Interconnects for Pass Labs X260.8

What balanced interconnects are you using with your X260.8 or X350.8?

Looking to potentially move on from my Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper XLRs. While they worked wonderfully with lower power amps I had with their plump bass, including the XA30.8, I find them (suspicion at this point) to be too much of a good thing with the X260.8.
What ICs would have the same natural tone but have better clarity and faster bass?

Gear (in my profile as well):

Bricasti M3, Wilson Sabrina, Pass XP22 preamp, X260.8 amps, Audience AU24SX speaker cables. Amps plugged into outlet on a 20A dedicated circuit.

Thanks in advance!


I have a Pass Labs 250.8 powering Wilson Sabrina X's.  I use Shunyata Alpha v.2 interconnects from the ARC REF to the ampler and Shunyata Alpha v.2 speaker cables.  The sound fantastic with Pass and Wilson

I would suggest continuing on with the AU24sx. Their neutrality and transparency always amaze me. I have not heard the Frontrow cables yet but have been told by friends that they do everything the AU24sx does but with even better clarity and transparency. 

I used to use Transparent Ultra between my Pass 350 and Sonus Faber before I moved to tube amps.

@moto_man I’ll add the Shunyata to the list. Although I wasn’t in love with their Alpha V2 power cord. May be the interconnects are better. 
@duckmanst3 yes the AU24SX are on the list. 
@jjss49 thanks but hard to imagine these cables approach the resolution if the AZ Absolute Copper. I swapped the DAC to pre with AZ Silver Ref II and it toned down the heavy bottom end so may be you’re onto something with your silver recommendation. 

@audiophile1, I am surprised that you did not like the Alpha v2 power cord.  In my system, they made an audible difference, depending on what was replaced.  For example, on the Pass, going from an Audience Power Chord to the Alpha was a minor improvement, I thought, although an improvement.  However, going from the stock power cable on my ARC REF 6 was a startling improvement.

How do you like the Pass XP22?  That or something similar is on my list if I ever decide to go back to ss from my ARC REF 6 . . .

@moto_man when I tried the Alpha V2 it was on the XA30.8. It did something strange to the high frequencies that irritated me. I was planning on replacing the AQ Hurricane with it and kept the Hurricane. However, the AQ H didn’t work as well with the X260.8 with its big full sound so who knows…synergy is a strange beast.

I like the XP22. I upgraded from XP12 and was actually debating between Ref 5SE, Ref 6 or XP22. Couldn’t convince myself to go back to tubes yet. The 22 is quiet, dynamic and still remains very natural sounding. However, the Ref should be a great combo with Pass amp. I used Ref1 with X250.5 years ago and it was phenomenal. 

@audphile1, very strange.  I like the HF with the Shunyata.  Since we both use Pass amps and the Sabrina X speakers, I would have thought you would have a better experience.  I wonder if room acoustics  have anything to do with your experience.

I love my ARC REF 6 in my system, and have no interest in changing it, at least at this time. It has great synergy, and I like it even better than going direct from my MSB DAC to the Pass amp, which is no slouch either. I do not really like the hassle of tubes (when they become one, that is) and of course, I am keeping an eye on what is going on at ARC right now.  However, I will not be getting rid of the ARC until it dies a sad death and at that point, I will be looking for a "tubey-sounding" SS pre.

@jjss49 thanks but hard to imagine these cables approach the resolution if the AZ Absolute Copper. I swapped the DAC to pre with AZ Silver Ref II and it toned down the heavy bottom end so may be you’re onto something with your silver recommendation.

in my experience well made well balanced cables of silver or silver plated copper invariably provide a little more air and sheen up top compared to straight 100% copper cables... this assumes the maker is not doing some tricks with insulation/dielectric or shape of the cable (like nordost ribbons) to suppress the bottom end and fool the ears into thinking the copper cables are super resolving up top

of course, as always, ymmv

I was going to suggest the AZ Silver Refs, but you’re obviously already familiar with them so is there something holding you back from trying them between your pre and amp?  

@soix yes…I don’t have the XLR shorting silvers are RCAs. So I’m only able to try them between dac and pre

@moto_man mine are actually the original Sabrinas. But I don’t think that matters much. I might give the alpha v2 power cords another shot. These X260.8 amps are drastically different from the 30.8. They have full control of the speakers. And the bass now is much better than it was with the 30.8. I’m starting with the XLRs first. 
And yes, I’m tweaking the room acoustics to tune the room to these amps. It’s a process…

Why not just try these Silver Refs, and if they don’t work out just turn around and sell them for little/no loss.  That’s what I’d do anyway   Best of luck.

