Nice review! Thanks for that...always good to learn.
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I'll have to keep you posted as I move to Dynaudio C4 II signature speakers. I do like a solid and stiff bass with some punch. Bigger speakers just seem to do this much better. Yes, this is entertainment and I'll color as needed to suit my taste. I like a defined SOLID sound, and the XP-10 seems to be heading that way with C4's. The C4 has a repuation for bass impact, and I did like the sound when I audiationed them! I'll take my "color" right where the C4's place it. The bass change is probably more a magnifying glass than "color" as the bass is still uniform, but uniformly slightly bigger than "flat" (I'm not sure I know what falt is in a real room, however). Like the rest of you, you know your sound when you hear it.
Also, I've read that some pre amps don't like specific amplifier input impedances, and can sound lean as a result. The C4 II's will be run with ODYSSEY KISMET MONO amps with 22K-ohm input impedance, compared to the 100K input impedance on the McCormack DNA-225 running the Quatro's.
The PASS LABS amplifiers are 30/20 K-ohm input impedance, same as the KIEMETS, so the KISMET's should be a better match to what the XP-10 would see with a PASS LABS brand amplifier. I'll just have to wait and see.
I do hope to run the XP-10 into my Quatro's with the KISMETS, however. Maybe I can judge the bass impact some with the Quatro's as the reference and A to B the two amps. The KISMET amp will have to run 24/7 for a week before I really listen too carefully. I'll still have the DNA-225 and can set-up the low pass filters to the Quatro's and go back and fourth a few times.
So there are MANY things that can change the sound. The DNA-225 may sound 100% different with a 20K input-impedance verses 100K with the XP-10, for instance. So would that really be the "amp" sounding different or the pre-amp? I guess it depends on what you want to like the least, and blame.
But this is an expensive hobby, and I just hope to layout what my experiences are so the rest of you can do a better job than I did, and sooner, to reach the sound you're after.
Congratulations on a very detailed review of the XP-10.
I have owned the Pass Aleph P, and the X1.
Now, I own the XP-10. I was quite surprised at how much better it sounds, than the X1.
Regarding your comment on "tube" sound, I'll comment that I also owned the BAT VK31SE. IMO, this preamp does not sound "tubey'. CJ tube gear sounds like tubes, to me.
The BAT VK31SE does not. It is simply quite neutral.
I liked the X1 better than the BAT. It simply had a bigger soundstage, in my system & my room.
How much do I like my XP-10? Enough to buy an XP-20 also...
This could get interesting. I bought a McCormack RLD-1 and sent it directly to SMc Audio for upgrades. It will be fun to see what the two vintage audio gurus can do, Nelson Pass and Steve McCormack.
I LOVE the XP-10 from 200Hz on up, but the last bit of bass impact is softer in my system, for some reason, compared to my older MASP-1. The XP-10 was used, so I'm sure it has "broken-in". It's also been on awhile so it should be stable. It is too polite down low for my ideal taste. So I'm looking for the XP-10 upper frequency sound but with more dynamics in the low bass department. The old MAP-1 has terrific bass impact and extension.
I asked Steve if he might pull it off with a RLD-1 upgrade. SMc seems to think so. If the warmer upper frequency sound is removed in the MAP-1, and replaced with a more full and vibrant yet more solidly etched sound like the XP-10, and keep the MAP-1 bass extension and impact, the platinum RLD-1 could be a winner. But, I'll have to wait till January to find out.
Also, it is probably not fair to say this is an RLD-1 after over $2,000.00 of modifications. And,and,and I'll have my KISMET mono amps and C4 series II speakers broken-in by then. So THAT will also change the comparison, too.
I love things about both pre amps, the MAP-1 (same channel design as the RLD-1 times 5) and the XP-10. Maybe the RLD-1 platinum upgrade will bridge the gap between the two pre-amps? Steve made the RLD-1 and should be able to uncork the design to his true liking and not a price point so much. The RLD-1 build quality is already superb stock so it will last a long time.
Any RLD-1 SMC upgraded commentaries out there?
Hey OZZY, Ya' know something? I added two Velodyne DD10+ subs in true stereo with the XP-10 and it's dynamite. Well, it can play the sound of dynamite, that's for sure.
As good as the C4's are, the addition of subs hi-passed in at 80 Hz is amazing. So I can relate to your decision to buy the XP-10 and a sub. I can tell you for the improvement the sub makes, you're sure to be happy.
The Pass Labs has 2 sets of outputs.
One with RCA's and one set with balanced.
If you are use the Balanced out's for your main system , then just use the Pass Labs Rca outs for your Subwoofer.
But, if you are using the RCA's on your Main system , then the balanced outs can be used with your Subwoofer.
With only one subwoofer you would need to use just one of the balanced outs from the Pass Labs Amp.
I ended up getting another F-113 Subs, with the 2 subs both Sets of the Outputs from the Pass Labs are utilized and the bass is better balnced.
Thank you for the reply. I just ordered a XP-10, arriving tomorrow.
1) If I use RCA for the sub, do I need both left and right or a Y-splitter will do the job? Do I need "subwoofer RCA" or normal RCA would be okay?
2) I read somewhere that using balanced outs to the amp gives the best performance. I can use either RCA or balanced but the other one would be for the sub. What would be your recommendation?
3) How is XP-10 sub integration and performance? IME with receivers, Anthem performs quite well in that regard than Pioneer or Integra. I'm a little worried with Pass because the outs aren't designed for subs like the receivers.
I have an XP10 in a simple 2 channel configuration w/ no sub. Re question 2: The Pass gear definitely is designed to run with balanced, so use that by all means out to your amp and use the RCA out to the subs. You'll get the highest voltage and cleanest output and more gain that way, with the least amount of noise. I'll let others with "sub experience" address your other questions, and good luck and enjoy your XP10. It is a great preamp. And you can always call Pass direct if you have questions about best way to set it up, they'll be glad to help.
I agree with Swanny, use the balanced outs to your main amp, and the RCA's from your Preamp to the subs.
For one sub don't Y off from the Preamp left and right to a single cable to the sub.
Not sure if your sub has left and right inputs, if so use those connected to the Pass Left and right RCA outs with 2 cables.
If your sub only has one input use just one RCA out from your Preamp. Somehow, though I just didn't like that set up, I always thought leaving one RCA not used from the Preamp as a bad thing.
But, again the best set up is using 2 subs one for each channel, but it costs the most.
The best cable for your sub is usually the one that gives the best bass response. That could be a regular RCA interconnect or a special subwoofer type cable.
Sorry, I know that is not a very specific.
I used ONE output from the XP-10 or RLD-1 platinum to the DD10+ stereo subs. I used the RIGHT channel input on each sub (LFE input) since it is already left and right out of the pre-amp.
From the sub, you can use the "thru" RCA output or 80 Hz / 100 Hz high-pass output RCA's to the amplifiers.
If you have balance input to your amps, you can do the same thing by going from the XP-10 to your amps, and use the XP-10 RCA's to the sub(s) input. This option required that you only use the main speakers full range, however, and digitally EQ the subs into your main speakers response.
You lose the ability to take the load off your main amps, and to reduce IM distortion on your main speakers bass drivers (reduce cone excursions that can effect the midrange and back EMF to your main amps) with the full range option, though. But, listen to it each way and decide the benefits.