Integrated Amplifiers

Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Stereo Amplifier



I decided up front to make this strictly a two-channel review. Though I have an excellent sub in my theater, an SVS PB-12 Plus, I wanted to use the INT-30A the way it was intended – as a high-end two-channel component. As you'll see in the next section, I had no need at any time for a subwoofer.

Pass Labs recommends maximum ventilation for the INT-30A so I set it up on a small pedestal on the floor between my two main speakers, Axiom M60 full-range towers. I used two different sources during the review, a standard Oppo BDP-83 and a Marantz SA-8260 SACD player. These were both connected via RCA cables made from Belden LC-1 with Taversoe Crimp connectors by Blue Jeans Cable. The speakers were hooked up with Belden 5000UE (12 AWG) cable and compression screw-type banana plugs also from Blue Jeans.

Following the instructions in the well-written manual, I first plugged the INT-30A in with nothing else connected and switched on the power supply to charge the capacitors. The manual says your lights will dim for a moment and sure enough, they did! Despite the amp's small power rating, there is obviously some serious beef in that heavy chassis. After that, I disconnected the power and made all the remaining connections.

Turning on the power for the first time, I noted the display showed a volume level of zero. I quickly discovered this is standard operating procedure for the INT-30A. You will have to adjust the volume to your desired level every time you power on. This does eliminate the danger of volume spikes should your source already be playing when you power up the amp.

At this point, the manual says "You are ready to play music." and "With any luck, you can now enter that blissful state of musical nirvana, and we won't expect you back for a while." As you'll see in my extensive listening section, truer words were never spoken.