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Pass Labs 20 Years and Counting

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Old 03-14-2021, 07:31 PM
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SteveJ SteveJ is offline
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Default Pass Labs phono preamps

I am looking for your impressions of Pass Labs phone preamps.

At present I am using a Pass Pearl II phono preamp and have no reason to be disappointed with it but I wonder…….would there be discernible improvement with another phono preamp such as a Pass Labs XP-15?

The rest of the system is a Pass Labs XP-20 and an X-250.5. I am looking for another X-250.5 to biamp.

The cartridge is a ZYX 4D Series Omega, X Type, Cryod 6N Crystal copper coil wire, .24 mV output.

Input from those who have experience, either owning or listening, to a system with a Pass Labs phono preamp would be very much appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2021, 08:57 PM
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No direct impressions here, but I am one of those folks that thinks there is generally less downside and sometimes more upside when matching a pre and amp from the same manufacturer (they’re likely not going to make a combo that will suck). Good luck with it - a good phono pre can change a lot of things.
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Old 03-16-2021, 05:21 AM
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Thank you for the reply and congrats on your new TT.

I too am of the high mass school of TT theory but mine weighs only 120 lbs.
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Old 03-16-2021, 06:16 AM
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I have been using the XP-17 for the last year and really like it. It was a no-brainer to go with my X-22 preamp and X260.8 amps. It is the best phono stage I have owned. It is dead quiet, very flexible in terms of settings, dynamic, detailed, and overall very enjoyable. For the price, it was an easy choice. I have since tried a Doshi all-tube phono stage and while it had more bloom and tube qualities, I much prefer the XP-17. This is the first time I've had an all solid-state system and at this point, there is nothing I'd like to improve on.
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Old 03-19-2021, 12:40 PM
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Thank you for the thoughtful response and congratulations on assembling a system that meets your criterion. You have an impressive assemblage of Pass equipment.

Do you alternate cartridges?
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Old 03-20-2021, 06:40 AM
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Yes, I go back and forth between the PC1 and Lyra Etna. Overall I prefer the Lyra for its greater detail and dynamics. I keep each cartridge on for a couple of hundred hours, then switch.
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Old 04-23-2021, 09:18 AM
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I have both the XP17 and XP27 in two different all Pass system 1. XP 22 and X250.5, 2. XP32 and XA100.8’s. Both are the some of the quietest phono stage’s I’ve experienced and highly flexible. Initially they sound thin compared to my previous ARC REF. 3 however once you have 50-100 hours they start to open up and fill out. They are very three dimensional, providing precise placement but what really makes them stand out is image height. None of my prior phono’s rendered height as well as the Pass phono’s.
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