Yes! Buy the XP 10. The JC-2 sounds very dry. I even with the J-2 fully broken in, the XP 10 just out of the box killed the JC-2. after 2 weeks times the difference was even bigger. The XP 10 just killed the JC-2.
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I found an earlier thread comparing the JC2 to the XP-20, and they favored the JC-2. I think I like the attenuator on the XP-10 (more precise digital steps as opposed to a motorized pot on the JC-2), but the XP-10 may not have enough gain for my system as its only 7.5 dB. I need closer to 15 dB (5x).
Why not try them both out in your system? With Pass gear, you have the advantage of being able to try it out if you purchase from Mark at Reno Hi-Fi. So why not give it a try in your system? Mark's return policy is superb as is his service. A favorite retailer of mine for sure. I think Audio Advisor sells the JC-2, and they also have a nice return policy as well.
The gain was in
a pre-amp literature document. Maybe out of date info. I spoke with one of the design engineers at Pass Labs and he stated the gain is closer to 9 dB, which matches what you cite from the manual. He suggested that this should be more than enough gain, as most customer requests they get are for reduced gain.
He also gave me some interesting info on how they attenuate the signal, as this is an important distinguishing characteristic vs the JC2's motorized pot. The motorized pot is the one operational nig many have with the JC2 as it is tricky to adjust in small increments. One thing I did not care for was the XP uses coupling caps on input and output, whereas the JC2 does not.
He also mentioned that the XP uses a separate isolating buffer for single ended outputs. This is great for driving things like a sub. The JC2 does not. In the JC2, they take the + side of the balanced as the single ended output, which means you double load the amp if you use both single ended and balanced outputs. I need a sub out so this may be a condern for me with the JC2.