Move Labs X250.8 Amplifier Overview. Oh So SWEET!
By Steve Huff
My Video on the X250.8 and VS the XA 60.8
So what do I dislike concerning the XA60.8 amps?
First off, they’re massive and heavy and there are two of them. Being a man who evaluations gear, it’s powerful having to maneuver these “88lb a bit amps” out and in when I’ve comparisons to do.
Additionally they run loopy sizzling, and in the summertime I cannot actually go away them on for lengthy as my listening room shouldn’t be related to our properties A/C. Third, the Move XA 60.8’s have a sound character that’s heat, full and wealthy. Whereas this can be a sound I really like, it’s not an ideal match for each speaker made or each speaker that I check (even my very own reference).
Even with these three issues I dislike concerning the XA 60.8’s they nonetheless managed to develop into my favourite amps of all time because of the construct high quality, longevity, buyer help from Move, fashion/appears to be like and most significantly the sound that these amps have delivered to my room.
The Move Labs XA60.8’s excel at heat, texture, weight and spatial qualities but they aren’t the final phrase in treble extension and even transparency. Relatively they thrill me with their richness and timbre. During the last two years or so with them I’ve typically wished for extra oomph, slam, dynamics and pleasure in my listening classes. Pretty much as good as these amps are, and they’re finish sport amps when you use the precise speaker, I really feel like I simply needed to see what a special taste of Move Labs would sound like.
I reached out to Move Labs and requested if I might overview their bigger Class A/B stereo amp which resides just below their large 350.8 stereo amp. They obliged and after a cxuyple of months I obtained a large field that UPS positioned on my entrance porch (with using a dolly).
Enter the X250.8 Stereo Amp
This amp is bigger than one of many XA60.8 mono’s however there is just one of them and it is available in at round 100lbs ; ) It is a heavy beast of an amp, and it appears to be like even nicer within the flesh than the Class A mono’s. A bigger energy button together with a bigger Class A bias meter tells me this amp means enterprise. It appears to be like tremendous horny within the flesh so within the appears to be like division I’m already bought.
I’ve heard the Move Labs INT-250 built-in amp and I’ve declared it the perfect built-in I’ve ever heard or had right here, see my overview of that piece HERE. I had a Luxman 595 ASE that nearly beat it however after months of forwards and backwards I do choose the Move sound vs The Luxman sound for my preferences. It was shut however as I all the time have previously, once I attempt one thing new I all the time find yourself going again house to Move Labs.
Once more, it’s actually speaker and room dependent. The Luxman is sharper and extra detailed sounding whereas nonetheless retaining magic within the mids the place the Move is extra natural, fluid and textural in its high quality. The Move sounds richer, the Luxman sounds extra like an audiophile piece.
After 30 years in HiFi these previous few years have proven me that Move Labs makes amps that actually communicate to my coronary heart and soul. I’ve heard amps from virtually each different manufactures (say as much as $20k) in my by no means ending quest for the Holy Grail however nothing has made me sit up and need to step away from the Move Labs sound.
With regards to Move Labs, I’ve had the INT-25, INT-250, XA60.8, and now the X250.8 in relation to modern-day amplification from the model. All wowed me with their large highly effective sound, heat and wealthy midrange and fantastically rendered treble and bass. Even so, every mannequin was barely completely different in sound.
The INT-25 had a dynamic and vigorous sound with that mid heat I’ve come to count on from Move. The INT-250 was extra ethereal and holographic and felt much more spatial and delicate in relation to the main points. The XA 30.8 and 60.8’s are the warmest of this bunch with a wonderfully refined clean as silk sound however with much less treble extension.
All of them sound like a Move Labs however every have variations in the best way they current treble and bass. All are tremendous refined sounding.
My ears have gotten used to this refinement of sound. The best way there isn’t any noise within the system in any respect, the best way the music floats in house and has depth, weight and transparency. Move does the main points as effectively however with out hardness or harshness.
I used to be so prepared to listen to this X250.8 together with a Move Labs XP-22 Preamp (each in for long run overview and comparability use).
With regards to the pre-amp I’ve an XP-10, XP-12 and XP-22 right here from Move and might simply say that I’ve loved all of them however the XP-22 is in one other league when in comparison with the older 10 and newer 12. The Xp-22 is the perfect preamp I’ve ever heard in my life, even besting my earlier favourite, the Nagra Basic Pre.
