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April 2nd, 2020 Nelson Pass Zoom Interview with AZAVCLUB

1. How did you come to be attracted to the audio world?

Parents enjoyed music. Experimented in his youth by building his own diy gear. 

1st pair of speakers were of cardboard enclosures.

 RJ-At UC Davis, had a circle of friends with far higher quality equipment than his. This got the ball rolling. Roomed with 3 other guys and they were able to combine all sets to play as one. 

2. What do you see as Audio's biggest achievement in the past 40 years?

Overall he felt it had to be the introduction of the CD. 

3. Where do you believe the biggest need exists for improvement in the HiFi world?i.e. Recommend a goal that would most please you.

Not able to answer.

4. How would you describe why listening to music is important in your life?
    Not asked

5. Tell us about the "Best System you ever heard"?

     Could not answer. (Sworn to secrecy by the Royal Family)?

6. When you had built a new product to be included in your company's line,did you make all the voicing decisions or was it done more by committee?

   He relied on others mostly. Former partner now deceased, Joe Sammut had a great ear

   and taught listening skills to other employees. They employ about 7 matched speakers

   in different locations so comparisons on any new products are accurate. 

6. A. Can you recall the funniest incident situation you have been a part of in this business? 

   Not asked although he did relate other funny tidbits

7. Who in this industry do you most admire, living or not?

   Not inclined to answer this one as well. Practical fellow he is.

8. What accomplishment are you most proud of in the audio industry?

  Matching components to their best use.

9. What do you think is this industry's biggest "Dirty Little Secret"?i.e. What bothers you about the practice , direction or ? of the industry? 

   Not asked

10. What do you perceive as the greatest challenge facing the audio world today?
  RJ- He did discuss the trend toward higher efficiency in speakers which, in turn, makes building better amps easier (lower power easier than higher power). Along with that, he talked about lower power amps requiring less/fewer feedback loops, which reinforces his tendency toward simplicity in design.

11. Have you spent any time studying the human ear and its functionality in order to assist   you in your audio work?

  Yes he has. Read Dr. Diana Deutch - primarily known for the illusions of music and speech that  she discovered.  Knows Dr. Steven Dear. Studied relationship between hearing and perception.

12. Talk about the passion you must have to be successful in your field?

  Not asked but touched on in other responses

13. How did your past life experiences prepare you for your current endeavors?

  Not asked

14. What will be the next product you plan to release?

  Asked. Response was a smiling nod toward the opposite end of his desk where a pile of gear lie.    Not sharing at this time. He did explain that some recent successes from First Watt are being incorporated into the Pass line. 

15. Have you ever pursued inquiries with the defense department to see what new technologies they may have developed which bear on the Audio world?

  Not asked


From Keith McDonald 

1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of the McIntosh “autofomer”? (This circuit supposedly maintains uniform power output into different loads, rather than changing with the load.) Do Pass designs incorporate such a feature, and why or why not?

A challenge to recall with any precision but I recall Nelson saying that when McIntosh changed from tubes to transistors the autoformers were required to make transistor sound more acceptable. They are a circuit that provides consistent power into 4-, 8- and 16 ohm loads, 

but it had its own sonic signature.

 From Peter Eichen  
1. How has your philosophy changed over the years with respect to power amp design/circuit design/parts section?  

Per his philosophy, circuit improvements have the biggest effects so that's primarily what he experiments with to improve the amps sound. 

We also asked about the XA25 and the INT25 successes and why he felt it was so. He said simplified topography was part of it. I was surprised to learn that these are not his largest 

selling items. That honor goes the First Watt SIT3. Soon to be out of production as Nelson's unobtainiam supply of special parts is about used up for this product. Also one of his parts suppliers had the nerve to close its doors. So the SIT3 may be one to add to your collection 

if you are so inclined.

Mr. Pass shared a funny joke too. I was too busy reading ahead to recall it though. 

A drunk lost his keys...

