Integrated Amplifiers

Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Stereo Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

Introduction

For nearly forty years, Nelson Pass has been designing simple, high-performance electronics. In 1991, with twenty years experience under his belt, he founded Pass Laboratories which has since become among the most highly regarded companies for high-end power and integrated amplifiers. His design goals couldn't be more clear: power, simplicity and performance. Today, Pass Labs markets two lines of amplifiers, the X.5 (Class AB) and XA.5 (Class A) series. The XA.5 covers power ratings from 30 to 200 watts while the XA.5 amps are available in models from 150 to 1000 watts. The INT-30A integrated amp reviewed here combines an XA30.5 amp and an XP-10 preamp in a single chassis.

Specifications

  • Design: Stereo Integrated Amplifier
  • Power Outut: 2 x 30 Watts RMS into 8 Ohms
  • Inputs: Two RCA Unbalanced, Two XLR Balanced
  • Gain: 26 dB
  • MFR: 1.5 Hz - 60 kHz
  • THD+N: 1% at Full Output
  • Input Impedance: 30 kOhms
  • Volume control: 63 dB Range, 1 dB Steps
  • Dimensions: 7" H x 19" W x 19" D
  • Weight: 60 Pounds
  • MSRP: $7,150 USA
  • Pass Labs

I'll admit it right up front – I'm a digital multi-channel guy. I like music to surround me and I like the clean accurate presentation offered by an all-digital signal path. That being said, I am very aware of the decades of refinement offered by a traditional two-channel analog setup. The designers of products like this have had a tremendously long time to try different approaches to sound reproduction. With that kind of history, it's inevitable that products would have reached some sort of zenith. I'm also experienced enough to know that great specs don't necessarily mean a better sounding product. Numbers don't tell the whole story. Eventually, you have to cast your preconceptions aside and just sit down for a listen.

So with my senses influenced by digitally produced music and speakers all around me, I couldn't wait to see what the high-end two-channel world had to offer. The INT-30A is a simple, almost elemental product. There is no room correction, no tone control, no processing of any kind. Besides attenuation and balance, there is nothing to alter the signal from source to loudspeaker. While I have experienced many two-channel rigs in the past, I had not lived with one in my current environment before. High expectations at the ready! Let's move forward.