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Pass Labs XP-22 Preamp In The House

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Northy

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Hello everyone, I hope all is well. It has been a while since last time I visited these pages. But I am happy to report that after saving up for a while, I got the preamp last week and it is being broken and mating very well with the XA30.8 amp. Now my Theos are out-priced by the Pass duo by a factor of 2.5. First impressions are more space, less edginess, greater dynamics and tighter bass. I know it will only get better from here.
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The next upgrade will be a new DAC. I got my eyes on the Denafrip Terminator. I have read a lot of good reviews online. I wonder if anyone here uses one in their system.
 

BDH55

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The XP-22 (and XP-32) are also on my short list so I'll be interested in your further comments. The challenge is I'm planning on bringing in both new mono blocks as well as new preamp at the same time. Just not sure I can swing the Pass gear (plus there isn't a dealer within driving distance)...
 

Northy

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How long have you had your XA30.8? Keeping Theos or thinking of somethings else? Nice move on the XP-22.
I have had the amp for two years now. It has been a pleasure and it mates so well with the XP-22 as most likely the preamp has been voiced with this amp. I am completely out of discretionary funds!!! Theos will be around for a while. My next upgrade will be a DAC.
 

Northy

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The XP-22 (and XP-32) are also on my short list so I'll be interested in your further comments. The challenge is I'm planning on bringing in both new mono blocks as well as new preamp at the same time. Just not sure I can swing the Pass gear (plus there isn't a dealer within driving distance)...
Well, I envy your financial position. I wish I could have been able to buy the whole Pass family in one shot! For me it is saving up at a slow rate which makes the new gear ever so precious. I will definitely add more comments as the preamp is breaking in.
 

Len44

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The XP-22 (and XP-32) are also on my short list so I'll be interested in your further comments. The challenge is I'm planning on bringing in both new mono blocks as well as new preamp at the same time. Just not sure I can swing the Pass gear (plus there isn't a dealer within driving distance)...
Same here. Doing a significant (for me) upgrade, and considering those two preamps. What amps are you considering. I thought I wanted the XA100.8 or XA160.8, but have been advised to look at the X260.8 to go with ML 15A speakers, for more, um, "Authority". Currently confused...
 

BigGuy

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Same here. Doing a significant (for me) upgrade, and considering those two preamps. What amps are you considering. I thought I wanted the XA100.8 or XA160.8, but have been advised to look at the X260.8 to go with ML 15A speakers, for more, um, "Authority". Currently confused...
You may want to talk to Mark @ Reno Hi Fi, Pass' number 1 dealer in US for years. He recommended a pair of XA60.8's to both myself with CLX's and a friend with 13A's. Neither one of us has any issue getting the ML's to sing regardless of genre...buddy is into classic rock. IIRC, while the 60.8 is a "nominal" 60 watts, one of the review mags measured the actual output near 250 watts. Mark usually has a lot of Pass used gear and is very accommodating on 30 day trials.
 

jtucker

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I think you all will find that Pass amplification works really well with ML. Been using a Pass INT-150 with my Montis for the last few years.
 

BDH55

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Same here. Doing a significant (for me) upgrade, and considering those two preamps. What amps are you considering. I thought I wanted the XA100.8 or XA160.8, but have been advised to look at the X260.8 to go with ML 15A speakers, for more, um, "Authority". Currently confused...
Actually, I'm not quite settled in on anything yet, but Pass is definitely still in the running. One of the members here pointed me toward the X260.8 and I wondered if that would have enough power for my 15A's (currently running Para JC1 mono blocks at 800 wpc). As I mentioned, there are no Pass dealers within several hundred of miles of me so I reached out to the factory and got into a long (but very helpful) back and forth with Kent English. Even though I have a good sized room, once he fully understood my situation, he immediately settled in on the X260.8, and the XP-22 for the preamp. I tried to lean toward the Class A side of their lineup and he immediately pointed me back to the X260.8. BTW, he also recommended I talk to Reno HiFi as BigGuy mentioned.

Other amps on my list in descending order of 'likelihood' are Constellation Mono 1.0 and Mark Levinson 536 (both likely out of budget and no local dealer), PS Audio BHK 300 (very desired but their preamp doesn't have a feature I need), McIntosh MC611, and the easiest choice would be for me to just drop in a pair of the new Para JC1+ monos. In the end I may just stick with my current JC1's as they are fantastic amps. However, it's always fun to look, and I am at that point in life that I can afford to splurge some. Besides, with no children, the wife and I can either give everything we worked all our lives for to the nieces and nephews.... OR.... we can spend on us. We are leaning toward the latter...
 

ttocs

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Besides, with no children, the wife and I can either give everything we worked all our lives for to the nieces and nephews.... OR.... we can spend on us. We are leaning toward the latter...
That's what Frank and Estelle Costanza decided to do and they bought a new Cadillac, to George's dismay. (Seinfeld, George's parents)
 

