Reviews & Awards
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Passion A650/Pre550A
Owner Review (PDF)...who also owns $70k DartZeel 18+108 Separates

" assess the Passion 550’s performance as a DAC. I was immediately struck by the vibrancy and dynamic character of the sound."

"What I took from this comparison was that the Passion 550 performed commendably as both a reference-level DAC and as an analog preamp. The changes I heard with the Ayre spinning the disc were due to the differences in character between the YBA and the Ayre, not because of anything the YBA was imposing on the signal."

"The fact that the differences between the two DACs were so easily heard demonstrated how transparent and resolving the Passion 550 was when used as an analog preamp."

The dimensionality and microlevel detail that I could hear from the strings helped provide a decent sense of in-the-room tangibility."

"...the YBA maintained more air around voice and instruments, more transient speed, a wider dynamic range, and more transparency. By comparison, the Classé imposed a smidgen of warmth on the sound, faintly rounding out the bass while struggling to communicate the same level of articulation and microdetail that the YBA took in stride."

"If you’re in the market for a reference-level preamp-DAC, you need to hear the YBA Passion 550, even if you’re shopping considerably north of its price."
Every aspect of the music reproduced by YBA comes to us "wrapped" in something extra, which gives the effect of sound’s presence and meatiness.

The YBA make the instruments materialize in front of us, but if you want to "touch" them, you need to reach out to them, rather than expect the sound to "reach out" to you.

What sounds most beautiful is the instruments and vocals located in the middle of frequency range. Except that it happens without limiting everything to just the midrange. The treble has an open, strong character, with plenty of energy in the range corresponding to the higher registers of the vibraphone, drum cymbals, etc.

This is a resolution without hyper-detailness, with the kind of detailness that is actually hidden in the shade of larger presuppositions. It manifests itself in the fact that the sound is very vivid and well differentiated at the same time.

It is with great ease that the system transfers us into the atmosphere of the recording. Actually, irrespective of the recording, the sound is deep and strong, with great lower midrange and large phantom images. The resolution is particularly good. It manifests itself in excellent differentiation of musical planes and the sonic character of individual instruments, and a good insight into the recording.

The French system looks great, the workmanship is perfect and it comes from a "cult" audio manufacturer. It employs best quality passive and active electronic components. The preamplifier is a joy to use and it brings in a super-bonus: a DAC with AirPlay.
Via the internal Dual-Mono CS4398 DAC
With the YBA turning the original trio into a quartet, the deltas (changes) were startlingly obvious from the very first push of play.

Firstly, the YBA built the soundstage bigger. MUCH bigger. In ALL directions. Secondly, detail retrieval went deeper, most clearly reflected in the greater grip of gut on string with the cello and double bass that drive forward the sinister swagger of Angelo Badalamenti’s “The Pink Room” (from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me OST).

The sparkle of low level super-micro dynamics within the depths of A Sagittariun’s “Crystallization” made for a more vivid take on hyperreality.

Loudspeakers: Harbeth 40.1 Monitors

"This is a strong, tangible sound with exceptional resolution, with the outstanding fast bass. It is thanks to the latter, it seems that between the speakers opened a window to another space in which there is more air in the air.”

YBA sound is a close, powerful sound. It is very open and we have a lot of information in advance of the band. But as much it happens in the middle and bass. It is hard not to talk about the advantages treble. Just one listen and one has the impression of wealth and density transmitted in the information.

The more that the sound is fed close to us. It is this type of communication in which everything is at your fingertips, strong, dynamic, very true. In this sense, it is not from us away, we look at everything from the first row, rather than from a distant perspective.

It's just that YBA adds to the incredible purity. It is as if to get insight into the recording, as if between the speakers appeared more and it had it all: detail, space, attack, dynamics.

This sound, with appropriate music and recording, had palpable "presence." Milian vibraphone with Bazaar plates, synthesizers Kid ARadiohead and even usually playing pretty bland with Klaus Schulze Shadowlands, everything sounded lively, strong manner. Clarity of sound, well-built body instruments and sounds, incredible depth of sound - had this really great power impacts. It was a glamorous but sophisticated.

Largely inspired by the design of YBA’s CLASSIC readers who have made the brand's reputation for many years, the CD 4 shows that it may go further on some points, thanks - among others - to its conversion stage and its dual integrated power supply.

Of course, the laser mechanism has been treated to the YBA "sauce" with a specific suspension & Blue Diode System.

This CD player’s musicality and exceptional price still approach the world of music as more "analog" and brings together all the qualities of a digital reader without its drawbacks. This control of conception leads to:

• A strong sense of analysis and detail
• A beauty, purity and truth of tonality
• Clarity and transparency is "stunning"
• A sound stage that is realistic showing contrasts
• A extremely wide bandwidth
• A return of finesse
• Speed and responsiveness without concessions
• A deep sense of nuance

Tonality: From the outset, from the first seconds of listening, we find this beauty and timbre accuracy that made the reputation of YBA players of previous generations. In another register, the violin Laurent Korcia is both gentle and extremely precise, giving it a special credibility and musical temperament closer to analog. For these two examples, we feel that high bandwidth subjective controlled manner file because no trace of aggression or hardness are to be expected.

