All ARC vs All Pass Labs vs All CJ system compare

Has any body compared a complete analog set from each of the manufactures?

Have they all ended up evolving to the same sound profile

clear, noise free, detailed, wide soundstages ?

I have a friend with an all ARC and my bet is the sound profiles/house are very close 

just wondering , so many options , so little time, not enough money



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If you look at the designs, then you can have a general idea why they sound different.  SS cannot produce the "tube" sound sonically.  So you are better telling us what sound you prefer and then we can recommend the manufacturer offers that sound.  PLUS everything can be modified to change to the sound you prefer for not that much money.

Happy Listening.

Is a national GPS day?

As far as all ARC and all Pass Labs, different sound. I assume we’re talking about modern ARC and latest Pass gear. So it’s tubes vs. solid state. It’ll boil down to your personal preference. ARC, especially their Ref series, tend to sound big, I would say their sound is a bit bigger than life. Very engaging and dynamic with great imaging and soundstage. Pass Labs will give you slightly more realistic view, lower noise floor, but a presentation that is just as engaging.
By the way, combining ARC tube preamps with Pass amps produces excellent results, at least to my ears, in my system.
I haven’t heard CJ in a while so I can’t say how their full stack compares to ARC or Pass.

my take on these brands’ sound (at their higher/highest levels) is closer convergence between c-j and audio research and less close convergence to pass labs


big boy amps from cj and arc now are based on the kt150 power tube which has tremendous linearity and power (and sonic signature, when using similarly high grade output transformers)

but the pass amps are a totally different topology, using power mosfets and no output transformers, so while the tonality may be ’more similar to tubes than in the past’, in actual listening they are not really that close

the arc and cj amps take advantage of their tubed input stages (arc does some fet coupling in their driver stage, but still uses a tubed input stage) and pass of course does not, thus the pass will have in relative terms, a leaner, less diffuse, more exacting sonic signature than the ’modern tube’ sound from the other two, especially noticeable through the treble and mids

where there is more convergence than ever is in bass response, where the kt150-powered amps are better than ever in bass control (think 80, maybe 90% of behemoth solid state) but the highs and mids will still be portrayed rather differently

’converging’ does not equal ’converged’ in my view... not that close really in real listening