DS direct to pass labs amplification

Hi all.

I know we have some folks w pass labs gear. Has anyone had a directstream driving pass labs gear direct? Impressions? I currently use my DS hooked direct and I like it. Thx. Tim

For about 6 months, I used my DSD direct to an X250.8. It sounded excellent.

1 Like

I have the DS driving my XA60.5 for years and only occasionally swapped in a preamp. From cheap to fairly expensive. Always went back to direct connection without a preamp. It is hard to describe, but I really love it that way!
Even when I moved all the gear (except the amps) out of the soundstage to the sidewall, which required longer (23ft) balanced connections, the DS didn´t show any weakness. It just delivers.

1 Like

Thanks guys. I’m debating buying the dream amps used - or to consider a pre plus lower tier amp. I do have another decent pre but it is not xlr

I find my direct setup today has a quieter background. Possibly because I am using the xlr.

I view the amp as the foundation of the system.

I drove Pass XA60.5 direct from DirectStream Sr for quite some time. Sounded excellent! Adding a BHK pre did make it sound even better, but it’s not that it sounded bad without it.

I would definitely recommend going down the route of getting you dream amp and drive it with the DSS. You can always add a pre down the road as money becomes available (although you might find that you are perfectly content with the DSS as the input to the amp!)


Well right. And I do have an upgraded Cary slp98p I can throw in just to try. I’m really contemplating used xa160.8s driving my Maggie 20.7.

The Cary SLP98 is one of those “forever” pieces from the brain of Dennis Had.
It would be a wonderful match for any Pass amp.
And don’t make the mistake of assuming that XLRs automatically sound better, especially if your interconnect run is shorter than a few feet. I currently have no balanced cables anywhere in my system and it’s dead quiet.


Ok this is great to know. Maybe I have a tube going on me. Or maybe the nos rca 6sn7sare too dark. I love the Cary actually and fret that I’m not using it today. But I did like the direct a bit better. Literally my amp bumps 6db going direct xlr as does the DS. So I will definitely check it out. It could be cable diffs too

If they’re still available, the Zalytron NOS 6SN7s from Upscale Audio are my favorite version of that tube, and I’ve tried a bunch (in my Schiit Freya+ preamp for my office system.)

I don’t have any experience with Pass amplifiers and my DS Sr. DAC.

However, FWIW, I used the DAC as a preamp to drive my 500wpc mono amplifiers directly for many months and was very satisfied with the pairing. However, in my room, I prefer the overall presentation with the benefit of Anthem Room Correction (ARC) software, which is available through my AVM 50v 2 Pre-Pro. If it weren’t for ARC, I would still be listening to stereo recordings sans pre-amp.