It’s quiet as a mouse, very clear and impartial however once more, brings out that midrange magic from the Move amps. It’s paints an impressively massive soundstage and inside that stage, magic occurs. It’s lifeless silent and I imply lifeless silent, which is likely one of the 22’s claims to fame.
The Move XP-22 is a low acquire preamp although, and fairly the other to one thing like a Cary SLp-05. The Cary is stuffed with acquire, and solely a small flip of the quantity dial brings large quantity. The Move normally sits at round 65 on the quantity dial once I pay attention mid day and round 55 at night time for low stage listening. This helps hold any noise away as effectively and inside this technique, even at midnight listening at low ranges there’s not a peep coming from the gear or audio system I regards to noise.
Once I connected the XP-22 to the XA 60.8’s I felt as if it was the primary time I heard what the XA60.8’s might actually do. It opened them up vs the XP-12 and simply offered every element with a fragile magnificence. This was as near a tube sound that I’ve heard from strong state however I really feel it’s even higher. No tube upkeep and with higher bass extension whereas retaining these large clear but full sounding midrange.
Once I positioned the X250.8 in with the XP-22 I heard a a lot completely different presentation vs the XA60.8’s. These amps do NOT sound the identical.
The place the XA 60.8’s have been extra plump, heat and subdued with my Fleetwood Deville SQ’s the X250.8 woke them up, ignited them with extra dynamics, greater bass slam and a extra prolonged candy silky treble.
The soundstage grew to become extra clear as effectively. Vocals weren’t as full as they have been with the 60.8’s however they have been simply barely leaner, and I imply slight. Even so, the midrange was magical on the X250.8’s simply because it was with the 60.8’s and the 250.8 b proper extra transparency inside that midrange permitting me to listen to by means of the voices.
The system was sounding fairly particular with the X250.8 and XP-22 in place however additionally they synergize effectively with my entrance finish gear. I run a stunning DCS Lina DAC and Lina CLOCK and these items ended my DAC seek for my reference system.
After attempting 15 DAC’s over two years I actually most popular the Lina sound to the others I’ve heard, regardless of the price or model. There are lots of excellent DAC’s on the market from many manufacturers lately and I might have discovered a way more inexpensive DAC however the Lina simply appears to do effectively with my gear and as soon as I had it in place I by no means eliminated it, fairly I added the clock, so it’s staying for the lengthy haul.
I additionally run a REL S/510 Sub and this has additionally been one thing that has actually reworked my system, although it took a month for me to get it dialed in and locked in completely.
I take advantage of Nordost Pink Daybreak LS cables for speaker and IC. Energy is provided from my wall right into a Puritan Audio PSM156 (which is one other piece I couldn’t dwell with out) and I just lately upgraded all of my energy cords to the Puritan Final cords (8 of them).
My audio system are the Fleetwood Deville SQ’s so the Move XP-22 and X250.8 match proper in to the system value sensible.
It is a good match. I usually see some spend fortune on audio system after which skimp out on the amp and DAC. In reality, I do know a man who just lately spent $22k on audio system and he purchased an AVR for beneath $1k to energy them as he assumed that each one amps are the identical (removed from the reality).
He then added a $300 DAC he purchased from Amazon and a few fundamental $20 speaker cable. He hated how his system sounded however he figured if he invested all of his cash into the audio system he couldn’t go improper. That is by no means the case and we must always all the time energy our audio system with high quality energy that matches the price of the amp. It will all the time carry out the perfect from the audio system you select. When you select $1500 audio system then a $1k amp may do the trick, however even these $1500 audio system will come alive when energy with a very spectacular amp.
In HiFi the room is most essential, then setup, then energy, then audio system, then amp, dac, streamer, cables, and many others. That is 100% how I really feel after doing this for effectively over 30 years.
For enjoyable I powered the $1500 Buchardt Audio P300’s with this setup and it made them sound like $5k audio system. So investing in a very good amp or built-in means you can be set it doesn’t matter what audio system you begin or finish with. As of late I like to recommend placing most of your HiFi funds into the Amp and DAC, after which the Audio system.
SO HOW DOES THE X250.8 SOUND?
OTHERWORLDLY in my setup, that’s how this amp sounds. It’s that good.
