Experience with the Pass Labs XP-15 phono stage?


I'm thinking of replacing my ARC PH7 with the Pass Labs XP-15, to give me more flexibility to use low gain MCs.

Anyone made the switch to this phono stage?

Thanks for your help!
lanetim
Swanny,

I've had the XP-15 in my system for 3 days, so it is still breaking in. I can tell there is an absence of grain, and the sound is very clean. However, at this point it does not have the excitement and 'air' around percussive elements like triangles and cymbals, and the beautiful midrange which the PH7 has in spades.

Did you notice this with your XP-15, and did it develop with further break-in?

Thanks
Tim
OK, I got the XP-15 in, and let it break in for a week. Initially, it seemed very detailed but also very bright and a bit hard in the treble. As it broke in, it did mellow a bit.

Relative to my PH7, it had well articulated bass...individual notes were clearly defined. And it was really quiet...the music seemed to emerge from a totally back background. And it is beautifully built, the casework is excellent. And the user has compete control over not only resistive loading, but also capacitance and gain. It would seem to let you shape the sound of any cartridge to your system.

But as my wife quickly pointed out, it seemed to really emphasize the treble over the midrange. The PH7 was simply more musical, beautiful in tone, and really fun to listen to. With the XP-15, the mind seemed to drift off, listening to an individual instrument, while with the PH7, you just soak up the really huge soundstage and absorb all of the music.

Having my wife come in, I set up the XP-15, and let her listen to a couple of records. Swapping in the PH7, it only took her 1 minute while repeating the 1st record to say 'you can stop now'.

Unfortunately, the XP-15 is not the solution to my little problem. So it went back in the box and was shipped out. A really interesting experiment!!
How much time did you spend optimizing load? That you would report that it emphasized the treble over the midrange suggests this may not have been dialed in.

My XP-15 was never ever bright. Which cartridge do you have?
Soundsmith/VPI Zephyr. I spent quite a bit of time playing around with the capacitance loading. The Zephyr doesn't like loading below 47k, so that's where I left it.
Thanks for the review, Lanetim. Much appreciated.