@soix that price is not right. Anyway…thanks! 
I’ll get the pins from Pass this week and try the RCAs. 

Putting a list of candidates to borrow from the cable co. 

I agree that price is ridiculous, but it might be worth offering $500 and see what happens cause he ain’t selling those ICs for more than $600.  No way no how and he’ll just eat them at his asking price.  Might be worth a shot.  Look forward to hearing your thoughts either way.  I find the Silver Refs to sound nicely detailed with tight bass yet still possessing natural tonality, especially for silver ICs.  That’s a signature trait of all the AZ cables I have IMHO.

I use Transparent Audio Super + between my Pass 250.8 and Sasha 2, sounds great, a nice upgrade over Audioquest I had previously. 



I would describe Transparent’s sound as transparent… I am serious. Over the last fifty years of my pursuit of the high end, in the beginning I needed really warm Cardas because my electronics were harsh and noisy (cheap to mid-level audiophile). Then as I acquired better sounding equipment Transparent became the very best wires. I have all Audio Research equipment now and with the exception of the power cord for my amp, all are contemporary Transparent Ultra. If you want the sound of your components to come through, this is the right product. If your components are not up to the standards you wish… then Cardas.

@ghdprentice I would like to believe my components are on a decent level. Every change in cables, components, speaker positioning and configuration of acoustic panels results in audible changes. I think this system reached a level where some of the colorations that were welcomed before to hide faults somewhere upstream or in a room are detrimental now as the effects just seem to prevent the components from shining.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions so far. You’ve inspired me to first work with what I have. I’m still planning to try different cables though but so far…
Here are some of the challenges I am up against…

1. Relatively small room

2. Amps that have full control of speakers that are capable of resolving minute details and are able to fully load the room.

I’ve made some progress and now achieved more focus and precision in the presentation. All I did was placed GIK Acoustics 244 panels on the side walls behind the speakers all the way up to the corner Tri Traps.
That gave me a bit of tighter bass removing some of the excess in bottom end. This also increased clarity. I then moved the speakers slightly closer together by increasing the distance to side walls by 1/4” for each speaker and that improved the resolution and focus even further. The toe in crosses the axis about a foot behind my head. The soundstage now is wider, I hear better details and the vocals are even more focused and pulled more into the room.
There’s probably still rom for more. improvement. Next step is to hang two GIK Acoustics 242 panels on the ceiling to further reduce the reflections and whatever bass waves that muddy up the presentation. Hopefully!

It’s pretty amazing how a change of amplifier can throw everything off balance! And it’s just moving up the Pass line. The X260.8 are so full sounding that it requires reconfiguring room acoustics and speaker placement. Live and learn!


@ghdprentice and @speedthrills I’d love to try Transparent cables. Doesn’t look like the cable co is a dealer though. I’ll call and ask. Once I get the room to gel with this system I’ll look into it.

I would use whatever the roadies use at concerts or better yet, what the people in recording studios use.



When you move from copper to some of the blended metals you’ll notice an immediate increase in resolution, and the bass will tighten up and won’t be as “plump” I would recommend analysis plus silver apex for a well defined sound and bass at a great value. If you can spend more then go for Nordost. I’ve used several different brands of cables and have settle on these two as working the best in my system. I use a Nordost Valhalla from my amp to pre, an analysis plus golden oval from one of my DACs to the pre, and an analysis plus silver apex to my network player. Cables are very subjective and a matter of taste so it will be what you like in your system. Also there are many others that are fine and I would recommend like siltech….but again it’s what works best in your system. However, if you’re moving up from copper ICs it’s going to have a big impact on the sound in your system and open up a whole new world for you. Good luck. 

@dinov thanks…adding Analysis Plus to the list. Planning to try Nordost Frey 2 and Tyr 2 as well. The Valhalla 2 is out of reach. 

@firstonetallguy good cables. I used them years ago but they don’t unlock the full potential of these components. When I upgraded to AZ the difference was not small. That was when I had X250.5 and Dynaudio speakers. That system was on a level or few below what I’m running currently. 

