Pass xa160.5 for new Bhk 300

Hi have option for good deal trading my existing pair of Pass lab xa160.5 for pair new Bhk 300’s. Anyone have any experience with both amps ? Will use to run Apogee Diva ribbons ,any thoughts suggestions?

I have. In Gus’s mastering studio upstairs, we made the very same comparison on his speakers. The Pass Labs now sit off in the corner.

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Paul, I’d gladly take those off your hands if you aren’t using them. :smile:

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Those Pass amps are magnificent, as are the 300’s. What are you expecting with the change? Do you feel there’s a deficiency with the XA’s? You have a lot of elegant, class A power.

Just little more power and bass extension ,running Apogee divas with full rebuild run 3-4 ohms ,thinking tube front end of bhk’s will fill my preferences for tube sound I looking for with little extra grunt from hybrid mosfet ss to dive full ribbons,hopefully get more bass extension…had great experience in past with Bat amp that used “n “type mos fet that are used in Bhk,just it little dark
Hoping best both worlds

You might be right. But one thing I’ve learned since using Pass amps and preamps after more than 30 years as a devoted “tube guy”, is that the old “truisms” about tube sound and solid state sound are not necessarily true anymore. It’s mostly about the design, in my opinion.

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Yes so right design is everything…

In any case looking at , in my opinion , the best in business involved in both these amps.

My “Budget Audiphile” 5¢ :

I’ve been a transistor lover since my first crappy sounding Pioneer SX-3700 that my Dad got for me from a questionable source. Then I saved up for a new pair of Adcoms back in '93 (GFP-345P/GFA-545II). A huge jump in SQ for me. The Dealer in my hometown (Hamilton, Ontario) had a Sonic Frontiers Preamp/Amp (model #'s escape me). Played through a pair of Mirage M7si’s which I put on layaway but never completed the payments. I was blown away by both my Adcom pairing and even more so with the Sonic Frontier’s. When I asked the “price of admission”. I stuck with the Adcom’s.

This is 2019 not 1969. With today’s technology and some good old fashioned engineering. So many companies are making Transistor amps the with sound quality of Tubes without hiking your electricity bill every month. Personally, I don’t care what my equipment looks likes (the glow of Tubes) and big shiny objects (Squirrel!).

Turn off the lights, kick back, put some tunes of your liking, a dram or two of single malt, and enjoy the music. Transistors or Tubes.

Of course Bob Carver now builds Tubes amps that use about as much power as certain Transistor amps. But I am so happy with my SGCD/m700’s.

My $0.02 (free advice, so take it for what it’s worth) is to go with the BHK 300’s given that you’re driving Apogees. They will have more “slam” than the 160.5’s which the big ribbons will appreciate. That, and the 160.5 design goes back 7 or 8 years and has been significantly improved upon. The replacement 160.8 is way better, but a lot more $$ than the BHK’s.

Tony Cordesman did a head’s up comparison of the 160.8 and BHK amps in The Absolute Sound and describes the nuances of each:

Yes my thoughts too…,thought about 160.8 but Think Bhk would be better fit


Paul is right. A few months ago when I noticed Gus changed them out, I asked him what he thought about the change. He was blown away at how much better they imaged. It seems the 300s have a happy home in Gus’s beautiful system.

Wow this is amazing to know. I considered the Pass but decided to wait until the bhk 300’s were released and so happy I did. I don’t ever expect to need an amp replacement.

Wow, that’s awesome! So glad to hear you’re loving them.