PX panel vs Bass Focus?

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  • #173
    MikeB
    Participant

    If you’ve heard both the PX and Bass Panels, how would you describe the differences? For example, how is the bass different? Are there enhancements in frequencies other than bass; perhaps in imaging, soundstage, efficiency etc…?

    #174
    TWB
    Moderator

    I have 2 systems at 2 different locations, but otherwise similar, the Country system includes U-1PX panels; the other (City, smaller room,) U-545 (with Bass Boost.) They are very similar in character. Both very musical and delightful. The Bass Boost provides a nice (6db) boost, but I don’t miss anything when listening to the Country system.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by TWB.
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    #178
    MikeB
    Participant

    Thanks for your comments TWB. Very nice systems by the way. Panel’s the size of Soundlabs are rare, having 2-different systems with them is rarer still, but quite wonderful indeed!!

    For my upstairs surround sound system I compromised by using Martin Logans. In my room, M/L’s smallest floor standers work nicely as sides and the larger panels work nicely as Left and Right. Seeing thorough them is also a plus. But now that the Bass Focus technology is providing smaller panels with comparable big panel sound, the aesthetics of a smaller footprint will probably be quite a bit more palatable.

    TWB, your U1’s (non Bass Focus) are obviously larger than the U545’s. I wonder what the sonic pluses would be (if any) if the U1’s (larger panel) had Bass Focus Technology and it were compared to (the same size speakers) U1’s without Bass Focus?

    I’m asking because I now have a larger room with higher ceilings and am considering replacing my M1PX’s with taller panels and am considering adding bass focus. Hence, I’m wonder what the comparison would be: i.e. same size (type) panels — one pair with Bass Focus the other pair without?

    #179
    chungjh
    Participant

    TWB,

    Are you satisfied with the dynamism and speaker sensitivity of 545 Bass focus in your city system? What is the size of your city room? It looks smaller than your country room.

    #183
    TWB
    Moderator

    The City System is indeed in a much smaller room (13L X 17W x 8.5H), and that is what makes the 545’s work. I have heard them in a room that was too big, and they fell flat, not coming close to delivering what SL’s are capable of. Panel size vs Room size is critical.

    Another factor is power. The larger the panel, the more efficient they are, and thus need less power. MyUltimate-1PX panels were originally powered by Pass Lab X-260.8 (Class A/B) amps and did very well. When I installed the U-545’s in the city, I used a pair of Pass Lab 60.8 amp, and felt they needed more power. I swapped the 260.8’s with the 60.8’s, and everything fell into place. The 60.8’s are enough on the larger panels, and brought the qualities inherent in a pure Class A design, while the more than ample power of the 260.8’s brought the 545’s to life. I suspect that if I were ready to spend the $’s for more powerful Pass Lab XA amps (Class A) I would even be happier.

    Nonetheless, as a music lover, I am extremely happy with both systems. They have subtle differences which I will not try to describe in this post. Both have good dynamics, satisfying bass, and the ability to bring the soul of music (all genres) into my life.

    I should add, that the both systems incorporate extensive use of Stillpoints and Shunyata power products. A major focus on extremely clean power and vibration control has contributed greatly to the resolving power (and bass) of my systems. Attention to room acoustics is critical too. The quality of the source and preamp as well.

    In the end, everything matters!

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by TWB.
    #185
    chungjh
    Participant

    TWB

    Just out of curiosity, if you were willing to spend the $ for your 545 in the city system, which XA would be powerful enough? XA160.8?

    #186
    TWB
    Moderator

    The only way I could answer that question would be to try it and listen. Even then, I would not know if a more powerful would be better. But, at some point, if the music strokes the soul, one has to say they have found the sweet spot. Being only an audiophile, you will never be satisfied. Fortunately, I believe I’m beyond that.

    #187
    chungjh
    Participant

    Does the meter needle in your 260.8 go past the Class A mark? I believe 260.8 is in Class A until something like 16W.

    #188
    TWB
    Moderator

    Yrs it does. When volume is up on demanding passages, the meter needle can move as high as the 2nd S in “PASS”. I wasn’t happy with less power.

    #189
    MikeB
    Participant

    TWB, You mentioned Shunyata power products. Are you using their power cables for your Soundlabs? If so, which ones?

    Speaking of cables, what speaker cables are you using?

    Lastly, thanks for your comments on your two systems.

    #190
    TWB
    Moderator

    TWB, You mentioned Shunyata power products. Are you using their power cables for your Soundlabs? If so, which ones?

    No, power cables to the backplates is the one area I have not treated.Perhaps this might be the next focus. Up to now, my belief has been it doesn’t matter as much as everything else, but I could surprise myself. The next frontier?

    Speaker cables in my country system are Teo, a unique liquid design which greatly improved things when I introduced them several years ago, but have not received my attention since. They are crazy expensive, probably worth it.

    The City system employs 15 year old moderately priced speaker cables by Skywire which do a very good job, but not necessarily SOTA.

    The Country system is in a much larger space with larger panels which results in a much larger soundstage which is delightful. The City system is more intimate. Both are similar in many ways and both are very pleasing; I can’t say one is better than the other. I plan to upgrade the Ultimate-1PX panels to the current sota Bass Focus panels in the near future, and suspect that may tilt the equation. However, I don’t expect the natural character both systems exhibit to change.

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by TWB.
    #192
    TWB
    Moderator

    BTW, as many you may know, I am a Sound Lab dealer (and have been for over 20 years.) It’s because I’m an enthusiast rather than it being a serious business- otherwise I’d be bankrupt! I have been retired since 2003 and operate from my residences. SLOG members are invited to visit. My passion is great music and great sound. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and love of both with other like minded audiophiles. San Francisco has been in the news recently for it’s problems; nonetheless it’s still a great city that has much to offer and worth a visit. If you would like to hear either or both of my systems, you would be welcome. Just send me a PM.

    #193
    chungjh
    Participant

    TWB

    You are using Pass amps for your SL speakers. How would you compare Ayre and Pass 20 preamps for the Pass amps? Ayre is much more expensive.

    #194
    TWB
    Moderator

    The Ayre KXR is indeed expensive, and recognized as a world class preamp. It is superb. The Pass Lab XP-20 has been replaced in the Pass line-up by the XP-22 and other more expensive amps that are more competitive price wise with the Ayre. I have not auditioned them and can not comment. Nonetheless, I am very happy with the XP-20. I am not inclined to do A/B comparisons. If I’m happy with what I hear, I don’t obsess. Undoubtedly, further improvements could be made.

    #195
    TWB
    Moderator

    I should add that the XP-20 is an exceptional value. It can now be found on the used market at absolute bargain prices. Highly recommended!

    Pass Labs XP-20 Preamplifier Review:

    Pass Labs XP-20 Preamplifier Review

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