My fidata HFAS1-S10U handled storage/transport duties, then a LampizatOr Pacific DAC with KR Audio T-100 or Living Voice 300B plus KR Audio 5U4G rectifier passed signal either to the INT-25, a Bakoon AMP-13R or the Thöress DFP/AGD Production Audion combo. A Boenicke Audio S3 speaker cable connected all to sound|kaos Vox 3afw monitors or my own Boenicke Audio W11SE+ towers. All hardware was powered by LessLoss C-MARC cords from a GigaWatt PC-3 SE EVO+ power conditioner fronted by its own LC-3 EVO cable. Interconnects were Boenicke Audio IC3 CG and Audiomica Laboratory Erys Excellence where needed. The USB chain included the full iFi audio stack of micro iUSB3.0, nano iGalvanic3.0, three Mercury3.0 USB cables plus one 9V iPower. One set of LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers modules complimented all speakers and Fidelizer's EtherStream inserted between my Linksys WRT160N router and fidata server.

The combatants

To properly review the Pass, a load ideal for its specs was needed for which I had to arrange. The product closest in my schedule to fit the profile was the pending sound|kaos Vox 3afw. Upon asking nicely, Martin Gateley kindly sent my pair far sooner than planned. His compact monitors boast 92dB efficiency and Srajan had already found them to be ideal with Bakoon's petite 25wpc AMP-13R. The same load should work fine for the far bigger INT-25's equivalent rating. So these two integrateds squared up with the Vox 3afw as judge.

My previous Pass encounters include their HPA-1 headfi amp, XP-12 linestage and FirstWatt F7 power amp. This is not a long list and the INT-25 in fact became my first big Pass. Just so, each prior encounter had shared the same sonic elegance. Think freedom from any extreme bias towards fat, zing or other excess; ease, finely appointed textural generosity, vividness, admirable dynamic expressiveness, overall sophistication and categorical lack of shout, grit or harshness. Executed this tastefully and mature, the density of the organic approach typical for class A can unlock sonic vista which are large and open, which breathe and are free from any stuffiness. Images reveal naturally without being spot-lit by treble antics. The ability to do all this borderline casual is the result of thorough engineering, silent circuitry and in general next-level quality. This then was the shopping list the Pass Labs hardware known to me had stood for and projected forward into today's assignment.

It's tempting to preview the sound|kaos Vox 3afw but for me that's a separate story to tell. In these pages Srajan already covered this small Swiss speaker extensively. For now suffice it to say that they worked exceptionally well with the INT-25. The impression of a compact monitor on the job was simply absent from the get-go. Speaking of imaging, the Vox 3afw fixed to its bronze stands evaporated from my room to leave behind a huge wall of quicksilvery open sound. Its lowest end was of rather tectonic reach thus more felt than heard. Overall bass clearly hit hard down low yet remained perfectly composed higher up to avoid all hints of being overblown. The entire low register was very elastic, snappy and texturally loaded to suggest tubes and open baffles.