RMAF12: Sony Style and Pass Labs







Prototype loudspeakers from Sony? With over/under super-tweeters? That’s cool! That’s … style? Style … Sony style. Uh oh.

Some very interesting combos here — and aside from the EMM Labs SACD player, some actually reasonably priced gear. Not like “affordable” in a way that’s going to keep the Affordable$$Audio guys from crying foul, but still. Not bad.

Oh, and the sound? Very much the opposite of bad. I actually really liked what I heard here — wish Sony had more details to offer on the new loudspeaker, but I suspect that we’ll be hearing more at CES. While I was in the room, the EMM Labs unit was pushing the tunes, but I’m told that DSD files came courtesy of the Mytek for most of the weekend.

I’ve been nothing but impressed with Pass Labs, and here, their entry-level amp was very ably throwing sound around, with deep bass and great treble extension. Or was that the loudspeaker? Or the cleverly put-together dual chassis Pass preamplifier? No idea, and I didn’t much care — I’d be very happy to play with this rig here at Chez Moi. Sony is really on to something — Mal tells me it’s probably time to get over the whole Sony-isn’t-audiophile thing, and he’s absolutely right. Regardless of the source, the Pass + Sony combo does seem to be a great matchup. Looking forward to hearing a lot more from (and of) Sony.

  • Pass Labs X150.5 stereo amplifier: $5,500
  • Pass Labs XP20 dual-chassis preamplifier: $8,600
  • EMM Labs XDS1 SACD/CD player/DAC: $25,000
  • Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC: $1,695
  • Fosgate Signature phono preamplifier: $2,499
  • Clearaudio Innovation Wood Compact w/Clarify tonearm $8,500