Pass labs xp 20

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Against that backdrop of casual business atmosphere I met with quite serious components, ones made with slavish attention to detail and particular adroitness in design and build quality. For such reasons, Pass Labs has won a reputation in the audiophile community as gear for serious-minded listeners who do not want to work through permutations of gear in order to set up a fine-sound system. Nelson does not handle all design at Pass Labs these days, but instead tapped the expertise of engineer Wayne Coburn to handle the design of the XP-Series of preamplifiers.

pass labs xp 20

Keeping with the traditional sound of Pass Labs equipment, Wayne and Nelson have made a preamp and amp with an open and airy sound — just what the doctor ordered! While this does not circumscribe the entire demographic of audiophiles, it does encompass a large percentage of them. They return to forums and dealers in droves, seeking a panacea for what ails them — the inability to find contentment with the system they currently own.

I noticed that recently in Guinea a new outbreak of Ebola has surfaced. There is no cure for it; the hope is only to contain the hosts, let them die and prevent its propagation. There is, however, a cure for Audiophilia Nervosa and Upgradeitis; the afflicted need to avail them of the proper gear to suit their needs, such as the Pass Labs XP and X The designation is supposed to evoke a high standard of construction and supposedly pristine sound quality.

If I were to ascribe a general sensation about seeing and using the XP I could do much worse than to call it a hospital grade component.

The brushed aluminum casing and washed-out blue LED digits with dual displays for left and right channels evokes images of biological monitors. These are not cuddly kits, but rather cool in a clinical fashion, and they would not appear too out of place next to a centrifuge in a lab. Pass Labs has been making the X series of preamplifiers sinceso a lot of the kinks have been worked out. If the software controlling the preamp ever needs updating, only a socketed microprocessor needs to be changed — safe and secure!

A tape loop with single ended inputs and outputs is provided. The XP has three pair of outputs, all having identical gain structure, one pair balanced and two pair single ended.

pass labs xp 20

Though the single ended outputs are paralleled they have low output impedance and high current capability, so more than one output can be used at a time, i. A couple warnings to ensure healthy use of the Pass Labs XP are in order; the DIN umbilical cable between the power supply and the line stage should never be connected or removed when the power supply unit is plugged into the wall outlet. A tag on the rear of the unit indicates volts, volts, volts or volts.

I have once or twice received a component intended for overseas use having the wrong power supply for the local utility voltage. The Pass Labs X The obligatory hospital-sized power button is just below. The meters always draw attention and are often not understood properly, so I repeat here what I was told about them from my article about the XA This is because the electrical current consumption of our circuits has a fairly high value at all times, a property called the bias.

All it takes to quell fears that the Pass Labs X So, go ahead and lay that irrational demand for a perfectly vertical needle on the Pass Labs meter to rest.Let me begin this review with the punch line. I am using them to update my reference system, and I would put them firmly in the top rank of audio components. I have to confess that I begin my review of each new effort to make the ultimate linestage preamplifier with an instinctive distrust. Somehow, each time, I have to relearn just how important a component a preamp really is by testing a new one.

I suppose that part of my prejudice is driven by the fossil in me. I grew up in a world where tube preamps were filled with features, phonostages, and as many complications as possible. Part of my distrust, however, comes from the impact of the post-modern reconstructionist school of existential high-end audio minimalism.

I not only want complexity; I want simplicity. Who could possibly need more? If you want a great system you do have to spring for a great linestage, and linestage preamps are still getting audibly better.

The Pass XP20 is an excellent case in point. It makes a number of sonic advances over its predecessor: the Pass XO. These differences are not striking, but they are audible. Given good source material and a good system, you can hear that the XP20 lives up to its design goals. It is less noisy than earlier Pass preamps and the XO. Soundstaging detail is clearer and so is soundstage depth. Dynamics are better, especially in lower-level passages, and the mid and lower midrange have slightly more natural tone and even less upper midrange coloration.

Of course this improves the measured and audible dynamic range. Nelson Pass worked hard to do this on the new amps and it was really noticeable.

I decided to pursue this in the new preamplifier. More filtering was used on incoming AC lines, and a newer, larger, low-noise transformer installed. Rectification is done via new low-noise high-speed diodes. During pre-compliance testing for CE certification we invested in a screen room, a spectrum analyzer, and associated test equipmentI was able to find new sources of noise and ways to deal with them.

