men is belied by the reality that, in the Bay Area, some of the biggest and most successful audio stores are owned by Black, Puerto Rican, and Asian men.

rschryer's picture

...demographic which the late Roger Ailes once described as his network's target: 55 to dead."

All I could think of when I read that, besides it being funny, was, so what? After all these years, I think it's evident that our hobby is as unstompable as a roach infestation and that there will always be youngsters getting into something as fundamental as sound reproduction.

But even if that weren't the case—even if the concept of good sound was reserved for only those 50 years+—so what? 50+ isn't old. A lot of us will live 30+ years beyond that. That's three decades more, and an amassed amount of experience that is priceless in terms of audio knowledge.

Does audio keep us more vibrant, happier, dancier, and more focused? Of course. Regardless of age.

NeilS's picture

I believe the homophobic slurs were up for days without deletion, and surely warrant public denunciation, not just eventual deletion by JA2.

It does not appear to me to be the first time such slurs have been posted by the individual.

I do think it should be the last.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Thank you.

georgehifi's picture

teched58: "One further cannot help but wonder if it has something to do with the fact that if Jack L gets mad and leaves there will be few comments anywhere on SP anymore."

At least then the thread would be informative and constructive, instead of destructive with him on it.

Cheers George

Indydan's picture

The site will be much better without Jack L.

georgehifi's picture

He's much better suited to Absolute Sounds way of reviewing just with "poetic license" and no measurements, instead of using both and complimenting each other, like done here.
Cheers George

ChrisS's picture

...be tolerated anywhere, no matter what the format.

georgehifi's picture

...be tolerated anywhere.

As important measurements, go hand in hand with the reviewers subjective remarks.
And sometimes if an on the ball reviewer picks something out, the measurements can in many times draw parallels with what he heard.

Cheers George

ChrisS's picture

...equivalent.

ChrisS's picture

...compromised, having different ears, different sources, different systems and rooms make most "suspicious" measurements meaningless.

At best, the piece of equipment under review may be incompatible or not "synergistic" with any one or more of the above.

georgehifi's picture

Are you going to tell JA some of his measurements don't matter a flying ****
That's again is a voodooistic statement.

As any "worthwhile designer" sweats over getting good measurements, to get a good hearing result. And if you find one that doesn't care about what his measurements are, RUN AWAY FROM THAT PRODUCT VERY FAST.

Cheers George

ChrisS's picture

...any of that.

JHL's picture

...is a loaded term not reflective of either the high end public or of these technical devices. It's a projection that measurement dogma is the de facto, a priori standard and any deviation from faith in it is a pertinent, essential fault ... and should not be tolerated.

In other words, you're projecting and providing extremism as enforcement.

For your formulation that measurements speak for sound to hold you'll have to correlate all sound to measurements. You cannot do this and it's never been done.

On the other hand you use conditionals like sometimes and many times, which is reasonable. You'd be correct that measured things can percolate into sound, of course they can. But that conflicts with your attack on these intolerable, to-be-censored anti-measurement voodoo reprobates you're on about.

So pick one. Meanwhile Chris is obviously right. This stuff is complicated.

georgehifi's picture

JHL: "You'd be correct that measured things can percolate into sound, of course they can."

Yes I do and jump on those that "dismiss them", because they probably have no idea how to interpret them into finding answers to why something has a particular sound.
And if you can't understand that, then maybe you are in that same boat with them, and should also move to Absolute Sounds where "poetic license" rules and measurements have no place.

JHL's picture

...that members of your target group don't know enough to interpret the measurements?

From there, how did you legitimately leap to conclude that my purported misunderstanding of *your* fallacy makes me like them and that I should, like you said earlier, be shunned, this time over to another news outlet?

You take a lot of liberties. Do any of them serve the sound of well-reproduced music?

georgehifi's picture

There is always someone that will find any capable tech measured measurement, meaningful.

Cheers George

ChrisS's picture

...that a piece of equipment is competently made.

georgehifi's picture

leap to conclude that my purported misunderstanding of *your* fallacy makes me like them and that I should,

You need to learn to read sunshine, as I said "IF" YOU are like them".

JHL's picture

...reading. Well, let's recap.

To your irresponsible remarks at January 18, 2023 - 3:38pm I offered a rebuttal at January 20, 2023 - 10:29am which went factually unaddressed. To your remark at January 20, 2023 - 11:00am I asked specific, directly-related questions that were roundly ignored at January 20, 2023 - 11:55am. You assured me that the salient take-away was my illiteracy, sunshine, presumably because it must be visibly baked in.

In this postmodern abuse of meaning of yours might you detect a shred of irrationality?

It's clear you want to argue vagaries online but heaven forbid your drive by's conceal comprehensive technical depth. Maybe you're really just a whiz only hiding behind a facade of ignorance.

By all means let me help you draw that out. What a tragedy to audio if not.

georgehifi's picture

JHL:"Maybe you're really just a whiz only hiding behind a facade of ignorance."

That'll be you not me, ignorance or stupidity what ever shoe fits you sunshine, your as bad as your mate Jack L, two peas in a pod. That both can't draw the many parallels between what's measured and heard. Absolute Sounds is your cup of tea, (no measurements there, both of you will be happy)

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