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SoundstageUltra Review • YBA Passion Pre+DAC 550A

"Dynamics were powerful, yet subtle when required, and fast. The quietness I’d already noted let me hear a lot of detail -- real detail, not the fake detail created by goosing up the high frequencies. Speaking of the highs, they were open and extended, with plenty of sparkle."

"Orchestral color was just gorgeous, with fully developed harmonics making the RLP sound rich and natural. I recently auditioned a DAC that made it difficult to distinguish between the solo violin and cello. The PRE550A had no such problem. Orchestral violins had a rich sheen, with abundant high-frequency extension."

To hear how the YBA reproduced a solo instrument, I cued up Ottmar Liebert’s One Guitar (24/96 FLAC, Spiral Subwave/HDtracks).
The detailed realism the YBA PRE550A retrieved from this high-resolution recording was amazing. It reproduced the sound of Liebert’s guitar incredibly well -- not only the notes, but also the extraneous noises inevitably produced by a guitar being played by a master. Notes were harmonically complete, attacks and decays were extremely lifelike, and some of the initial transients were startling in their forcefulness"

"YBA’s Passion PRE550A lived up to its French origin by producing unfailingly beautiful, realistic sound. Its extended highs were gorgeously smooth, with nary a bit of peakiness. The midrange was very detailed and harmonically rich -- little to grumble about there.
Very highly recommended."


YBA "Passion" A650 Amplifier
YBA "Passion" Pre550A Preamp+DualMono DAC
OCC Silver & OCC Copper
Round & Rectangular Conductors
Terminated By Neotech
OCC Silver -Rectangular- Cryo
$6700 - 2m/pr
NES-1002 Series
OCC Silver - Round
$3500 - 2m/pr

YBA Genesis PH1 MC/MM Battery Phono

"This is a refreshingly clean and open phono stage, one that sounds expansive, authoritative and musical, yet smooth and organic. Via its MC input, it serves up a big, three dimensional sound. Listening to Sparks’ The Number One Song In Heaven, the soundstage is vast, the detailing impressive and I am particularly struck by the combination of life and vibrancy, together with tonal smoothness."

“YBA’s Genesis PH1 gives a taste of high-end phono stages, with its battery operation turning an already very good phonostage into a great one. It reminds me of all the noise that a poor AC mains supply can bring, and the difference is clear to hear. ”


"The sonic signature of this amplifier is very pleasing, it’s little cooler sounding than my Yamaha, and has more of the rhythm and timing that I associate with Naim products, but with a more three dimensional presentation. The longer it was here, the more I enjoyed it. My Harbeth SuperHL5+ 40th Anniversary loudspeakers were absolutely singing, whether I was indulging in hard rock at window rattling levels or rather more laid back classical music, I felt a tremendous emotional and indeed physical connection with the music."

"What a glorious noise ensued. It is ironic that just as ‘CD is dead’ stories start to crop up a brilliant sounding device like this (CDT450 Transport) appears."

"Again the YBA combination does not care what musical genre the listener asks it to play - it does rock and it does solo cello, as well as delicate female vocals, blues, jazz and every other genre with equal aplomb. Overall, the sound was even handed across the whole frequency range, with the bass being tuneful and agile, the midrange just right and the treble has no harshness or spittiness. Bravo Monsieur André, mission accomplished!"
"The YBA A650/Pre550A pre and power combination actually followed the mighty Mark Levinson Nş585. Straight away I could tell this is a very different animal very different beast and in a way kind of a chalk and cheese."

"With the YBA straightaway, I was struck by the clarity that clarity that the Mark Levinson Nş585  just did not have. A clarity the last time I experienced was when I had a Chord FPGA DAC in the system. Any DAC that you're comparing to a Chord Electronics FPGA is obviously doing something right."

"That amplifier, that quality and class of amplifier, at that price point could be classed as a bit of a bargain. These are very premium units, really very high quality sounding units. That balance of sound is very well done, very easy to like, very easy to be impressed with, very easy to listen to across a broad style of music. It's a sound that just is very good in all areas. The sound is detailed, fast, precise, smooth, enjoyable, dynamic and sweet"