Very similar to our UGS4, but some newer tighter-tolerance components and a reconfigured feedback scheme gave us what we were looking for in better stability and linearity.

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If the component count can be reduced and the measured performance increased, this almost always turns out to be a good thing. Indeed, it did in this case in that it gives a more transparent sound then our previous efforts. The measured performance was improved almost an order of magnitude on both ends of our typical distortion curves at the extremes.

These are critical areas in music reproduction: low-level information and high-level signals. Many IC solutions have unequal noise on plus and minus. I decided on discrete regulation with some references Nelson started using in the power amps.

Some newer and ROHS-compliant semiconductors were included that turned out to be better performing and lead-free to boot. At the same time, the XP20 does not attempt to revolutionize any aspect of preamp design.

The sonic improvements are not the result of dramatic innovations in circuit topology; they are the kind of differences that show up in listening sessions. This emphasis on listening may also explain why the XP20 focuses on sound at the cost of some features available in previous designs.

Pass Labs amplifiers, Wayne Colburn, look inside the amps, meet Jam Somasundram, founded by Nelson P

It has separate sets of XLR and RCA inputs, rather than offering both for each input position, and it now lacks a mono switching option. It does, however, have a far better and easier to use remote control and a notably more usable volume control with smaller differences in gain at each step. If you adjust level and balance for each recording, and particularly adjust balance to maximize depth and soundstage width at your listening position, the new remote and volume control make it easier to set gain at precisely the level that sounds best.

The basic difference between the two new Pass preamps is that the XP20 has a separate power supply and a tape loop. The new power supply added more capacitance and then I followed that with a capacitance multiplier circuit that gives the on-board regulators a little less work to do.Home New posts Latest activity. Forums New posts Latest activity Search forums. Media New media Search media. Members Registered members Current visitors. Log in. Search Everywhere Threads This forum This thread.

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pass labs xp 20

Latest activity. Search forums. Pass Labs Xp or Xp Thread starter Snoopy72 Start date Mar 8, JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Snoopy72 Member Mar 8, Mar 8, 2 0 6. All, First time post here.With a separate power supply electrically isolating delicate analogue signals in the preamplifier, this cosmetically-matched dual-chassis reference line-stage preamplifier offers significant gains in detail retrieval over the XP without loss of musical soul.

How does this translate into the sonic fidelity you really care about? Instruments and voice are presented in a more refined soundstage, and with better spectral balance.

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Fine nuances and details, which frequently go un-noticed, now become beautifully apparent — even in loud and highly complex musical passages. Your email address will not be published. Pass Labs XP Pass Labs XP quantity. Unauthorized Enquiry. If you want to know more about the way this site handles the data, then please go through our privacy policy. Enquiry email sent successfully!

Description With a separate power supply electrically isolating delicate analogue signals in the preamplifier, this cosmetically-matched dual-chassis reference line-stage preamplifier offers significant gains in detail retrieval over the XP without loss of musical soul.

Most of them still incorporate a lot of the same components used during the original creations decades ago. With their patented SuperSymmetric technology, the company released the X in This groundbreaking design paved the way for how Pass Labs develops models to this day.

Pass Labs XP-20 Preamplifier Review

In short, Pass Labs continues to break boundaries for amplifier design, improving all aspects on every release. Overture is a proud dealer of Pass Labs products, selling customers the best speakers from Pass Labs. Interested in purchasing a new Pass Labs component? Additional information. Reviews 0. Reviews There are no reviews yet. Related products Out Of Stock.Home New posts Latest activity. Forums New posts Latest activity Search forums.

Media New media Search media. Members Registered members Current visitors. Log in. Search Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search titles only. Search Advanced search…. Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search Advanced…. New posts. Latest activity. Search forums. Xp20 - xp JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Sep 20, 1, 9 68 Round Rock, Texas.

Has anyone gone from the XP preamp to the XP preamp? If so, what improvements did you notice, if any? I'm so happy with the XP that I wonder what can be improved. Apr 26, 6, Seattle, WA www. Ha ha. Yeah, it's a delicious dilemma, though.

I made the mistake of reading a review on the XP and now I'm curious.Home New posts Latest activity. Forums New posts Latest activity Search forums. Media New media Search media. Members Registered members Current visitors. Log in. Search Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search titles only. Search Advanced search….

