Pass Labs XA-60.8 vs X-260.8

As I have indicated on another thread, I am ready to upgrade my amplifiers and have already placed my name on a no-obligation waiting list for the XA-60.8’s with Mark at RenoHiFi.

I am still curious if anyone has had any experience with both of these amps i.e. what I might gain/lose from going to the X-260.8’s vs the XA-60.8’s.

Thanks in advance.

Present setup:
• PSAudio Perfectwave SACD Transport
• PSAudio Perfectwave Directstream DAC
• PSAudio BHK Signature Preamplifier
• PSAudio Stella M700 mono amplifiers
• REL S/3 SHO subs (pair)
• Sonus Faber Olympica Nova 3 speakers

Room size approx. 19’ x 12’
Speakers are setup on the long wall (19’ wall) spaced about 8’ apart. Listening position is roughly the same dimension from the speakers.

I would just rely on Mark for that information.
But in general terms:
MY preference is always for Class A, although you’ll never get the X260.8s to leave Class A bias unless you like to listen at damaging levels. And if so, it won’t matter for long.
The XA60.8s will output 120 watts per channel into your 4 ohm speakers. And they will far exceed that as you get closer to1% distortion.
What are you going to do with the 520 watts/ch from the X260.8s?
For the same money you could be very happy with an XA-25 and a ‘demo’ XP-22 preamp.


Thanks @RonP. Just wanting to make sure that the XA-60.8’s will be more than enough to drive my speakers. I don’t usually listen at high volumes. The highest I have heard (this is using an iphone SPL app) is around 85~90 db with peaks hitting above 95 db.

The X-260.8 is an A-A/B class amplifier. It is deeply biased and class A up to 34 watts. I don’t own either of these models specifically, but my X250.5 is a good representation I believe of the X model A-A/B approach in general. It has all the attributes of class A, grainless, pure midrange up to the transition point, but isn’t the last word in dynamic punch. That’s what the switch to A/B above 34 watts addresses. And what I hear with my X250.5. So, you buy low end drive drive and dynamic punch, but sacrifice pure class A above 34 watts compared to the XA-60.8’s. After many years of experience with pure class A and A/B, the general traits are the same. Great midrange purity up to rated power but somewhat lacking in bottom end slam for class A, not quite the same midrange liqudity with class A/B, but better dynamics and slam because of higher power. Class A-A/B straddles that fence perfectly and that’s what the X-260.8 represents. What balance of strengths do you value most?

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@owlsalum Thanks for your insight. This is a part of what I am trying to get a handle on. And then of course there is the heat issue though secondary.

As @RonP suggested, Mark at RenoHiFi would have some input.

I went down the exact same path about a year ago. Ended up with 260.8s. Don’t think there’s a wrong answer. I’ll never know if my decision was optimal and it doesn’t matter. I think my amps are special, bet the 60.8s are special too.


That’s a pretty good summary

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You can get great dynamics with class A, you just have to get one with a giant power supply and more output power, which means spending a lot of money and putting
up with the heat.

What would you consider as sufficient output power for a Pass Class-A in order to have good dynamics?


150 watts or more

With what speakers?

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Watts ain’t much good if the amp can’t deliver the high amperage/current needed to drive large woofers to achieve dynamic slam. High speaker efficiency helps to have the ability to play loud but without a doubling of current into lower ohms… dynamics can be curtailed.

Depending on “everything” the XA60.8 would be a good all around choice. There’s not many speakers it wont drive with authority. If they were available when I was shopping I would have bought a pair. No regrets on the XA160.8’s that I ended up with though. :grin:


FR30 Aspens

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At 120 watts per channel into 4 ohms, I’d agree with @Baldy about the XA60.8.
But I’m a believer in system synergy. Why not BHK 300s or 600s? Surely that’s what those speakers were voiced with, no?

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Probably less denero too. Either would be a great choice and as you say they are a proven combo. My 300’s haven’t found anything they cant drive.

Right now I have them pushing my Gershmans which are 84db@1m so a relatively tough drive.

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I’ll bet if you give them a call they will put a nice package price together for you with speakers and amps. Especially if you have anything to trade.

I have the BHK 300’s as well as the preamp. Very ‘truthful’ and engaging combination - Revealing, dynamic, and non-fatiguing.

Having said that, reading so many accolades about the Pass’ designs, I’d like to audition their Class-A pre- and monos.

I wanted the full Class A design without the hassle of tubes (early onset makes me keep lists everywhere) and Pass quickly rose to the top of the list of Class A amps completely overbuilt and without tubes. They meet all of these requirements with ease. The 160’s are around 140 lbs each if memory serves me right. No regrets with the 300’s or XA160.8’s

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With regards to the post, I had an email conversation with Desmond Harrington at Pass Labs. Here are some of his comments.

“The basic difference is in depth, layering and warmth. The XA60.8 being a Class A amp has better qualities in those areas. The X260.8 which is an AB amp has more power, is a little more dynamic and a little more neutral and articulate. Both are great amps.”

“ I have very little doubt that the XA60.8 will drive your speakers to play as loud as you might want. If depth, layering and warmth are critical to you, I would go with the XA60.8.”