This high register revolves around a middle register that will delve into every corner all the information that is present on the rainbow cake. This sense of analysis plays a big role in the communication and transmission of emotions (see below). The smallest inflections, the minute or discrete percussions are easily noticeable and very well highlighted.

Transparency: Those who "practice" YBA and/or possess products ranges from the Classic or Signature (and even some references Passion) know or still remember that famous crystal clear who had made the builder's reputation.
The CD 430 is an "analyst" of the first order since it will resolve a lot of detail. However, it is important to emphasize that this is not only on the top of the spectrum that is preferred. Transparency is assessed over the entire audible spectrum. We feel that all that breathes and gives a de facto soul and meaning to the music.

Dynamics: "Thus spoke Zarathustra": the flood of percussion on a brass base illustrates the absolute control of dynamics.
'"Take Five '' by Quincy Jones by what this CD shows how it "fits" perfectly in rhythm. The ability to react quickly and well used to see in a light natural sounding brass. The cymbals are clear and precise. Hats off to bite Trompete, which, once is not custom, under no circumstances let slip an ounce of aggression that might come taint listening. The saxophone and velvety sound emerges from this set brilliantly and with a notable presence in the listening room; presence devoid of any trace of caricature. The pace of assembly is particularly supported and illustrated by bass line and staccato percussion and expertly organized

Soundstage: While camped in the middle of the speakers, the sound scene unfolds in three dimensions with a facility that gives a beautiful plume to "big orchestrations." The scene holographic wants - however, it remains contained on little "training" or when the situation arises. No overflow is to be feared, the CD 430 is therefore good judgment, knowing maintain a permanent presence of interpreters in the listening room.
In general, we feel that this player prefers the generosity without overdo it. The soundstage is built progressively and methodically to take "forms" clothing reproduced with surprising resilience. Choirs of the power of 'Tri Yann and Pays de Loire National Orchestra' 'or one that shows the' Mozart Requiem '' do not lack presence, making listening particularly attractive, varied and alive .

Communication with the listener: The CD 430 is pleasure in treating the buzzer with infinite delicacy, giving the music a soul, a sense of the quality of interpretation. Its ability to extend the notes in time and space is a crucial point in the management of harmonics. For confide, I literally "melted" when I listened to extract "Ayasofia" from the CD "Dance Intro Internity by Omar Faruk Tekbilek" the interpreter vibrates and "weep" his flute, with a tone tinged with unparalleled purity, coupled with a breath of recovery plexus take you to the thrill: all is said!

CONCLUSION: Those who believed YBA had turned a page were wrong. Certainly, a new page was written in terms of achievements, but the fundamentals remain intact. The proven concept and is still further improved recipe.With the CD Passion 430, Yves Bernard ANDRE has designed a machine, in my opinion is ready to ensure the succession of earlier versions and challenges the highest levels for his musical performances. I think the CD Passion 430 as a "great" player landmark - a "just music" machine!

After a few days listening experience I can now express more precisely, what strikes me particularly positive on Genesis. It's the perfect balance of tone color density and richness of detail, combined with an informal, dynamic inaugural.

In contrast, many amps tend preferably to the one or the other direction: The effects on the very first moment, although a certain kick, is for long-term listening pleasure but rather detrimental.

Very clearly the advantages of the YBA, for example for vocal scoring. So I find myself even while listening to a CD, which I actually do not really like, and although I've Loved These Days by Monica Mancini. From a professional point of view without question an absolutely perfect sung, well engineered and Gregg Field and Phil Ramone produced excellent work - me but altogether a bit too smooth.

The YBA However, the tracks musicality showed emotionality, which has obviously prevailed in the recordings succeed. Its rich diversity of tones and the sculptural representation even in the difficult, mitt pitch comes more ideal example of the Brian Wilson and Take 6 absolutely masterly polyphonic "God Only Knows" expressed.

Wow, what is all found on this disc at musical Baby - Steely Dan could hardly sound better! About the built-in D / A converter of the YBA all even a trace sounds more detailed and airy again, by audible.

My compliments: The Genesis IA3 is a real "YBA-surprise" - to make it with his style of play to open the listener doors themselves to unmet Musikgefilde.
Genesis CD4 CDPlayer
Passion 430 CDPlayer
Passion IA350 Integrated w/DAC
Passion CDT450 Transport

Genesis IA3 Integrated w/DAC & Bluetooth
Passion Pre/DAC 550
Passion 550 Preamp/DAC + Amp 650
tmh audio
Tel: 937-439-2667
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.
In the über important midrange, Savall’s viola da gamba sang out beautifully, with fully developed harmonics, and the sounds of the woodblocks, cascabels, and other percussion instruments were very clear, with well-defined initial transients and decay.

Texas Rangers,” from Rebecca Pidgeon’s Four Marys (24/96 AIFF, Chesky/HDtracks), showed her in very expressive voice, with tons of detail that let me visualize her enunciating each word. The banjo and fiddle accompaniment sounded particularly realistic.

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. I could, and did, happily live with a PRE550A in my system.” 

Very highly recommended."
Passion Pre/DAC 550
Passion Pre/DAC 550A