pre for Pass xa60.5

Hi all

just got my Pass xa60.5 and i'm looking for a pre upgrade. Currently I drive them with Lector zoe tube pre (which mates my Lector cdp-7). I usually lean towards tube preamps although I'm not fixed on tube.Budget is around $2500 for a preowned unit.

mu current short list is:

First sound presence
Aesthetix calypso
joule electra la-150
or maybe older Pass models on SS.

I have very limited audition options and i usually buy based on reviews and Agon members' opinions - so every opinion counts.

Thanks in advance for each replier.
I would recommend placing the requirement of fully differential balanced circuitry at the top of your preamp feature list. Balanced pays dividends with these amps.
BTW...I would suggest that spending the $800 that you plan to spend on power cords for your XA-60.5 amps would be probably better spent by increasing your preamp budget to $3300.

I strongly suggest you audition a used Pass XP10. I have the XA160.5 and XP20 and it is a superb combination. I agree with Tvad about going balanced with this amp. Also, forget a fancy power cord for this amp and put the $$ toward a better preamp. Auditioning is key. The XP preamps are considerably better than the Aleph P and X-1 that I had. Mark at RENO HIFI or your local Pass dealer should lend you one of the new XP's for trial.
Good, but not so expensive power cords that work well are the VH Audio Flav 4s, $400 for you monoblocks. Though I do think the preamp will make a much more important difference the the PCs.
I have the Pass XP10. I did own the Aleph P & X1 before.
The XP10 is just better everywhere, even though it is only 1 chassis. The biggest improvement I've found is in detail retrieval. My X1 had 31 volume steps. The XP10 has 64.
Even on 1 volume click, I can hear all the detail in a song, it's just at a lower level.
Your amps are truly balanced. Your preamp should be, too..
thaks so far.

Tvad - which one will you choose for 3.3k ?

I can go balanced but my CDP (lector 7) is single ended only. will I hear any difference if not going balanced all the way ?

03-05-11: Icorem

Tvad - which one will you choose for 3.3k ?
I don't have a specific recommendation. The point is to allocate your funds toward the electronics rather than power cords for the XA-60.5 amps.

will I hear any difference if not going balanced all the way ?
Icorem (System | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
I apologize for my abrupt response above, it’s just that I don’t like to make recommendations unless I’ve personally owned the component or tried it in my system.

In the $3300 used price range, I owned an Audio Research REF3 preamp, which I do not recommend with the Pass Labs XA-60.5. The combination sounded flat and lifeless to me.

At the $2500 price point, I owned a Lamm LL2 Deluxe preamp, which matched very well and sounded quite good (but not quite up to the standards of the Lamm L2 Reference). However, the LL2 is not balanced, and I have suggested that you seek a balanced preamp.

When I owned the XA-60.5 amps, my preferred preamps were the SMc Audio VRE-1 and the Lamm L2 Reference…both of which are well beyond $3300, and neither are tubed (although the L2 Reference has a tube power supply).

I tried an Atma-Sphere MP-1, which worked very well. It’d be a situation of user preference as to whether you would like the resulting sound. Again, though, it’s beyond you’re the $3300 mark, although a used Atma-Sphere MP-3 would be in that price range…but I haven’t heard one, so I’m reluctant to recommend it without conditions.