RJ-The joke was also an anecdote. It goes something like this... “a cop found a drunk stumbling under around under a streetlight and looking at the ground. The cop asked the drunk what he was doing. “Looking for my keys” the drunk replied. “Where do you think they are?” the cop asked. “Oh, they’re up the street, but the light is better here”. The analogy for Nelson is the streetlight is our know tests and measurements and the keys are the reasons we hear what we do. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.

Nelson Pass was very kind and generous to share his evening with us. 

Thank you so much on behalf of the Arizona Audio/Video Club. 

Stay well. 

You are a National Treasure!



Here is an article submitted to the club by our member Tom Rothermel.

Tom will be making a lot of positive impressions on the local music enjoyment


I recently spent several hours at Tom's home, listening showroom and repair shop. is his website. See the many brands Tom has chosen to carry.

Besides the name brands we never had an opportunity to hear in Arizona, 

Tom offers custom made cables, interconnects, power cords, equipment racks, speaker stands and turntable wall shelves, all at very fair prices.

Known in the past as the The Vinyl Valet, his collection is extensive.

If vinyl is your thing, Big Ear Stereo  is a must see. 

Tom is also very well versed in classical, jazz, blues, reggae, folk and rock music. 

Yes he is a true renaissance man. 

AZ AV Club Article - 02_2020 (pdf)


What's Coming in 2020

January 29th -Wednesday-7pm- Faith Lutheran Church- 801 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix


 Andrew Jones of Elac Sound  Speaks. Andrew Jones has an impressive history in loudspeakers, having served as the chief speaker engineer at KEF, Infinity, Technical Audio Devices Laboratories (TAD), and Pioneer, where he established a reputation for designing budget speakers that sound shockingly good.

February 26th-Wednesday-5pm-9pm Woolson's Audio, 3202 S. 40th Street, Phoenix

Produced by Joe Goswami 

Vintage Gear- Woolson's Audio. This store is normally only open on Saturdays from 10am-4pm.  Your chance  to explore one of  Arizona Audio's best kept secrets. The store has been more of a private club than a typical retail experience. Larry Woolson and his son AJ present you an exhaustive, lifetime collection of vintage gear. Soon to be the only retailer to accept desirable consignment hifi gear locally.

****Covid Cancellation Notice****

The March Meeting will not be Held. Look for a reschedule notice when available

March 25th-Wednesday- 7pm Faith Lutheran Church- 801 E. Camelback Rd, Phoenix

Produced By Bob Olivere

6:30-7:30 pm. Charles Kirmuss, inventor of the world's best vinyl record cleaning system will speak and demonstrate his new product. Tom Rothermel, lifelong Man of Vinyl, will  take the stage  at 7:30 to 8:30  to show how to optimize your  TT  operation & maintain it as it should be.

April 29th- Wednesday-7. Phoenix Burton Barr Main Library.1221 N. Central Ave, Phoenix 

Produced By Curt Dragonavich and Joe Goswami

Working demonstrations of assembled DIY products. Pass Labs Designed Class A kit, monoblock amps,  Class D amp designs @ 200 wpc , Speaker packages including SEAS products,

All those who are interested in owning HiFi for Low $ will  have an opportunity to see it all demystified.

May 7th -Thursday 3PM-6PM- Acoustic Designs-16074 N. 78th St, Scottsdale

Produced By Paul Righello
Held at Don Loving's Acoustic Designs in Scottsdale. If you have not had the chance to walk through Don's store you are in for a treat. Esoteric, Sonus Faber, and more top level brands.

There will be several demos of subwoofers in different rooms featuring use for two channel systems and home theater along with single versus multiple subs. JL Audio engineers will give talks on everything subwoofer related. How to integrate them 

into a system, crossover points, etc.

June  27th Saturday-11-3pm -8600 E. Anderson Dr, Scottsdale

Produced By Jeff Kalina along with the entire SC cast.


Standmount  Speakers  with  Shock and Awe!!

We have set our sights high this year. An Amazing Eight  speakers  

that may completely change your mind  about going big.

