Pass Labs XP-32

Jay Jay French

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Jun 30, 2020
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I recently got the XP-32 which replaced the great PS Audio BHK. Power amp is a Pass 250.8, speakers. Magico A3's.

Thoughts coming soon...
 
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PeterA

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Congratulations Jay. Pass and Magico is a match made in heaven. In my opinion of course. I look forward to reading your impressions of the new preamp.
 
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GSOphile

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Sep 4, 2017
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Would like to hear from anyone here pairing a Pass pre with a Gryphon amp? Does this pairing work well?
 
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planarman

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Apr 30, 2017
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The XP 32 is now our Reference at Sound Insight’s showroom.
It has The most clarity and focus of any preamp We have heard to date.
The noise floor is actually very impressive as well.
This video was taken at our customers house who wanted to audition it and compare it to his state of the art vacuum tube preamp. Headphones will definitely help give you a sense of the tonality.

 

Mikem53

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@MAXPWR , Thank you for your detailed description of your pass XP 32 breakin ! Beautiful unit !
I‘m a couple of models below yours, but hopefully will get some of the virtues you are describing as it breaks in..
 
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MAXPWR

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@MAXPWR , Thank you for your detailed description of your pass XP 32 breakin ! Beautiful unit !
I‘m a couple of models below yours, but hopefully will get some of the virtues you are describing as it breaks in..
@Mikem53 , You are welcome and I think you will be very happy with your XP-12 combined with the wonderful Pass Labs XA25 amplifier. I was one of the first to describe my experiences with the Pass Labs XP-32, PererA followed with a excellent review, but I'm surprised there has not been more people sharing their experience with this fine piece of equipment. It has been a bit over a year since it was introduced, so I'm hoping to see a review by a professional reviewer will show up soon. I see that the latest issue of The Absolute Sound has a full page ad for the XP-32 preamp, so maybe that is an omen a review may be forthcoming.

Enjoy!
 
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tobiasrankin

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Has anyone compared XP30 to XP32?

As an aside I recently came across the coda 07x. Someone remarked when comparing it to the XP30 that they found no difference in the sound. That was quite shocking to me given the price difference and the fact the coda is a small thin 11 lb box. But who knows there could have been many other factors at play.
 

PeterA

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Has anyone compared XP30 to XP32?

As an aside I recently came across the coda 07x. Someone remarked when comparing it to the XP30 that they found no difference in the sound. That was quite shocking to me given the price difference and the fact the coda is a small thin 11 lb box. But who knows there could have been many other factors at play.

I have not directly compare the XP 30 to the XP 32. However I have had them both in my system at different times. I directly compared my XP 20 to a friends XP 30 in my system. My impression was the XP 30 was warmer and only slightly lower in noise. The resolution was slightly better.

Over time I replaced the XP20 with the XP 22. It was only a minor upgrade. But then I brought in the XP 32 and Immediately heard a significant improvement. It retained the neutral tonal balance and had a significantly lower noise floor.

The result was much improved resolution, fewer colorations, and more natural sound. The XP 32 is the best preamplifier I’ve heard in my system.
 
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tobiasrankin

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I have not directly compare the XP 30 to the XP 32. However I have had them both in my system at different times. I directly compared my XP 20 to a friends XP 30 in my system. My impression was the XP 30 was warmer and only slightly lower in noise. The resolution was slightly better.

Over time I replaced the XP20 with the XP 22. It was only a minor upgrade. But then I brought in the XP 32 and Immediately heard a significant improvement. It retained the neutral tonal balance and had a significantly lower noise floor.

The result was much improved resolution, fewer colorations, and more natural sound. The XP 32 is the best preamplifier I’ve heard in my system.

Have you compared the XP32 to any organic, musical sounding tube Pres such as Arc ref 6 or 6SE, VAC renissance mk 5, sig mk2 se ? etc
 

BlueFox

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Have you compared the XP32 to any organic, musical sounding tube Pres such as Arc ref 6 or 6SE, VAC renissance mk 5, sig mk2 se ? etc
‘organic, musical sounding’?
 

the sound of Tao

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‘organic, musical sounding’?
I think he’s saying tubes Bud ;) ... personally I’m thinking OTL or DHT but to each his own. We all travel with our own individual suitcases of audio poison.
 
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Mikem53

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Have you compared the XP32 to any organic, musical sounding tube Pres such as Arc ref 6 or 6SE, VAC renissance mk 5, sig mk2 se ? etc
Have you compared anything to the XP32, or is that considered a category outside of organic/musical ?
I find the XP preamp sound to be quite neutral, never any question coming to mind about its topology.
 

PeterA

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Have you compared the XP32 to any organic, musical sounding tube Pres such as Arc ref 6 or 6SE, VAC renissance mk 5, sig mk2 se ? etc

No, not directly in my system. I have heard many tube preamps in friends' systems though. My chain is all Pass Labs, and I have not had the opportunity to try a tube preamp in my system.