I run Iconoclast UPOCC Gen 2 from my M3 to A Coda CSiB integrated. It will run you 2k but they will pay shipping both ways with a 30 day trial. A big step above Audience SX which it replaced. You have to get 5 ft though as it is a stiff cable. They will custom make the orientation for you. 
Once you have it you can’t go back. Townshend makes a real good XLR for about 800 if that’s more budget friendly. 

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I have a pair of Pass X260.8's driving a pair of Wilson Sasha DAWs.  My preamp is an ARC Ref 5SE.  I use Purist Audio Design Corvus power cords and speaker cables with the amps.  A Purist Dominus XLR connects the preamp to the amp.  All Purist Audio Design power cords and cabling in my system.  

I had to move up the Purist Line from the lower middle to the top middle and top level cables once I got the Sasha DAWs.  I would describe Wilson speakers as perfectly clear glass windows looking back into your system.  Any weak link in the component chain will stand out- especially cables.  I've wanted a pair of Wilsons for decades but beware- cables are just as important as any other component in your system with Wilsons.  Required some unplanned budgetary adjustments...

I have never had a chance to hear Transparent cabling.  I heard the upper end of the AQ line with Wilson speakers when I auditioned them at the store.  Those are not bad sounding cables either but I think the Purist line- the upper end bests them.  The bass and clarity is spectacular without even a hint of harshness in the mid highs.  The imaging is spooky.  Hard to listen in complete darkness.  It feels like people are moving around in the room.

Same experience as the OP with the room.  The GIK bass traps and absorbers were a key addition to my system.  



Good to see you here as always. Nice update! Audioquest (AQ) is not a sonic match for ARC/Wilson Audio as those speakers are voiced with Transparent Audio cabling at the factory. I have always wanted to audition P.A.D. cables/cords.


Happy Listening!

@benzman thanks! Will read up on Iconoclast. 

@tonywinga hey Tony. I was wondering when you will move up from those PAD Museaus interconnects. LOL. Yea the Wilsons are a clear lens into what’s going on upstream. Still experimenting with speaker and panel placement. Making small changes and evaluating. Moving speakers no more than an inch at a time. Listening for at least a few hours before judging the change.
Wilsons are extremely sensitive when it comes to placement.

I know. I had to work up the nerve to spend the money for the cables. Very good but not cheap.
The Wilson’s have one spot in the room +-0.5”. When you find the spot you will know. Lesson learned- distance between the speakers is crucial to get the bass right. Centerline distance of the speakers for me is at 9’2”. Room width 17’.
No matter where I stand or sit in the room the bass, the sound does not vary. I’ve never had a speaker do that. Sure, soundstage, images are best at center, 1.2 times speaker distance out.

i kept promising my wife I was done.  This time I really am.  The system rocks!

A quick update -

I moved the speakers a bit more closer together about an inch total. That tightened up the bass, pulled the vocals a bit more into the room and the layering, depth, width and the focus of images in the soundstage went up a notch as well.
I have Audience F3 power cords on the X260.8 now that I purchased in the interim and all if these changes I’ve made resulted in a good improvement. Will continue working on it.
From the cables standpoint, planning to try Analysis Plus Silver Apex and Kimber KS1126 on loan from The Cable Co. Both sets are silver plated copper. Going to compare them to my Acoustic Zen Absolute Copper. Will post when I do some listening.

Running an X250.8 with an XP20; very pleased with Acoustic Zen Matrix XLR interconnects; I also use Acoustic Zen Hologram speaker cables. 


I know you said the Valhalla 2 was out of reach, how about used? The Tyr 2 is a close second.

The Valhalla 2 transformed my McIntosh system. The most improvement was from my source DAC into the preamp. Mac is known for being a little light on top but with incredible bass/midbass. The Valhallas have greatly improved the highs while tightening up the bass. The midrange has significantly more clarity. The system is complete from top to bottom now which is not usually how McIntosh performs. 

@zavato I’ve had Matrix. Great cables but they’re warmer than my Absolute Copper. 

@jeffreyw evaluating Tyr 1 and 2. They’re great! Kimber KS 1126 is a close second with a bit more meat around the bone but not quiet there with top end compared to Nordost.

Trying all these different cables, I have confirmed the Absolute Copper is not working as well in this system as they had in my previous setup. There’s just no synergy. I’ve selected my next interconnects. AZ cables are looking for their new home.