Pass Labs X250.8 Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

By |

Pass Labs X250.8 Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

Page 1 Page 2

Pass-Labs-X2508-thumb.jpgWhen I did my review of the Pass Labs XA60.8 Class A mono-block amplifier, which I purchased for my reference system, I shared the numerous reasons why Nelson Pass has legendary status throughout the high-end community. I also gave the details of my long history (more than 30 years now) of owning his amplifiers and enjoying every musical moment that his designs have provided for me. When I was offered the chance to review the new Pass Labs X250.8 Class AB stereo amplifier, which retails for $9,600 [editor's note, 12/14/15: Pass Labs has raised the price of this amp to $10,000], I thought it would be a fascinating experience to hear it in comparison with the more expensive XA60.8 mono blocks, which cost $12,800/pair, in the exact same system.

The specific differences between the new X250.8 and its predecessor, the X250.5, are summed up by this statement by Nelson: "Technically, the new X250.8 has a slightly larger power supply (more capacitance), more output stage (56 output devices versus 40), larger heat sinks, and more bias on the front end and the output stage. There is also a larger percentage of its output stage single-ended bias. The Class A output is larger."

The X250.8 weighs 100 pounds and measures nine inches high by 19 inches wide by 21 deep. Located in the center of the front plate is the large blue light meter, which shows you that the amplifier is running in Class A bias, unless the needle starts to move higher. In my system, no matter how high the volume levels were, the X250.8 never let Class A bias. Underneath, the meter is the on/standby button.

The back panel is where you will find the master power switch, a pair of handles, a pair of single-ended (RCA) and a pair of balanced (XLR) inputs, the IEC power input, and (just like the XA60.8 mono blocks) the finest and easiest-to-use speaker wire terminals. These terminals have large wing nuts that allow you to tighten your speaker wire spades until you hear a clicking sound that lets you know that the connection is secure.

The X250.8 is rated 250 Class AB watts into eight ohms and 500 Class AB watts into four ohms. The first 25 watts are Class A into either ohm rating. Like all Pass Labs gear, the X250.8 is built to a high standard, and its understated but beautiful appearance would produce pride of ownership for anyone who would purchase it.

The Hookup
I placed the X250.8 stereo amplifier in my large reference system as a direct replacement for my Pass Labs XA60.8 mono blocks. The system is composed of the following equipment: the Lawrence Audio Cello speakers on speaker platforms from Star Sound Technology, a pair of MartinLogan Depth i subwoofers, the Concert Fidelity reference preamplifier and DAC-040, the MBL reference 1621 CD transport, the Running Springs Dimitri power conditioner, a Krolo Tomo Audio Rack, Harmonix Studio masters power cords, MG Audio silver reference interconnects, and reference copper speaker ribbons. I did not start any of my serious listening sessions until I put about 100 hours on the X250.8 amplifier because it was a new unit that had been shipped to me for review.

Click over to Page Two for Performance, The Downside, Comparison & Competition, and Conclusion...

  • Comment on this article

Post a Comment
comments powered by Disqus

HTR Product Rating for Pass Labs X250.8 Stereo Amplifier

Criteria Rating







Disagree with our product rating? Email us and tell us why you think this product should receive a higher rating.

Latest Amplifier Reviews

Nov 05
Parasound JC 5 Stereo Amplifier Reviewed Myron Ho says that the Parasound JC5, like its big brother the original JC 1 is a stunning performer with great musicality and none of the sterility of more analytical amps.
Parasound JC 5 Stereo Amplifier Reviewed

Oct 31
Krell Theater 7 Seven Channel Amplifier Reviewed Looking for a great home theater amp that also delivers pure Class A performance up to 100 watts per channel? Myron Ho says the Krell Theater 7 sets a new standard at this price point.
Krell Theater 7 Seven Channel Amplifier Reviewed

Oct 24
Digital Amplifier Company MEGAschino Power Amplifier Reviewed If you're looking for an amp with a very distinctive sound, keep on looking. The Digital Amplifier Company's MEGAschino delivers music straight, no chaser.
Digital Amplifier Company MEGAschino Power Amplifier Reviewed

Aug 29
Aric Audio Transcend Push-Pull Tube Amplifier Reviewed Aric Audio has managed to combine the smooth, natural timbres of SET designs with the oomph you only get from a push-pull design.
Aric Audio Transcend Push-Pull Tube Amplifier Reviewed

Jul 23
Micromega M-150 Integrated Amplifier Reviewed How on earth Micromega managed to cram 2x 150 watts of Class AB amplification and dual power supplies into this slim little integrated amp is beyond us, but it sounds as delicious as it looks.
Micromega M-150 Integrated Amplifier Reviewed