Pass xa25

Jan 8, 2012
49
12
8
Virginia Beach
#4
Who here has heard this newer Pass amp? Starting to get some great reviews.
I’ve had one paired with Avantgarde Uno XD’s for 6 weeks now. It does not present the same SET midrange but makes up for it with soundstage, speed etc. very non fatiguing at all volume levels. It’s a keeper. Worth noting my speakers are 107bd into 18ohm load so not much juice required.
 

cjfrbw

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
2,252
69
48
Pleasanton, CA
#7
Heard one at CAS last year. I liked it, but not an extensive audition. I also liked the XA30.8, but they were close considering different speakers and show conditions. Based on topology, I would probably go with the XA25. It uses a single pair of hockey puck MOSFET per channel, a clean configuration.

I have a First Watt M2, and a VFET based on the Nelson Pass DIY design given gratis to the DIY community. Of all of them, the VFET is nominally the "best" and is in the tier of the best amplifiers I have heard. The XA25 is a true power doubling amp down to 2 ohms, and I would imagine could drive most reasonably efficient speakers.

I have not heard the more powerful Pass amps at shows that I liked that much, I think the lower power ones and First Watt are the best sounding. One exception was the huge Pass VFET commemorative amp, based on banks of Sony VFETS, that I liked very much.
 

medwardo

New Member
Nov 21, 2016
6
2
3
Seattle area
#9
I've had an XA25 since ~July, driving Wilson Sophia 3s. The Sophias are pretty easy to drive and I've not found any lack in power from the Pass. Broad range of music at moderate volumes usually. Currently running a CJ ET5 preamp.

Just prior I had a few CJ SS (250/ch) and tube (120/ch) amps.

What I love about the little Pass is the clarity, richness/complexity of tone/timbre, as well as more defined bass than the CJs. The Pass makes the CJ amps sound distant, imprecise, and mellow.

XA25 midrange is clean and pure and very, very present, tho' not as voluptuous as the CJs. Some might say that the Pass midrange is emphasized. Treble is very, very clear with lots of detail (more than the CJs) with an emphasis on the attack of the notes, while the CJs were better on the decays I think (some would call those decays "slow").

Bass is more tuneful than the CJs (easier to hear individual notes and different types of bass/strings/finger technique) with better extension. I had no idea the Sophias could produce that much bass for such small(ish) cabinets.

In addition to all of this, the Pass makes the Sophias disappear entirely and provides a detailed, lovely 3D soundstage...a trick that the CJs couldn't do as well. Also, the Pass pulls off the spooky voices in the room (e.g., sounds like real people are talking) that the CJs could not.

IMO, the XA25 is a great value, sounds great to my ears, and fits my limited space. Highly recommended.
 
Sep 29, 2015
97
6
8
Saudi Arabia
#10
I've had an XA25 since ~July, driving Wilson Sophia 3s. The Sophias are pretty easy to drive and I've not found any lack in power from the Pass. Broad range of music at moderate volumes usually. Currently running a CJ ET5 preamp.

Just prior I had a few CJ SS (250/ch) and tube (120/ch) amps.

What I love about the little Pass is the clarity, richness/complexity of tone/timbre, as well as more defined bass than the CJs. The Pass makes the CJ amps sound distant, imprecise, and mellow.

XA25 midrange is clean and pure and very, very present, tho' not as voluptuous as the CJs. Some might say that the Pass midrange is emphasized. Treble is very, very clear with lots of detail (more than the CJs) with an emphasis on the attack of the notes, while the CJs were better on the decays I think (some would call those decays "slow").

Bass is more tuneful than the CJs (easier to hear individual notes and different types of bass/strings/finger technique) with better extension. I had no idea the Sophias could produce that much bass for such small(ish) cabinets.

In addition to all of this, the Pass makes the Sophias disappear entirely and provides a detailed, lovely 3D soundstage...a trick that the CJs couldn't do as well. Also, the Pass pulls off the spooky voices in the room (e.g., sounds like real people are talking) that the CJs could not.

IMO, the XA25 is a great value, sounds great to my ears, and fits my limited space. Highly recommended.
I’ve had my XA25 about the same time.
I’d have to agree with the commentary here. Currently fed by an upgraded PerfectWave DAC directly into PMC Twenty26 and an IDEA Danish subwoofer.
It had too much power despite only 25W rating for the PMC at 86dB/8Ohm.
”The XA25 is a pure Class A design that only uses two transistors per channel, yet it delivers 25 watts RMS at eight ohms and 50 watts RMS at four ohms. However, it can deliver peak current of 10 amp output (200 watt A/B peak into two ohms)” until I added the sub in parallel.
The XA25 delivers a clean clear upper register; in the room vocals and strong bass producer. It’s an amazing value accurate amp. A constant surprise audio experience.
 

Attachments

Likes: 3rdRock
Apr 15, 2017
152
11
18
Cascais
#13
The correct phrase should have been: "The XA25 is a pure Class A design that only uses two OUTPUT transistors per channel" as there are 6 more transistors for each channel.

Perhaps nitpicking but quotes from reviewers should best be described as such.
 
