Exploring the Gold Country and Pass Labs

On Tuesday, Becky and I visited the Pass Labs factory in Auburn, CA. Ken English and Desmond Harrington were great hosts, and we really appreciate them making us feel welcome. They’re lucky enough to be located in the beautiful gold country of California, and they are providing jobs to local people, which we also have to admire as we have lived in small towns before. We enjoyed the visit and made a day of it by driving home on the country roads through the area and exploring a couple of interesting small towns.

The picture above is of the sign in the office of Pass Labs. To me it just about says it all when it comes to Pass Labs. You see Nelson Pass, a man who has been designing amps that I have wanted for over 40 years, looking over the company. Then, below you see products from their past.

My Introductions to Nelson Pass

I can’t think of Pass Labs without thinking Nelson Pass’ first amp, the Threshold 800A. When it came out in 1975, I was a senior at Baylor and owned stacked Quad ESL speakers. So, I couldn’t afford the Pass amp, and I didn’t need it, but when I looked at it, read about it and heard it drive some of the great speakers of the mid-seventies, I’ll admit that I wanted one.

Compared to the Threshold 800A, my little 25-watt pure Class A, original Electrocompaniet amp, in its plain, little black box just wasn’t in the same league. As much as I coveted the early Threshold amps, the only Threshold product I ever owned was a used SL-10 preamp. To this day, I love how it looks.

Please watch for a full article about our factory tour soon! And again, thanks to all of the folks at Pass Labs for sharing their time with us!

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