Pass Labs XP-22

ack

VIP/Donor & WBF Founding Member
May 6, 2010
5,235
27
48
Boston, MA
#21
Yes you are right, you didn’t actually claim one is better than the other, I read a bit too much into it
 
Sep 1, 2013
112
1
18
Chicago, IL
#23
Another XP20 with Revelation umbilical user here. Looking forward to the comparison notes for the XP20 vs XP22.

I was able to audition the XS pre in my system and that set the bar for me. Unfortunately the audition came too late as the unit I wanted to buy had already sold. If the XP22 closes the gap to the XS, I’ll be giving Mark a call for sure.
 
Mar 13, 2012
58
1
8
#24
I've owned the Pass Aleph P, X-1, XP-10, XP-20, and now XP-30. Every move up was easily appreciable, to me.
The XP-20 and XP-22 have only (2) balanced inputs available. Every input on the XP-30 is available balanced or single ended.
This really matters to me. I have (2) balanced sources now. I don't want to be limited in my future options by having only (2) balanced inputs on my preamp.
- If any of my long time audio buddies were here now, they'd remind me of my concrete assertion when I got my XP-20, "I'm done upgrading my preamp!"
 

cjf

Member
Nov 19, 2012
323
1
18
#25
OK...so who's received their XP-22? I saw a few folks mention they ordered one. Waiting for impressions with bated breath and a strong grip on my credit card :)
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,088
5
38
Silicon Valley
#26
I am sitting here waiting for UPS to deliver mine. It was supposed to be delivered yesterday, and then it was pushed to today. I have the feeling it will be sometime next week before it shows up.
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,088
5
38
Silicon Valley
#28
Yes. It was out for delivery yesterday, but I guess they are so busy it wasn't delivered. Okay, I understand that, but if that happens then any left over items should be the first items delivered the next day. Personally, I dislike UPS for a number of reasons, and it really irks me when vendors I respect use them, and not Fed-Ex.
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,595
15
38
Sydney
#29
I liked my XP-20 when I owned it. really nice SS pre amp and excellent for the $$. Many reviews said the XP-30 was different ( warmer) but not better sounding.

I hope the XP-22 is an incremental improvement.

if the upcoming replacement for the XP-25 can fix its noise issues and get a little more extension up top, it will be a winner. a memory on setting would be great as well.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,032
65
48
North Shore of Boston
#30
I liked my XP-20 when I owned it. really nice SS pre amp and excellent for the $$. Many reviews said the XP-30 was different ( warmer) but not better sounding.

I hope the XP-22 is an incremental improvement.

if the upcoming replacement for the XP-25 can fix its noise issues and get a little more extension up top, it will be a winner. a memory on setting would be great as well.
I have had the new XP-22 in my system for three weeks now and am directly comparing it to my XP-20. I will write up a more lengthy report shortly, but for now, I can tell you that I definitely prefer the XP22 to the XP20. I agree with that assessment about the XP20/XP30. I should qualify that by saying that my Transparent cables were calibrated for the 20 and not for the 30, but I did hear a warmer overall tonal balance from the 30. Resolution was slightly higher than with the 20, but I preferred the more neutral presentation of the 20 with my XA160.5 amps.

The XP22 has a lower noise floor and is more resolving that the 20. It retains the neutral tonal balance, but it is more transparent. I have done both rapid A/B/A comparisons with the same, non Transparent cable, and then longer term listening evaluations with the re-calibrated Transparent cable and compared that to my memory of the XP20 with the correctly calibrated Transparent cable. I have also performed blind A/B and A/B/X tests on two friends who know my system well. Results of these tests showed a consistently audible difference between the two, though preference varied amongst the participants.

I am hearing details and spacial effects from recordings which I never noticed before with the XP20. I would say the improvement is incremental or evolutionary rather than revolutionary. It is hard to say whether or not the 22 is better than the 30 given that I have not heard them together with properly calibrated cables, but there is a distinct tonal balance difference. Given that a used XP30 costs about the same as a new XP22, I would rather own a new XP22, given my system and preferences.

The question becomes are the differences or improvements between the 20 and the 22 worth the cost of the upgrade/exchange. If one does not already have the 20, then I would say that the 22 represents a great value within the Pass line of preamps and is well worth the price in the right system. If one already has the excellent XP20, then it is worth thinking about whether the additional cost for the 22 would make a bigger difference if spent on something like a new cartridge, isolation platform, tonearm, subwoofer or DAC.

In my own case, I don't have a digital source, and I could get something like the Schiit Yggy plus transport or server for the price to upgrade to the XP22. That is the type of decision no one can make for someone else. For me, I'd rather have a better preamp from Pass Labs than add a digital source to my system.

I will add some photos when I have a moment.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,337
129
63
Beverly Hills, CA
#31
Thank you for this report, Peter. While I personally am not versed in the Pass Lans line-up I think this report and your future reports would be very valuable and instructive for someone choosing between and among these components!
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,032
65
48
North Shore of Boston
#32
Thank you for this report, Peter. While I personally am not versed in the Pass Lans line-up I think this report and your future reports would be very valuable and instructive for someone choosing between and among these components!
Thanks Ron. Here are two photos of the XP20 an XP22 on my rack ready for easy cable swapping. The XP25 phono is on the floor stacked on a Townshend Seismic Sink. Not the differences between the umbilical cords. For the direct A/B comparisons, sighted and blind, we used a long balanced Burley Wire cable. For the longer term listening tests, we used both the Burley on each preamp and a Transparent Audio REF XL balanced cable for the XP22 which was sent to Transparent for re-calibration for the lower output impedance of the XP22.

