"Amplifiers – pure and simple"
Some 35 miles northeast of Sacramento, California, lies Pass Laboratories. From here, come some of the best amplifiers the world has ever heard.
About the XA30.8
An exceptional stereo power amplifier on many levels. This is a fabulous class A machine that really delivers the type of sound quality that lovers of class A can't live without – and honestly, nor can the rest of us once you spend some time listening!
Using high-biased MOSFETs to provide higher-power class A operation, with direct-coupled front-end circuitry for exceptionally high stability and larger, more robust heats sinks similar to those of the larger .8 amplifiers, the XA30.8 is a very robust design for this level of Class A operation. The upshot is that with what sounds like a modest 30W power rating (provided it's mached with appropriate speakers), this amplifier will happily rock-out all day. In our view the XA30.8 represents a value high-point in the Pass range.
To really understand this amplifier, you need to study the history of Pass development. And we don't intend to do that here! Suffice to say that the 30.8 is an iteration of earlier models with more output devices and a beefed-up power supply. Again the design employs all descreet components in the gain sections, and produces more class A power than it's equivalent predecessors.
The way this amplifier produces it's output is of course, pretty power hungry and creates a fair amount of heat. The nature of Class A means the output stage is always conducting current, hence that rather large idle power consumption figure of 370W, and in order to keep everything from spontaniously combusting, those output devices have to be bolted to lots of rather karge heatsinks.
Class A stereo powe amp
Frequency Response 1.5 Hz – 100 KHz
Power Output (8 ohm) 30W
Input Impedance SE 50 KOhms /Bal 100 KOhm
Damping Factor 150
Power Consumption @ Idle (Watts)370
Dimension (W x D x H)(In.)19 x 21.25 x 7.5
Matching & Setup
With its hefty power supply and large heatsinks, this power amp is no lightweight. It requires a good robust support, and may be best sat on its own dedicated amp stand (which really looks great too). A high quality mains lead will often pay dividends too with this very transparent sounding amp.
A very important consideration here though is speaker matching. Clearly your speaker load and efficiency needs to be within the parameters of say, at or near 8 Ohm impedance and an eficiency of 90dB or more. At these sorts of figures this amp will deliver tons of drive and drama, and fill a pretty big room to boot. But the real requirement is speaker quality. Now, whilst an average 30W class A amp will be great to drive efficient budget speakers, or even home builds, this would be missing the point here. Genuinely good speakers at, or even well above the price point of this amplifier, are the natural partners to release the magic that a Pass class A amp is capable of.