Have you tried hooking it up single ended to see if it made a difference?
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Yes I did try using RCA connection and it was worse. It was 6db less than the XLR connection.
I am using Kimber kable, KS-1136.
I also spoke with Mark at Reno Hi-Fi and he suggested using the stock power cord that came with the XP-20 instead of the Silent Source power cord that I am presently using. Using the stock cord had no effect on the preamp's output.
Mark also suggested that I bypass my power conditioner, Furman 20i and see if that made difference. I plugged everything straight into the wall outlet and that did not make any difference either. Mark's thinking was that maybe the aftermarket power cord or the power conditioner was not allowing the proper flow of current. All good ideas but it did not solve my problem. I really appreciated Mark's help.
I hope we can figure this out.
Wow, that's a real puzzler.
According to Stereophile's measurements of the BP25 and the XP-30 (the XP-30 being spec'd identically in terms of maximum gain to the XP-20), the XP-20 is likely to have about 7 db less gain than the BP25. But that doesn't seem like nearly enough of a difference to account for what you are describing.
Although I'd assume you are not using a subwoofer in conjunction with 801's, just to be sure, are the outputs of the amp connected to anything besides the 801's? If by any chance they are, since your amp has bridged outputs (with the negative output terminals of the amp therefore providing signals rather than being grounded), I'm thinking that differences in grounding between the two preamps could perhaps bring out a problem if the amp outputs are connected to anything containing powered circuitry.
Also, I believe the 801's have overload protection circuitry, and an LED that illuminates if an overload is detected. If so, are you sure that it is not illuminating?
Finally, do you still have the BP25, so that you can verify that the system still functions as it used to before you started using the XP-20? Or if not, is there some other preamp you could try?
That's about all I can think of at this point. Good luck.
No I do not have a sub in my system. The 801's are functioning fine, the overload circuit is not coming on. There is nothing else connected to the amp, just XLR's from the XP-20 and speaker cables.
As for the BP-25, yes I do still have it and I have put it back into the system and everything functions perfectly. I have good output gain with plenty of headroom for all components. Thank you for your suggestions.
When you say that you have the Pass at full volume, I assume you mean its turned up as far as it will go.If you go by the read out on the face of the preamp, that may not be enough. Some volume controls start with negative numbers and work they're way up to zero, and keep going after zero. I've seen in the past, where people stop at zero, thinking they are at full volume, and don't realize they can keep going.
I have the XP-15 phono preamp going into an Ayre preamp, and the volume levels are fine.
I've had lots of preamps and it sounds like something is definitely amiss with the unit or the system. Since the BP-25 works, I'd say the culprit must be the Pass XP-20, no matter what the manufacturer says. 83 dB is about 70-80% of what the max volume should be.
A head scratcher.
This is an odd problem. As long as the preamp isn't broken, it should work. You could try some of the other inputs, and also look at the source. I think some of the Esoteric players have their own volume control. If yours does, make sure you have it set at maximum. If the XP-20 has an HT bypass, make sure its set for however you're using it.
If you still can't get it to work properly after trying everyone's suggestions, see if a friend will let you try it in their system
Problem solved !!!
The Esoteric X-05 just failed. Not really happy about this
but now I know what the problem is. I borrowed a cheap Sony
CD player from a neighbor and the Pass Labs XP-20 is
working fine. Output gain level is much more than I need.
Plenty of headroom now. Lots of volume available now.
Thank you everyone for you help and support!