Integrated Amplifiers

Pass Labs INT-30A Integrated Stereo Amplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

Physically, the INT-30A is an imposing component. It's far from the average box that graces most equipment racks. The monolithic faceplate is a solid, half-inch thick aluminum plate with its only feature a milled channel running from side to side. This channel houses buttons for power, mute, the four input selectors and an IR sensor. On the far right is a large metal volume knob. The luminescent blue display in the center shows the active input and volume level for each channel. The volume is shown in absolute values and always starts at zero when the amp is powered on. Adjusting the balance control on the remote biases the level to either side.

The rest of the chassis is painted black. The sides are large cooling fins extending from front to rear. They are connected to the amp's output devices and get quite hot after a long listening session. The rear panel has a full compliment of analog jacks. Inputs 1 and 2 can be driven as single-ended or balanced with either RCA or XLR connectors. Inputs 3 and 4 are RCA only. Also included are preamp outputs, again offering both single-ended RCA, or balanced XLR connections. Speaker terminals are beefy binding posts that can accept bare wire or spade lugs. In order to comply with regulations in some countries, Pass Labs has prevented the use of banana plugs by filling the centers with a plastic insert. Since I didn't want to cut up my already terminated cables, I removed the inserts. As this was a somewhat difficult procedure, I recommend having your dealer do this for you if you plan to use bananas. Rounding out the back panel is a power cord connector, a power switch, a fuse holder and a signal ground terminal. The solid rubber feet are about half the size of hockey pucks and nearly as dense. I can't imagine any aftermarket feet absorbing more vibration than the ones provided here.

You can see in the picture below, the interior of the INT-30A is all business. The toroidal transformer at the front (left in the photo) is a large part of the component's weight. The capacitors are unfortunately hidden below the input jack board. You can also see the output devices bolted directly to the side-mounted heat sinks.

The remote can only be described as sexy. It's an all-metal box that feels like it was milled from billet. The batteries are changed by removing the four screws securing the back panel. The buttons are small and made of plastic. Since this remote is common to other Pass Labs products, there are a few keys that don't apply to the INT-30A. Included are a power toggle, mute key, discreet input buttons, volume and balance controls, and a button to dim (or defeat) the front panel display. The remote's off axis range is a bit narrow. I found I had to point directly at the box to get a response. Otherwise, it worked perfectly and its style and feel befit this product's level of quality.