When reviewed, our Austrian Crayon CFA-1.2 got €4'250. It still outputs 63/90wpc into 8/4Ω from class AB bridged current-feedback outputs fed by switch-mode power. Now this amp injected more snap and pep into the system. It also had more subjective soundstage depth from more distinct separation. If we talk of weight on the front vs. rear foot, of sitting on the edge of a seat or reclined against its back, the Crayon shifted more emphasis on the front foot or seat's edge. Transients leaned forward a bit. With it did elements of rhythm and timing. The INT-25 acted more relaxed, massive and easeful. That prioritized tone and bigger dynamic swings. This small teeter totter stayed mostly clear of tonal-balance shifts though the Crayon did behave more extended and energetic on top. This segues into another distinction. The CFA-1.2 was decidedly glossier of textures which the INT-25 painted matte. That minor surface change nearly always accompanies components that are warmer and certainly did so here.
Practically speaking, I find the general Crayon/Bakoon type more suitable for low-level listening where its higher speed, resolution and illumination delay clumping up, gelatin and opacity. The Simon/Pass personality excels at stepping on the gas. More energetic kit is quicker to breach first the strain then the pain threshold with glassier steelier elements. A more laid-back soft power voicing just scales up to become ever more immersive yet stays clear of those edges. Though it overdraws and generalizes, small amps for lower levels, big amps for big levels. Again the INT-25 behaved like a big amp even though it misses three power digits by a full 75. But then Pass Labs tend to be conservative with their ratings.
To explore more of that meant moving downstairs.
Just before, Làszló Raffai's Syzygy speakers from Hungary landed. As a dispersion hybrid—front-firing directional tweeter, upfiring omni mid/woofer—it deliberately exploits longer room reflections over its majority bandwidth. That builds in more acoustic reverb than conventional speakers which begin to radiate into full space at far lower frequencies. This design thus has naturally rich tone similar to how your own voice sounds more sonorous in the bathroom than on the balcony. Here the INT-25 behaved like its own hybrid. On the '+' side, it got more bass power from the small 5" driver. On the '+' or '-' side depending on taste, its own richer voice added itself to further play up those aspects. By implication, that further diminished articulation and incision which this mostly omni already softens by design. Our Bakoon nicely shortened that leash for more controlled good-dog behavior whilst giving up some low-end weight in trade.
And thus hifi is always about balancing attributes according to a personal hierarchy of importance. For another oldie but goodie, we leave this scene with the reminder that big amps like the Pass make small speakers sound bigger than smaller amps. Trite but still true. Downstairs the Aurai Audio M1 are quasi widebanders of Cube Audio caliber, just with more bandwidth, better damped bass and true happiness with powerful amps. Their different 2-way crossover otherwise behaves like a 0-filter speaker. It's very lucid and impulse adroit. Our usual driver is Vinnie Rossi's L2 Signature linestage into the older LinnenberG monos. As a review of Pàl Nagy's icOn 4Pro passive magnetic preamp confirmed, our favorite 7V Elrog ER50 in Vinnie's grounded-grid circuit injects just a homeopathic not antibiotic dose of direct-heated triode aspects. Those are audible relative to textures and decay lengths, then meet our direct-coupled 200-watt class A/B monos of 1MHz bandwidth.
If you kept count, the INT-25 replaced three components at ~€23'000, then squashed paper power by nearly 90%. Would anything else fall by the wayside?