Everywhere Threads This forum This thread. Search Advanced…. New posts. Latest activity. Search forums. Pass Labs Xp or Xp Thread starter Snoopy72 Start date Mar 8, JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Snoopy72 Member Mar 8, Mar 8, 2 0 6. All, First time post here. I'm in the market for pre-amp. Have anyone done comparing between those two?

Thanks, Hoang. Dec 7, 6, 1, North Shore of Boston. Snoopy72 said:. Last edited: Mar 9, Snoopy72 Member Mar 9, Peter, Thanks for the responded.

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I'm thinking getting used XP20 but open to all the suggestion. Sep 4, 86 Contact Kent English at Pass customer service. He's very good at answering these kinds of questions in general and within the context of your system and musical preferences. BlueFox Member Sponsor Mar 9, Nov 8, 1, PeterA said:.I had no problem distinguishing it from my previous reference, a circa YBA Alpha 1 linestage.

The XP was more relaxed in the midrange and had every bit as much detail while forming more realistic renderings of bass depth and register while still serving a more suave treble.

pass labs xp 20

The bass reproduction allowed me to hear quite clearly I'd been living with "one note bass" with nearly every preamplifier I've used previously. I struggled to characterize the sound of the XP Surely there was a signature to it, but it was not evident to me.

My speakers tend to be cruel to match and so I tend to be "forgiving" in appraising gear. The XP was a good match with my speakers, allowing different sources to easily show their character. I held on to the XP thinking about buying it, while trying to live a normal life during a tumultuous personal period. When ended and I was ready to take the leap, Pass Labs' Desmond Harrington offered to send the XP before I committed to the XP, as buyer's remorse is a painful love letter to read.

Did I want to? Not really. In fact, though I'd previously asked to review the XP when it became available, I was wondering if it was bad form to ask to bow out. Monogamy doesn't work when you're dating outside the relationship, if you know what I mean, and if the XP worked well with my system But, if being an audiophile doesn't bear the markings of foolishness, then surely an audiophilish reviewer bears such markings writ large. I've owned my speakers, previous preamplifier and turntable, each for more than ten years which I assert argues for being a monogamist, but I am merely a repeat repenter audio-slut.

But the XP whispered in my ear and The newer preamplifier, like its progenitor, also has five inputs, three of which are balanced, one of which can function as a home theater bypass.

TESTED: Pass XP20 preamplifier and XA160.5 monoblock power amplifier

Source and volume can be selected from the front panel or using the substantial remote control. The XP has a new power supply that utilizes an electrostatic shield and a mu metal shield.

As a lay person, it appears these two work to block the effect of an electric field, both external static and non-static. Sharing technology with a product priced nearly seven times higher would appear to bode well for an "entry level" preamplifier, even at this price.

Pass Labs XP-20

I imagine that some of these features play into the "sound" of the XP Visually, aside from the silk screened XP, I noted no differences between the two preamplifiers. I imagine you might be reading this note wondering if the XP sounds better than, the same as, or not as good as the XP And the answer is yes, yes and For those that want the Wikipedia answer, the XP seems a distinctly more refined preamplifier with a yet finer granularity—or so I imagine as I hear no granularity with either.

Granularity is perhaps the wrong word here, as that implies a detectable granule, and I did not note any. Perhaps it is instructive to say its liquidity was less viscous and obscuring? Think of the XP as better educated, more refined, and more worldly if you will. It sounds very similar to the XP, but the Stygian and cavernous bass of the XP is less immediately evident—it remains, but it walks through the door more surreptitiously until thundering feet announce themselves.

Metaphorically, one might say the XP is Catherine Denueve to the XP's Raquel Welch, both very attractive in different ways, with the latter having more The slightly more "obvious" bass characteristic of the XP will appeal to listeners who partake of electronic music, which features deeper bass than acoustic instruments produce. And, the point of deep bass in electronica is to be noticed and experienced as force, which might give a nod to the XP It occurs to me the bass performance is as good with the XP as with the XP, but it's just not as obvious.

However, for those inclined toward acoustic instruments and their realistic reproduction, both would be great with me giving a nod to the XP I plugged the XP in for a few days to warm up before listening. The first thing I noticed when the XP sent a signal through my system was that it seemed quieter, literally a lower volume level. Both preamplifiers register an output level, fromwhatever gradations that denotes.

Whereas I often listened to the XP in my large room with the display showing volume between "50" and "60," I found the XP playing between "60" and "70," experiencing the sound levels as equivalent. The XP's quiet wasn't necessarily blacker backgrounds


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