Has anyone used the PASS XP-15 with the ZYX 4D-S MC cartridge? I currently have the Glider high output and the Audio Research PH3SE. There is barely enough gain without the PH3 yet using it tends to overdrive the phono section. Hence, the desire to change both components and add some flexibility. There seems to be a lot of good buzz about both components. Thanks in advance.
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here is barely enough gain without the PH3 yet using it tends to overdrive the phono section.
I don't understand. The PH3SE is a phono stage, no? W/o it, what are you using for RIAA equalization and boosting the signal to line stage input voltage? Maybe I am missing something here, but....
I'm sorry... I wasn't clear. I was using the high output Glider with the phono section of my Audible Illusions preamp. That setup did not provide enough gain. I then purchased the ARC PH3SE thinking I could use it and bypass the phono section of the Audible Illusions. Now The Glider with the PH3 has TOO much gain so I need to either: get a medium output cartridge to use with the PH3 (since it has a fixed 54db of gain) or get a low output cartridge, like the ZYX, and then a phono stage that has more gain, like the PASS.

I am leaning toward upgrading both items and then selling the PH3SE, which apparently is a "tweener" for my setup. Thanks for your help.
Whatever phono stage you get next, make sure it has the ability to change gain settings at the very least. Most offer changes in gain and loading, some even offer the ability to change capacitance. Having a flexible phono stage makes analog a lot easier and more fun. Flexibility is the key.
I would also consider the arm/cartridge pairing as you go down this path. Ask someone like DougDeacon about ZYX cartridges. He seems to have a lot of experience.
The Pass Xono is extremely flexible and a great value used for about $2K. The XP-15 is supposedly better, though I have not heard one yet.
I'm using a Pass XP-15 with ZYX 4D low output and my system has never sounded better. As a few have said having a flexible phono is important, I had a fixed phono for years...the Tom Evans Groove. The XP-15 just made life a lot easier for me.

I see you use tubes for your pre and power amps. Did you notice any change in the sound when adding the PASS phono amp? I guess what I am wondering is in an all-Audio Research tube system like mine, will a solid state phono section change the overall characteristics of my system? (I am using Magnepan 3.3s but have the 3.7s on order and should see them in about two weeks.)
For me the Pass XP25 is one of the best phono stages period with all the benefits of SS and none of the drawbacks typically associated with SS. I love tubes for many things but in the case of the Pass XP25 it defies the need for tubes with a natural sound that is dynamic and detailed with absolutely no hint of grain. Detail galore, bass that is unrivaled and an ease of use that only misses a remote that is mostly unnecessary.
The High Output Glider has 2.5mV and is a Moving Coil Cartridge made for MM Input. The PH3 with its 54dB is simply to sensitive for that, MM inputs are normally in the 35-40dB range. Buying a matching cartridge (for example Glider Medium, with 0.75mV) is cheaper than buying a new Phono Preamp. Ask your Dealer for a Benz Trade and it is done. The Glider is top for the money.
Since I have recently improved everything else in my system, I decided to take the next step in the phono area as well.

I bought the Einstein Turntable's Choice which has a fixed gain of 68 db and, when paired with my ARC Ref 3 should deliver enough gain for the low output Benz Micro Gullwing which I also bought. I prefer the lower output cartridges and, after looking at all the factors, decided to just bite the bullet and upgrade.

I originally wanted a unit like the PASS XP15 since it is more flexible, but have heard raves about the Einstein and, so long as I stay with cartridges in the .25 to .35 range, shouldn't really need multiple settings. Hope that reasoning isn't faulty.
Enjoy your new phono stage. I've heard great things about the Einstein, but I have not heard one myself.