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!