No, my audio system don’t want this sort of all out energy. They’re 94DB environment friendly and eight ohms and I’ve powered them with as little as 8 WPC. Even so, they sound phenomenal with the X250.8 and higher than I’ve ever heard them, and that’s saying quite a bit.
The X250.8 introduced extra life to my Deville’s. They opened them up additional and improved on the treble, bass and even dynamic influence over the XA60.8’s. Once more, that is in my room with my audio system.
If I swapped audio system to the MoFi SP10’s, the XA60.8’s would win the prize for powering them because the very vigorous SP10’s want heat to sound their finest. My Deville’s want some sparkle to sound their finest, and the X250.8 does this and extra for the Fleetwood’s and the Class A choices do higher with extra vigorous audio system.
As I sit and take heed to music from all genres…pop, rock, jazz, classical, and many others I’m in awe of what the X250.8 is doing in my house. The sound is uber highly effective, extensive open, wealthy, textured and has extra transparency within the mids vs the XA60.8s. The bass is tighter and has extra influence as effectively. The bass on the XA60.8’s shouldn’t be as tight and sounds only a hair looser however I’m splitting hairs right here actually.
I let the X250.8 keep on for two weeks straight earlier than I began to actually consider what was taking place right here.
The X250.8 solidified for me what I really like about Move Labs and made me fall in love with the model much more.
Why am I such a fan? Their construct high quality, longevity, the truth that Nelson Move is named an audio genius (and he designs the amps), the fashion, the large blue meter, the category A bias in most of their amps that carry that wealthy sound taste after which there’s the reliability. Move amps final lifetimes. If they don’t, they may repair it for you quick. None of this nonsense of ready weeks for a reply, Move Labs are one of many greats in Audio and maintain their prospects.
I’ve heard my simple to drive audio system with every kind of amps. Class A, A/B, B, and D. Tubes and Stable State. Push Pull tubes and SET amps. I’ve been looking for the perfect sound for me and these audio system. It is a course of that may take YEARS in case you are a bit obsessive like I’m ; )
Every amp sounded superb with my Fleetwood Devilles however a few these items stood out for one or two issues they did very well. The X250.8 is the primary amp I’ve heard that actually “completes” my Devilles. For the primary time I’m not wanting for extra of something. Some amps have been too harsh, others too sluggish or darkish sounding. Some amps wowed with pleasure however then grew outdated after 6 months. Some sounded chilly, some have been exhausting and others have been uninteresting.
I can say with 100% ease that the Move XP-22 and X250.8 is the best possible I’ve heard the Deville’s and I now run a REL S/510 with them to solidify the bottom registers right down to 20hz (as uncommon as that’s to be in a recording). I need for completely nothing on this setup (apart from a 2nd REL) as it may well play something with easy ease, refinement and it does effectively at low or excessive quantity.
The sound is clean, fluid, extensive open, detailed however in a method that brings these particulars out with grace and air. The bass is strong, even with out the subwoofer because the X250.8 actually digs deep.
I’ve heard conflicting studies on the X250.8. Some say that the primary 25 watts of this amp is in Class A and others say it’s the 1st 15 watts. Both method, I by no means go away class A with the X250.8 and my Devilles, regardless of how loud I’m going on the dial.
With that stated, the Class A sound from the 250 is kind of completely different from the Class A sound of the 60.8’s. Whoever says all amps sound the identical (I nonetheless see this in boards now and again) has by no means heard a bunch of various amps in a revealing system. The variations may be completely big however while you discover the precise match, you’ll realize it because the sound simply locks in and also you say ‘There it’s”!
I see no negatives to the Move X250.8, in any respect however let’s attempt.
The worth? Effectively, this isn’t an affordable amp however you do get what you pay for right here. It’s $10k or so and effectively price it in case you are a severe music lover. It’s an amp that may be positioned in and forgotten about and I can say that whereas I’ve had this amp I’ve not needed to swap it for anything. Even when a overview piece is available in I hesitate to maneuver the 250.8 out as I simply love what it does for my system wether I take advantage of my Deville’s, Dynaudio’s or Buchardt’s.
It is a lifetime piece, and lots of are having fun with it as simply that in the present day. Simply examine this amp on-line and you will note why it’s already legendary. There are lots of who personal this amp and can by no means promote it and for me, these are the perfect sort of evaluations. These from long run house owners who nonetheless love the amp after a few years.
