Stellar M700 for McIntosh XRT30 bass section?


Currently I have this system:
Directstream DAC with bridge -> BHK Signature Preamplifier -> Pass Labs XA200 monoblocks -> Legacy Audio Focus SE.

I have an issue with dynamic range as I think - at high volume levels I hear some compression and distortion.

I decided that my speakers can’t provide the sound that I want and want to upgrade them to the used McIntosh XRT30 - a giant line array seems to be able to provide great dynamic range.

But I’m afraid that Pass Labs XA200 haven’t enough horsepower to drive both bass and mid/high sections of the speakers.

Is that will be good idea to drive mid/high section with the Pass Labs and get Stellar M700 monoblocks for the bass?

And after all is McIntosh XRT30 good choice for upgrade from Focus SE?


What a great combination of kit…! Great bang for the buck in every case, IMO…

I am no expert, but I tend to think of “compression” and “distortion” as having disparate potential origins. With regard to compression I think about recording quality and resolution – each of which tends to be a function of the quality and engineering of the source material/recorded media. With regard to distortion, I tend to first suspect damaged speakers, underpowered amplifiers or over-driven speakers.

I think your amplifiers are supposed to be a pretty high-current design. Subject to the manufacturer’s power recommendations and the current delivery comparison b/t the Pass and the PSA amplifiers, I would think you would want to apply the most “horsepower” to the lower frequencies and get something with a reputation for great resolution and “smoothness” to drive the higher frequencies.

Before doing any of those things though, I suggest you experiment with biamping and/or feeding your Legacy’s more power. They are purported to benefit from lots of power and/or biamping.

For example (from their excellent manual – have you read it?):

Your Legacy speakers are designed to take advantage of “high-powered” amplifiers, so don’t be afraid to put them through their paces.

How much is too much power? Rarely is a drive unit damaged by large doses of music power. More often than not the villain is amplifier clipping distortion. Even through decades of refinement, loudspeakers are still notoriously inefficient transducers, requiring huge amounts of power to recreate the impact of the live performance. Typically less than 1% of electrical power is converted into acoustic output. (For example, an omnidirectional transducer with an anechoic sensitivity of 90 dB @ 1w/1m has a full space efficiency of only 0.63%)


Hi there, I am currently using the Legacy Audio Aeris speakers which is a step up from the Focus SE, I will say that the more power the better. I am running a pair of Parasound Jc1’s to the upper end of the speakers and the are internally powered by the built in amps of the dual 12 inch subwoofers. The Jc1’s work really well with Aeris with incredible midrange and mid bass. That being said I am looking to replace them, and will be ordering a pair is M700 this week from PS Audio, my biggest issue with JC 1’s is the amount of heat they produce, as I’m actually using 3 of them for the L/C/R. They are located up front and I had to move my subs to the sides and I can’t get the dual subs to blend with my main front Aeris speakers. I will post my thoughts on the new m700’s when I get them installed and burned in.

This will be fun to hear your feedback! I had a customer a while back who was running a pair of the IRS Betas. Woofer section is passive. They upgraded to the M700s for the woofer section and absolutely loved the upgrade! Plenty of power from these guys when demanded! Not much heat either.

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Thanks, good to know!
But I find out that there will be a gain mismatch with my Pass Labs XA200 - it’s have 26db gain and m700 have 30db.
Did your customer have a gain match with the high frequency’s amp?

Gosh, that’s a good question. If I remember right, he was using a tube amp for the highs and mids, and the gain structure was close enough to the M700s that there wasn’t a noticeable difference.