Pass XP22 demo vs my XP12


I recently had the chance to do an in-home demo of a Pass XP22 pre-amp vs my XP12.

It was nice to do in my home system. Obviously I had to switch inputs as quickly as I could. But I did set things up with a DB meter so outputs were exactly the same.

I was skeptical in regards to their being much of a difference, though I have been a big believer of power supplies throughout the years. But, in reading so much about switching power supplies, I started to even question if having a toroidal power supply still mattered! Call me old-school (though I’m only in my 40’s) but I do think it still matters.

But in regards to the XP12 vs XP22. I figure the "guts" of the pre-amp have to be pretty similar, though I did feel the volume control on the XP22 was a bit better.

Where I really noticed a difference was in the cliche... blacker background. I did really notice more space around instruments and vocalists without a doubt. My bass response was more defined, and a bit quicker with the XP22. The midrange was great with both, but a bit more clear with the XP22 (but not brighter by any means).   The highs on both are quite good.  A bit more space on the XP22, but I wouldn't say more extension (though that would be tough to know as I doubt my hearing goes as high as either pre-amp kicks out). 

I suppose I have to attribute this to the outboard power supply and additional transformer.  As I suspect that is the primary difference. 

It’s funny as I don’t have a way to measure it, but there was no doubt it sounded better. I didn’t want that to be the case as I was throwing around a different DAC (that I also had in house). But to me, in my system with my ears the XP22 made a bigger difference than a newer DAC (though my older DAC still has a fairly recent chip).

I think both are pretty darn neutral (but that is all relative I suppose to what else I have had and heard).  

Looks like the budget is going towards a new pre-amp!
trudat
Hi what were the two DACs you were comparing?
Oppo Sonica and the RME ADI FS2.

The pre-amps made a much bigger difference in sonics than both DAC's.  I heard a slight difference in the DAC's, but not anything I would rave about one over the other on SQ.
trudat,

Have you tried running the RME directly to your amp yet? I recently set mine up direct and I’m not sure I’ll throw my preamp back in the chain except when I want to listen to vinyl. I haven’t put my preamp back in since going direct as I was to get more used to the difference in sound but from memory it’s significantly different and I am afraid maybe better. My ModWright LS 36.5 is a great preamp but the RME ADI 2fs is dead quiet, spooky soundstage with images floating far beyond the walls of my room. If you haven’t tried it yet I’d strongly suggest giving it a run. I’m going balance out to my amp and the cable I’m using cost more than the RME but I think that only shows how great this little DAC is.