Going again to value, for that $10k you get an important guarantee, superb service, made within the USA construct, and an amp that can drive something. Some pay $30k for a Rolex watch that sits in your arm however I’d fairly personal a killer audio system that will get used, listened to and loved each single day. It’s good for the soul.
WITH HARD TO DRIVE SPEAKERS?
I’ve some a lot more durable to drive audio system right here within the type of Buchardt Audio P300’s and Dynaudio S40’s. These are $1500-$3500 small bookshelf audio system with an enormous large sound and great (no sub wanted) bass.
The P300 are a tricky drive although which was evident once I turned them as much as dance ranges and I noticed the large Move X250.8 Meter leaping up and down. This meant I used to be leaving that 15-25 watts of Class A and utilizing extra energy, going into Class A/B. I’ve by no means gotten a Move Labs needle to maneuver like this however I did with the P300’s!
The excellent news is that they sounded AMAZING and like a a lot bigger and rather more expensive speaker. These little $1500 P300’s are insanely good for the cash and supply a wealthy, deep musical presentation that has density and a big sound. The X250.8 drove these with ease and it gave the impression of a dance membership in my music room once I turned them up.
Once I connected my Dynadio S40’s the amp drove these with authority as effectively. Crisp, clear and impactful bass that shook the room on one event.
How about some Harbeth P3’s? I’ve a set right here and so they sounded beautiful with the X250.8. They introduced extra element than the P300’s however have been lighter on the “oomph” which introduced a extra delicate element retrieval to my house. The X250.8 allowed the P3’s to play loud and proud, once more, making me shake my head on the small measurement however massive sound.
MY FAVE THING ABOUT THE X250.8
What I really love concerning the X250.8’s sound character is the all out smoothness and method the amp brings forth the soundstage which is clear but has physique. I really like the treble that’s prolonged however silky. I benefit from the deep managed tight bass that at occasions can appear explosive but absolutely managed. The mids are additionally clearer, extra detailed and but have a glow and heat within the vocals that make then sound so actual.
That is an amp I put within the “particular” class.
I’ve heard a ton of HiFi amps in my lifetime. Most have been incredible, a couple of weren’t so sizzling. With regards to “the perfect” I’ve heard effectively that’s powerful to speak about as “the perfect” doesn’t actually exist in audio. Every amp will sound completely different with every speaker and room! Plus, your ears are completely different than mine, so are your tastes!
For me and my system, I’ve not heard a greater amp. Interval. I really like the XA60.8’s and have listened to them for over two years on this house however with my reference audio system (Fleetwood Deville SQ) I really like the X250.8 above even these Class A beauties. I imagine if I used to be working audio system that have been extra tipped up within the treble then the XA60.8’s could be the extra magical and higher amp as they’re certainly with one thing just like the MoFi SP10’s.
On the finish of the day the actual fact is that the Move Labs X250.8 is a lifetime amp. I do know a few music lovers who’ve owned one since its launch a few years in the past. They haven’t any need to vary. I do know a man who has the XA60.8’s as effectively and he says he needs for nothing and can by no means promote his amps. Fairly good phrases for the Move model.
The X250.8 is sweet to have available because it delivers 250 WPC into 8 ohms, 500 WPC in to 4 ohms. That’s numerous juice but it surely doesn’t sound like a monster beast sort of amp. Relatively it may well do this monster sound with some music however when you take heed to one thing extra delicate it may well rework into an amp that sounds extra like a 15 WPC tube amp. At idle it makes use of 450 watts so it’s equal to working 4 1/2 100 watt mild bulbs.
The X250.8 doesn’t get practically as sizzling because the all Class A Move amps. It by no means will get HOT to the contact, simply heat. It’s a single stereo amp so I would not have two heavy containers to maneuver round.
That is an amp I can simply suggest whether it is inside your funds. It’s not a cheap amp but it surely’s additionally not an amp that’s just for more durable to drive audio system. This does as effectively with delicate audio system because it does more durable to drive audio system. In reality, if this places out 15 watts of energy into 8 ohms of pure class A sound, possibly we must always take a look at this as a 15 WPC Class A amp with a by no means ending headroom.
It sounds magical, beautiful, lovely and sure it may well attain the center and soul inside us bringing the emotion we search from our music.
The perfect and most versatile energy amp I’ve heard to this point.