The XP20 will be sent to Reno Hifi for the trade in at which point the XP25 will go back on the second shelf and the XP22 will remain on the third shelf. I will compare this configuration to the two control units on the second shelf with the two power supplies on the third shelf.

DSC_3205 2.jpg

DSC_3208 2.jpg
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,088
5
38
Silicon Valley
#34
Peter, nice review, and was pretty much what I was expecting. I love it when a new piece of gear/cable lets me hear new details in familiar music. Looking forward to my own experience once this UPS disaster is resolved.

One question. When you compared the XP-20 to the XP-22, were you using the Revelation Audio umbilical on the XP-20?
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,032
65
48
North Shore of Boston
#35
Peter, nice review, and was pretty much what I was expecting. I love it when a new piece of gear/cable lets me hear new details in familiar music. Looking forward to my own experience once this UPS disaster is resolved.

One question. When you compared the XP-20 to the XP-22, were you using the Revelation Audio umbilical on the XP-20?
Hi Bud,

No, I only have one Revelation Audio umbilical and I use it on my XP-27 phono stage. I see your point. If I used it on the XP-20, perhaps the sonic differences between the two preamps might be less. I'll see if I can switch things around to do that comparison, but it will be a hassle with the rack space as my RA umbilical is pretty short.
 

cjf

Member
Nov 19, 2012
323
1
18
#36
Does anyone have a theory on why the Resolution Audio Cable would be making a difference on these PreAmps? Is the original cable not shielded, using an insufficient gauge wire or perhaps not even using copper as a conductor? I know Pass isn't much into tweaks but it is interesting that they would let these PreAmps (XP20 & XP30) out the door using bog standard printer cables if they would have a less than ideal performance outcome.

I get that these are just a Power Cord in the case of the XP20 and a Power/Controls Cord in the case of the XP30 but if the original cable is anything less than ideal already seems odd to me considering the importance of the link when dealing with separate chassis that are dependent on each other.

I'm not doubting those who use them and say they are better but just curious why the weak link to begin with?
 

Bso

New Member
Sep 30, 2016
66
0
0
Massachusetts/Toronto
#37
1. How many dB per "click" does the new preamp raise the volume? 1dB, 0.5 dB, or 0.2 dB?
2. An factory upgraded Xono or even Aleph Ono is an excellent choice for those on a budget. BTW I have found Pass Labs customer service excellent.
3. Since the new phono stage will drive long balanced lines well (as did the older models), why don't you try putting to 'table and preamp in another room, preferably suspended from the ceiling? You may find the sound improves dramatically. When we had a much larger dedicated music room, we did almost this, viz. we used a wall shell for the 'table. One can try different things.
Enjoy your upgrades!
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,088
5
38
Silicon Valley
#38
Can't speak for Pass, but what I observed was that the stock umbilical is a cheap, throw-away, plastic DB-25 cable. No idea of the conductor size or material. The Revelation Audio cable is a Mil-Spec metal DB-25 with silver conductors and cyro treated. Probably both cables show the same values with a multi-meter, but we all know there is more to audio than numbers.

If Pass didn't recognize the stock umbilical wasn't up to audiophile standards I doubt they would have replaced it on the XP-22 with a new 10 pin umbilical using aircraft grade plugs and connectors.

Does anyone have a theory on why the Resolution Audio Cable would be making a difference on these PreAmps? Is the original cable not shielded, using an insufficient gauge wire or perhaps not even using copper as a conductor? I know Pass isn't much into tweaks but it is interesting that they would let these PreAmps (XP20 & XP30) out the door using bog standard printer cables if they would have a less than ideal performance outcome.

I get that these are just a Power Cord in the case of the XP20 and a Power/Controls Cord in the case of the XP30 but if the original cable is anything less than ideal already seems odd to me considering the importance of the link when dealing with separate chassis that are dependent on each other.

I'm not doubting those who use them and say they are better but just curious why the weak link to begin with?
 
Last edited:

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,032
65
48
North Shore of Boston
#39
1. How many dB per "click" does the new preamp raise the volume? 1dB, 0.5 dB, or 0.2 dB?
2. An factory upgraded Xono or even Aleph Ono is an excellent choice for those on a budget. BTW I have found Pass Labs customer service excellent.
3. Since the new phono stage will drive long balanced lines well (as did the older models), why don't you try putting to 'table and preamp in another room, preferably suspended from the ceiling? You may find the sound improves dramatically. When we had a much larger dedicated music room, we did almost this, viz. we used a wall shell for the 'table. One can try different things.
Enjoy your upgrades!
I think each number on the volume controls of the XP20 and XP22 are about 1dB.

I owned both the Xono and the Aleph Ono. The Xono is better and I agree it is a great value on the used market. Yes, Pass Labs customer service is excellent.

I like the convenience of having the turntable in the same room, though I agree, it might sound better further away from the speakers.
 

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