Len44

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Actually, I'm not quite settled in on anything yet, but Pass is definitely still in the running. One of the members here pointed me toward the X260.8 and I wondered if that would have enough power for my 15A's (currently running Para JC1 mono blocks at 800 wpc). As I mentioned, there are no Pass dealers within several hundred of miles of me so I reached out to the factory and got into a long (but very helpful) back and forth with Kent English. Even though I have a good sized room, once he fully understood my situation, he immediately settled in on the X260.8, and the XP-22 for the preamp. I tried to lean toward the Class A side of their lineup and he immediately pointed me back to the X260.8. BTW, he also recommended I talk to Reno HiFi as BigGuy mentioned.
This was also my experience. Same recommendation (by Kent) on the amplifiers. Got into a discussion about Voltage vs Current, and as mentioned previously, "Authority". I also was leaning rather heavily toward the Class A side (XA100.8 / XA160.8), but was eventually pointed toward the X260.8, or possibly the X350.8. So, as mentioned, I'm a bit confused (even more than usual). Please keep us posted.
 

rluciano

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I have the XP-32, it replaced an Audio Research Reference 2 MkII. The Pass offers more detail and smoothness without giving up much of the tube warmth. My power amps are the PS Audio BHK monos. That front end is probably overkill for my ESL-11As. I have been considering ESL-15a, CLX or Soundlabs or now for something completely different German Physiks, either the Borderland MkIV or the Unicorn MkII.
 

Northy

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Actually, I'm not quite settled in on anything yet, but Pass is definitely still in the running. One of the members here pointed me toward the X260.8 and I wondered if that would have enough power for my 15A's (currently running Para JC1 mono blocks at 800 wpc). As I mentioned, there are no Pass dealers within several hundred of miles of me so I reached out to the factory and got into a long (but very helpful) back and forth with Kent English. Even though I have a good sized room, once he fully understood my situation, he immediately settled in on the X260.8, and the XP-22 for the preamp. I tried to lean toward the Class A side of their lineup and he immediately pointed me back to the X260.8. BTW, he also recommended I talk to Reno HiFi as BigGuy mentioned.

Other amps on my list in descending order of 'likelihood' are Constellation Mono 1.0 and Mark Levinson 536 (both likely out of budget and no local dealer), PS Audio BHK 300 (very desired but their preamp doesn't have a feature I need), McIntosh MC611, and the easiest choice would be for me to just drop in a pair of the new Para JC1+ monos. In the end I may just stick with my current JC1's as they are fantastic amps. However, it's always fun to look, and I am at that point in life that I can afford to splurge some. Besides, with no children, the wife and I can either give everything we worked all our lives for to the nieces and nephews.... OR.... we can spend on us. We are leaning toward the latter...

Kent English is amazing to deal with. He will go back and forth until you extend the olive branch! Dave here may not agree with me, but I am sold on class A. Bear in mind XA amps can get into class AB and provide tremendous power. The fire power under the hood is just jaw-dropping. Even in the second baby from the bottom (XA30.8), there is 240,000 micro farads of capacitance. I have not seen such reserves even in some 300-watt amplifiers from so called boutique manufactures that charge an arm and a leg. Speaking of capacitance, the XP-22 preamp, has 160,000 micro farads of capacitance - it is insane. The combo of the two offer 400,000 micro farads of capacitance for tremendous transients and inky, silent sonic background.
 

Robert D

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Kent English is amazing to deal with. He will go back and forth until you extend the olive branch! Dave here may not agree with me, but I am sold on class A. Bear in mind XA amps can get into class AB and provide tremendous power. The fire power under the hood is just jaw-dropping. Even in the second baby from the bottom (XA30.8), there is 240,000 micro farads of capacitance. I have not seen such reserves even in some 300-watt amplifiers from so called boutique manufactures that charge an arm and a leg. Speaking of capacitance, the XP-22 preamp, has 160,000 micro farads of capacitance - it is insane. The combo of the two offer 400,000 micro farads of capacitance for tremendous transients and inky, silent sonic background.
Reading that was like looking through the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition when I was in high school! Im drooling over here.
 

Len44

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So, folks -- please enlighten me a little bit more. I (if memory serves) had thought I had read (long ago) that MLs needed High-Current amplification, in order to handle the impedance swings. Now I'm hearing that it is the Voltage that matters more with MLs. Would one of you smart folks that understand all this kindly take a shot at explaining this to me? I will do my best to understand.
 

BDH55

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So, folks -- please enlighten me a little bit more. I (if memory serves) had thought I had read (long ago) that MLs needed High-Current amplification, in order to handle the impedance swings. Now I'm hearing that it is the Voltage that matters more with MLs. Would one of you smart folks that understand all this kindly take a shot at explaining this to me? I will do my best to understand.
I second that motion!! Even though Kent walked me thru the whole current vs voltage thing, I just never really understood. Especially since some of what he shared 'seemed' to be going against what some of their technical docs stated. Please enlighten me Obi-Wan...
 

Northy

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Before I bought my XA30.8 amp (30-watt Class A), I had a couple of emails back and forth with the man himself Nelson Pass. Initially, I wanted to buy a First Watt amp, but Nelson indicated that would not be a good match. So he assured me that the Theos would mate very well with the XA30.8 and boy was he right? The match is amazing.
 
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