July 29th Wednesday-7pm Location TBD

Produced By Bob Olivere and Ben Taylor

Member Music. Your chance to find some new music to enjoy courtesy

of other members. Everyone is encouraged to bring one or two selections

they love and want to share with everyone. Always a fun night!

August 26th, Wednesday- 7pm. Location TBD

Produced By Ben Taylor and Bob Olivere

Can you say headphones? All the latest brands along with the best equipment

to power them. Additionally we will demonstrate how hi-res sound is now as

portable as a device as small as a smart phone and very affordably.

September 30th-Wednesday- 7pm. 15507 N. Scottsdale Rd # 135, Scottsdale

Produced By Peter Eichen

LMC VISIT-Focal, Naim and LMC have teamed up to present all their best products

in a new store next door to LMC. Awesome setup -great job!

Hear the new Wilson Chronograph Speakers at $680k a pair.

October 28th-Wednesday-7pm. Gilbert, AZ. Steve's Home

Hosted By Steve Bruzonsky

BRUZER CINEMA PRESENTS -A Night at Steve's Home Theatre.

Fellow member and Audio/Video afficiendo Steve Bruzonsky opens his dedicated, 

custom built, audiophile home theatre 18’W X 25’L X 12’H for club members only.  

Steve has just completed a total upgrade to his already fabulous system. SRO.

Details below.

November- Held December 5th-Saturday- 10am-2pm. Location TBD

Produced By Roy Cook

The Annual Swap Meet  and Media Sale  will once again be

held in November as the culmination of our 2020 Season.

Other Events for Consideration:

Acoustic Designs plans to hold an event on How to Stream 

for Optimal sound quality.  Date and details to follow.

More Thoughts:

Room Correction: Why you want it, how it works and what is costs!

Demos from all the leading manufacturers -Anthem, Legacy,  Trinnov,  Ayon,

NAD Dirac and others.

Shopping for a new  Integrated?  A/B listening opportunities between

 Pass Labs, Hegel, Sugden, McIntosh, Naim &  Master Class NAD. 

Snake oil or Legit?  

Cables, interconnects, digital and Voodoo.

Cardas OFC , Nordost , DH Labs . Kimber . AudioQuest. 

Send us more meeting ideas  !!! 


Postponed from 2019-Hey, Rome was not built in a day!

Details-Find the Devil!


Bruzer Cinema, Renovation/Upgrade August/September 2019, with planned 9.4.13 system, subject to revision during install:

New (Recent) components are in bold print below:

Trinnov Altitude 32-824 (24 channels) SSP (ROON Ready with Auro 3D for music); 

3 floorstanding Aerial Acoustics 7t speakers; 

6 on wall Aerial Acoustics 7LCR speakers; 

2 JL Audio f212 subwoofers with 2 ASC Subtraps; 

2 Paradigm Persona Subwoofers with 2 ASC Subtraps;

13 Triad Rotatable Inceiling Rotating Silver/Sat 9 speakers; 

3 Theta Digital Prometheus monoblocks; 

Trinnov Altitude 8 multi-channel amplifier;

Trinnov Altitude 8m multi-channel amplifier; 

ATI 526NT Multi-Channel Amplifier;  

Kaleidescape Terra Movie Server 40TB (upstairs home office)

Western Digital MyCloud PR4100 Music Server 32TB (upstairs home office)

Sonic Transporter i7 for ROON DSP (Small Green Computer) (upstairs home office)

Sony VPL-VW5000ES laser projector with Panamorph DCR Anamorphic Lens

Lumagen Radiance Pro 4446 video processor

Stewart Filmscreen Vistascope 2.40 14’ wide Snomatte screen

Apple TV 4k

Kaleidescape Strato C 4k player

DJM Electronics Gigafoil v4 (ethernet in, optical/fiber inside, ethernet out) (prior to Kaleidescape Strato C 4k player)

Oppo UDP-205 4k blu ray player

DirecTV Genie HR54 


2 PS Audio P5 power regenerators 

Furman Elite 20Pfi (for projector only)

Mid-Atlantic component racksThC




A special Video lecture/ exhibition by Adam Goldfine, a professional  videographer.Adam Is exploring the possibility of producing a TV show on Stereo Equipment.