Last edited:
Likes: John57

jahatl513

New Member
Jan 1, 2019
26
4
3
53
Atlanta, Ga
#16
Medwardo: I have almost the same experience. A life long CJ fan with lots of Pre's and Amps. The XA25 in my system since Thanksgiving has since displaced the NEW CJ ART 150 amp and convinced me to sell my Premier 12 mono blocks. Simplistic and brilliant sounding. My Wilson Sophia II"s are driven well with this little amp that "does". I had tried it with the ET-5 and Premier 16LS2, both of which match well with the XA. I picked up a XP-10 to try; loved the interface and so I traded it for XP-20. I am now starting to wonder if the CJ mix was better.
I originally started out wanting to try a First Watt, so I got hold of Nelson who was kind enough to steer me to XA-25 and he said to me, "the XA will love the CJ pre's and works well with it". I have a line on another ET5. My only issue with the ET-5 was the Bass sounded slightly woolly. Could have been the 6922 I had in there but...

Trying the XA changed my perspective on everything. Thanks Nelson!!
 

bazelio

Active Member
Sep 27, 2016
705
147
43
California
#17
There are many similar XA25 stories like this out there. It really does sound like a winner. I've heard it in a couple different show rigs and can certainly understand the appeal. Congrats!
 

medwardo

New Member
Nov 21, 2016
6
2
3
Seattle area
#18
Medwardo: I have almost the same experience. A life long CJ fan with lots of Pre's and Amps. The XA25 in my system since Thanksgiving has since displaced the NEW CJ ART 150 amp and convinced me to sell my Premier 12 mono blocks. Simplistic and brilliant sounding. My Wilson Sophia II"s are driven well with this little amp that "does". I had tried it with the ET-5 and Premier 16LS2, both of which match well with the XA. I picked up a XP-10 to try; loved the interface and so I traded it for XP-20. I am now starting to wonder if the CJ mix was better.
I originally started out wanting to try a First Watt, so I got hold of Nelson who was kind enough to steer me to XA-25 and he said to me, "the XA will love the CJ pre's and works well with it". I have a line on another ET5. My only issue with the ET-5 was the Bass sounded slightly woolly. Could have been the 6922 I had in there but...

Trying the XA changed my perspective on everything. Thanks Nelson!!
I love my xa25. Now, I’m wondering what a 30.8 would sound like...luckily, I don’t have the room for the bigger brother.

Wow, little Pass > ART 150. There is also a cj et7 out now...haven’t heard it...people say it’s better than the et5. Good news is that the new model pushed down used et5 prices.

Right now, I’m running a Phillips miniwatt ec88 in my et5...better, much better bass than the generic 6922. Another good one is 6922 type 3. Both of these are also more durable than the garden variety 6922s. Others have said that tlelfunken nos tubes make the et5 great for rock n roll. My favorite tube for bass w the et5 was the EAT EC88, but can’t find them anymore and they could be microphonic.

Also, the xa25 isn’t great at bass compared to some other amps I’ve owned, but is better than the cj amps in my experience. So, this may be part of what you’re hearing.

Enjoy!
 

jahatl513

New Member
Jan 1, 2019
26
4
3
53
Atlanta, Ga
#19
I love my xa25. Now, I’m wondering what a 30.8 would sound like...luckily, I don’t have the room for the bigger brother.

Wow, little Pass > ART 150. There is also a cj et7 out now...haven’t heard it...people say it’s better than the et5. Good news is that the new model pushed down used et5 prices.

Right now, I’m running a Phillips miniwatt ec88 in my et5...better, much better bass than the generic 6922. Another good one is 6922 type 3. Both of these are also more durable than the garden variety 6922s. Others have said that tlelfunken nos tubes make the et5 great for rock n roll. My favorite tube for bass w the et5 was the EAT EC88, but can’t find them anymore and they could be microphonic.

Also, the xa25 isn’t great at bass compared to some other amps I’ve owned, but is better than the cj amps in my experience. So, this may be part of what you’re hearing.

Enjoy!
Curious about 30.8? I had this back n forth with Nelson Pass and he advised me, and I've read from 30.8 owners who have XA25, that it is wholly a different sounding animal. I've had the old ET-7; there is a new ET-7 s2 and I've had GAT s2. All in all, the ET5 provides 90% the same sound and better build quality with more to offer than ET7 s1 did. There is also a ET-6 replacing the ET-3 now and out for sale. My impression and I did a back n forth with ET-5 and the classic Premier 16LS2 with Pass XP20 and the 20 won, but the Premier 16 had the best bass control over ET-5.
Keep in mind the ART 150SE, is a glorious and way under valued or rated amp; an about to be a Classic Value. XP25, won for a few reasons. Cost vs Value and am getting tired of tubes.
 

medwardo

New Member
Nov 21, 2016
6
2
3
Seattle area
#20
Guess I assume that the 30.8 would be better and have heard it has better bass than the xa25. But I have never heard it.

Yeah, I love my et5s midrange, but I’ve used others that have better bass. It’s all trade offs isn’t it?
 

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