Have you heard the XP32, and if so, in what context and in comparison to what?

I don't really understand what you mean by the terms "organic" and "musical sounding". I have heard tube preamps by ARC and VAC ("etc") in the past in other systems, but could never isolate their contribution to the overall sound.
 

MAXPWR

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Have you compared the XP32 to any organic, musical sounding tube Pres such as Arc ref 6 or 6SE, VAC renissance mk 5, sig mk2 se ? etc
Here is a comparison to an ARC REF 6 on the Audionirvana forum. Check out the first post, which may answer your question.

 
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tobiasrankin

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Here is a comparison to an ARC REF 6 on the Audionirvana forum. Check out the first post, which may answer your question.


Thanks that was helpful.

In terms of organic and musical I suppose I mean something that conveys more body to the sound, especially in the midrange. Somewhat more bass emphasis and smooth but not rolled treble extension. Also that effect many tube linestages have of conveying depth and space in the soundstage and around instruments.

I have never heard XP32 myself no. I love my x350.8 and considering pairing it with a pass pre.
 

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
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Thanks that was helpful.

In terms of organic and musical I suppose I mean something that conveys more body to the sound, especially in the midrange. Somewhat more bass emphasis and smooth but not rolled treble extension. Also that effect many tube linestages have of conveying depth and space in the soundstage and around instruments.

I have never heard XP32 myself no. I love my x350.8 and considering pairing it with a pass pre.
I am using the XP12, single chassis of the same preamp. I was hesitant to give up my tube Preamp for the reasons you mentioned above, especially when it comes to silky highs and “airy” presentation. I have all these NOS tubes too that I have collected throughout the years.. After living with the XA25 for some time, and realizing how good it was compared to my previous tube amps, I had to give the Pass preamp a trial in my system and see if the Pass synergy and Pre was anything “special”.
Almost give up on the pre around the first week.. It took forever to break-in and loosen up.. Seriously.. it was a month before I got to hear it open up.. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it as I thought I would, because of my preconceived notion that tubes just sound “better”.
The Pass has all the virtues of tubes, but with more accuracy, pinpoint soundstaging Than I was experiencing with my BAT preamp. Everything seems more realistic but never harsh or edgy.
I do catch Myself listening at louder volumes.. It begs to be turned up as things just sound so good, so clear you don’t realize how loud it can get, so clean.. I’m adjusting to this aspect. It’s worth a try, IME.
More accuracy without any fatigue or hardness.. I started with the XP12, but already have plans to upgrade to the XP22 in the future..
 
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tobiasrankin

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I am using the XP12, single chassis of the same preamp. I was hesitant to give up my tube Preamp for the reasons you mentioned above, especially when it comes to silky highs and “airy” presentation. I have all these NOS tubes too that I have collected throughout the years.. After living with the XA25 for some time, and realizing how good it was compared to my previous tube amps, I had to give the Pass preamp a trial in my system and see if the Pass synergy and Pre was anything “special”.
Almost give up on the pre around the first week.. It took forever to break-in and loosen up.. Seriously.. it was a month before I got to hear it open up.. I’m glad I didn’t give up on it as I thought I would, because of my preconceived notion that tubes just sound “better”.
The Pass has all the virtues of tubes, but with more accuracy, pinpoint soundstaging Than I was experiencing with my BAT preamp. Everything seems more realistic but never harsh or edgy.
I do catch Myself listening at louder volumes.. It begs to be turned up as things just sound so good, so clear you don’t realize how loud it can get, so clean.. I’m adjusting to this aspect. It’s worth a try, IME.
More accuracy without any fatigue or hardness.. I started with the XP12, but already have plans to upgrade to the XP22 in the future..
Do you find it gives you that rich tubey midrange ? Is it warm sounding or more neutral? Do you leave it on all the time ?
 

Audire

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Do you find it gives you that rich tubey midrange ? Is it warm sounding or more neutral? Do you leave it on all the time ?
I have an XP-22 with Pass X260.8s. It’s tube like. Absolutely wonderful. I leave the XP-22 on all the time and the amps in standby mode. The XP-32 would definitely be a great upgrade.
 
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Mikem53

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Do you find it gives you that rich tubey midrange ? Is it warm sounding or more neutral? Do you leave it on all the time ?
I would not label it as tubey or rich. It's more neutral, just to the right of neutral. Everything is well defined with good tonal balance. It's also more of a "you are there" presentation about 6 rows back from stage..
Not a "they are here" presentation like I get with my passive.. I'm finding the pinpoint accuracy brings out the best in classical music.. Nothing is exaggerated or overly lush.. Bad recordings will still sound bad.
It's my first SS Linestage in decades, and I'm very impressed. Just be patient if you give one a try.. It's a long break in period.
 
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