Shootout between Focal Kanta 2s and Goldenear Reference  Provided by member

 Phil Groben and a friend of the club. Values of  $8,000-$10,000 

The final score was dead even.


Phoenix Chamber Music Society ;Harp Quintet. Featuring The American String Quartet with Nationally renowned Harpist Nancy Allen. A 500 year old Viola was played. Awesome!


Fellow member HiFi Stereo enthusiast Jeffrey Behr opened his music room  to members to hear his new Atma Sphere mono blocks powering his recently upgraded Serenity Planars speakers. Always a pleasure.


A visit to Dan D'Agostino's new facility in Cave Creek. This was a very exceptional meeting. We listened to Mr. D'Agostino speak about sound  issues he deals with. We were wined and dined as royalty by the so gracious D'Agostino Family. Finally we were the first group to hear music in his new music room.  Truly a priviledge.


29th Saturday

Speakerfest !! 

All speakers demonstrated were not represented locally. 

Please see "Reviews" Tab


"Member Music"

24th Wednesday 7pm

Trinity Lutheran Church

Discover some new artists you may love. If you missed it, 

a complete list is posted on this website.

See Music List  on Events Page


24th Saturday

$10 Admission for non-members

RSVP Required by August 21st.

Space is limited.

Please see 

Fellow member Paul Righello has organized This 1st Annual event called 

"DAC It Out"!!  As the name implies we have gathered some if the best DACs 

made in the World in an "affordable" price range for a member A/B/C shootout.


Held at the beautiful new showroom of Acoustic Designs Inc. in the Scottsdale 

Airpark. 16074 N.78th St Scottsdale, AZ 85260


Wednesday 25th 7pm

Faith Lutheran Church

801 E. Camelback Rd. 


In response to the new member survey asking for an  informative lecture series,

Ben Taylor, professional sound engineer and club member will speak on exactly what he must do to make a  recording as he did in March by the Phoenix Chamber Music Society. Besides another chance to enjoy internationally renowned harpist Nancy Allen, club members will gain a fuller understanding of  how sound which enters a microphone ends up as a recording.

Bonus Door Prize: FIIU  Award Winning

personal Hi-Rez player.


Wednesday the 30th at 7pm

KJZZ broadcast facilities Tour!!

Conducted by  Eric Schecter,  Chief Engineer, Eric has agreed to conduct the tour. 

This will be a fascinating behinds the scenes look the New HQ of both KJZZ and KBAQ.

Located at Rio Salado Community College at 2323 W 14th Street in Tempe

in Building B on the 4th floor.  


This Meeting is actually held on the 1st Saturday in 

December toaccomodate the Thanksgiving Holiday

Location :Harmon Library-Phoenix 1325 S 5th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 

The Club has an Annual Swap Meet

where members may sell or buy equipment related to A/V. 

We took an informal survey of 8 members recently

and found that all had several pieces they plan to  

bring. Good way to make room for something new!


Holiday Break


Unburden yourself

By Ben Taylor

Here's an article that you all should be reading. It will simplify, and unburden you of some of the myths in audio. In addition it will let you concentrate on the really important aspects of getting your systems to work at its best. It's why I always recommend that you work on the acoustic properties of the space you've chosen, and not so much the gear. Yes the gear is important, but let's face it, there are few really bad pieces of audio gear being made these days. It's just differences that we experience, and it's those differences that determine what we prefer to hear. Each of us has a different idea as to what represents a good sounding system. If you don't pay close attention to the acoustics of your room, you'll never know what your system is really capable of. 

That being said, here is a YouTube video that best clarifies Digital Audio, and represents what I've learned after 40+ years as a professional. Whereas I have recorded at sample rates of 96K and above, I find little above 48K useful, but I had to do it to hear for myself.

OmniClassic Recording
"Have Mic-Will Travel"
602 535-7906