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Feb. 2018
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Harbeth 40.2 with Pass Labs XA100.8

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  • Harbeth 40.2 with Pass Labs XA100.8

    Dear community,

    I'm thinking to try Harbeth 40.2 in my system actually based on Pass Labs XP-30 for the pre-amp and on Pass Labs XA100.8 for the amp. The source is a CD REF 8 Audio Research.
    Our room is medium size ~25 square meters, we are mainly listening jazz but frequently to live music and like realistic dynamics back home.

    I'm wondering if anyone has this combo (Pass Labs XA100.8 w. Harbeth 40.2) or experience with the Harbeth 40.2 driven by Pass Labs XA100.8?

    Another question would be about the HP cables: any best fit with the Harbeth 40.2? I have actually MIT CVT1 both for modulation and HP. I found my favorite modulation cables with Gobel but beleive the HP cables will highly depend on the speakers. Any magic combo with the Harbeth?

    Thanks in advance to share your experience.
    KR Patrick.

  • #2
    It is a good amplifier and Harbeths are an easy load, so there should not be a problem. Fortunately, your room is not that large, because 100 watt per channel is not that much. See here for a demonstration of the need for real power: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRMR9JZ1m0s
    See here for a serious test of a rather more powerful amplifier (the Yamaha P3500S, delivering 2x350 watt) that measures at least as well, for much less: http://www.homecinema-fr.com/forum/a...t30056383.html
    I think it may be instructive to read the threads here on amplifier power (you need a lot) and on amplifier sonic signature (there is none if the amplifier is what it should be: a straight wire with gain). Beefy ordinary copper cable should be perfect. Anything else is either a waste of money, or degrades the signal. There is no magic in electricity.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by willem View Post
      It is a good amplifier and Harbeths are an easy load, so there should not be a problem. Fortunately, your room is not that large, because 100 watt per channel is not that much.
      Consider that the 100W rating is for an 8Ω load and that the rating into a 4Ω load is 200W, so 150W into a typical 6Ω Harbeth load. Also, that rating is for the Class A bias condition.
      As shown in the following test report, the amplifier's maximum output is somewhat greater, on the order of about 200W into a 6Ω load:
      http://www.moremusic.nl/reviews/pass...00-8-audio.pdf
      While the 40.2 is rated to handle 650W, the difference between that and 200W would equate to a difference in SPL of about 5dB, so one would be limited to a peak playback level of about 110dB as opposed to 115dB.

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      • #4
        All, thanks a lot for the very interesting exchange. I will definitely consider your advices.
        In the continuity of this, the Pass Labs XA100.8 is a given since I'm already owning them.
        I understand it might be a better idea to consider the Super HL-5 Plus since the maximum power handling will be 150W in this case with a 6Ω load which should match the Pass Labs XA100.8 specifications if I understood correctly.
        BTW where did you get the maximum continuous SPL of the Harbeth?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Pat68 View Post
          I understand it might be a better idea to consider the Super HL-5 Plus since the maximum power handling will be 150W in this case with a 6Ω load which should match the Pass Labs XA100.8 specifications if I understood correctly.
          I don't think that is the correct inference. Choose a speaker that fits your room, your budget, and your sonic ambition. Once that is done, choose an amplifier that can drive the speakers. The quoted number is nothing other than the maximum power that the speaker can handle, supposedly. In reality, such numbers are pretty arbitrary, because there is quite a difference between a short peak in highly dynamic classical music (you need a lot of power for that) and a lesser but continuous level as with many modern pop recordings (in the long run that can fry a speaker). So power handling is a (vague) ceiling rather than a requirement. For that, you have to look at the number for sensitivity, and both speakers have the same sensitivity.

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          • #6
            Paul Seydor, in reviewing the M40.2s (the absolute sound, January 2017 issue), used Pass Labs X150.8 during part of the listening period. No problems with it. I would choose more than 100 watts myself, but it may be adequate for your listening. In any event, I would encourage you to read the review. It is a rave review of the speaker from beginning to end; up until this review, PS has used Quads as his reference speakers, but has now replaced those with the M40.2s. There is also an interview with AS at the end of the review. (PS also reviewed the SHL-5 plus in an earlier issue and loved it also. You won't go wrong with whichever you choose).

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            • #7
              I have no doubts that this combination will work perfectly. I have M30.1 and Pass Labs XA30.5 which I believe makes a superb system. XA30.5 is rated 30 W into 8Ω load and 60 W into 4Ω load and this output has never been a limiting factor in my 25 square meter listening room. Pass XA amps are known for their tremendous output current capacity (18A in case of XA30.5) and they handle dynamic peaks in recorded music much, much better then their nominal power output might suggest. With your 100 watts monoblocks, I cannot see a problem. Pair them with M40.2 and I believe you will have a system very hard to beat.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ned Mast View Post
                Paul Seydor, in reviewing the M40.2s (the absolute sound, January 2017 issue), used Pass Labs X150.8 during part of the listening period. No problems with it. I would choose more than 100 watts myself, but it may be adequate for your listening.
                Note that the Pass Labs X150.8 rated output in Class A bias condition is 225W into a typical 6Ω Harbeth load, while the the amplifier's maximum output (beyond the point of operation in Class A) is closer to 500W into a 6Ω load.

                Similarly, the maximum output of the XA30.5 [mentioned in the next post] is about 90W into a 6Ω load.

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                • #9
                  hum... I can't follow you now... based on the test performed with the Harbeth 40.2 & the Pass Labs X150.8 and considering the Pass Labs X150.8 is a stereo block working in AB Class and given for 150W into 8 load, what should I expect if I associate the same Harbeth 40.2 with my Pass Labs XA100.8 since they are mono blocks working in A Class and given for 100W into 8 load?

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                  • #10
                    Actually, according to Stereophile measurements, XA.5 will clip at 130W into 8 ohms and at 195 W into 4 ohms (http://www.stereophile.com/content/p...r-measurements). Therefore, with your much more powerful monoblocks, you will for sure have enough power to drive M40.2.

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                    • #11
                      I just checked XA100.8 specs at Pass Labs web site. The amp is rated at 100 W into 8 ohms and 200W into 4 ohms (both values for Class A bias condition). However, it is designed to produce maximal output of 48 Volts. Considering the typical 6 ohms Harbeth load, it can be expected that the maximum power output (when amp will not operate in Class A) will be around 380 W), which is plenty. Go for M40.2

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                      • #12
                        Hi Pat I have had a lot of experience with Pass Labs amplifiers and Harbeth 40.2 loudspeakers, my recommendation to you would be either the Pass Labs X250.8 stereo amplifier or the X260.8 mono block amplifiers. The Pass X Class A/B range of amplifiers work better with the Harbeth loudspeakers.
                        Thanks Jason.

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