There are some devices you just need to hear. At least once in you ‘audiolife’. Think of a Spectral system. Or a set of Wilson Audio speakers. Or what about Bowers & Wilkins’ legendary Nautilus? In reference of the author in question: a Pass pre-stage is also part of this. We have the Pass Labs XP-22 in the listening room. The step-up of the ‘12‘. Is it worth the extra 3000 euros and extra shelf space?
Well… over 10,000 euros for a pre-amp. The lucky few who can take the plunge to do this in this segment have a few difficult choices to make. Because lurk around the corner: Spectral, Pass Labs, Soulution, Nagra… or, for example: Ayre… that’s a difficult choice to make! They’re all beautiful. First world problems… But let’s get on with the Pass.
If we type this piece, it’s Legends Month at Radio Veronica. Everyone is allowed to pass on his or her legend in the field of music, acting, etc. They’re making lists of them again. A nice hook for us to use Nelson Pass as a legend.
The best man has undoubtedly earned his spurs in the world of hi-fi and high-end audio. And not only by putting beautiful products on the market. An example: his diagrams of the Aleph series can be found everywhere and can be built for the Handy Harries this way. In this way he shares his knowledge and insights on the internet with other enthusiasts. It’s beautiful.
In short: if you have time and the two right hands, you can build your own Pass Aleph. Of course, these are not the same schematics as XP-10, 12, 20, 22, 30, 32… Or other X-series. But beautiful!
Okay. back to the XP-22. The Pass Labs XP-22 is a completely symmetrical pre-amp. The XP-22 is in fact an XP-12 with an external power supply. Of course, this external power supply is made in a nice box. This extra housing is easy to put away. By making the large – much more luxurious – power supply external, there is less negative influence from the power supply on the electronics of the front stage. Think of scattered fields.
Also, the power supply is heavier and easier to produce in the extra box, than the ‘single box’ solution. After all, there’s more room. According to Pass Labs, this has clearly audible influences. More space, more punch, more control. We’re gonna go through it.
Entrances and exits
Briefly about the XP-22. The inputs and outputs are the same as those of the XP-12. So 2 x balanced, 3 x single ended, a tape loop and balanced and single ended out. Then there is one extra input: the power supply. This is a thick, round plug that goes between the extra box and the pre-amp. Pass Labs supplies this cable, of course.