Preamplifiers

Pass Labs XP-20 Stereo Preamplifier

ARTICLE INDEX

The Design

Pass states that the XP-20 is a significant improvement over the previous XP-10, adding more detail and weight to the deep bass. The former is due - as evidenced by the IMD bench test - to a vanishingly low IMD, while the latter is due to a more substantial power supply.

There are two gain stages, biased into Pure Class A, with a driver in between, resulting in no phase inversion at the output. This also keeps the signal path as short as possible.

The front panel has buttons to select the input, an LED readout panel for indicating the status of the preamp, including the volume, which is indicated in numbers.

The rear panel has two sets of XLR (balanced) inputs, three sets of RCA (unbalanced) inputs, a tape loop, one set of XLR outputs, and two sets of RCA outputs. There is also a DB-25 connection and an included cable to connect the power supply.

The remote control is routed from a single block of aluminum and matches the elegance of the preamplifier. It has the necessary features of power on/off, input selection, mute, volume, balance, pass-through (for multi-channel home theater use), and the ability to turn a power amplifier on as well as turn the preamplifier display on or off.