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Pass Labs 20 Years and Counting

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  #11  
Old 10-03-2011, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JJinID View Post
Sorry to hear that Dan. There are a lot of phono stages out there - I have no doubt you will find the right one!
Jeff.......The field is full of phono stage preamps, but it is becoming apparent that only the premium level ones are truly satisfactory.

I have a number of great things going for me in the studio. The room was designed, built and insulated for sound. It has been fully treaded with bass traps and acoustic panels to tame the audible anomalies. Even the entrance door to the studio is insulated and seals top, bottom and sides when closed. The room is very quiet. You can hear a pin drop. Add to that the McIntosh system with premium interconnects, power cables and speaker wires. The sound system that is dead quiet, no hissing, humming, buzzing, nothing but silence at any volume setting with no signal present. This is wonderful, and helps paints an absolute velvet blackness behind every sound that comes from the system. This system in this room is highly revealing of any flaws in components and/or source material. There is no sneaking anything by this sound system. It is a true asset when everything is right, and a liability for the weakest link because it cannot hide. This is the case with the Pass Labs XP-15. It just cannot hide in this system, period.
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2011, 11:52 PM
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Dan, something does not sound right, either in the connections or the phono stage itself.
The c2300 MC stage is quiet as it has a FET in front doing the first amplification, however my XONO was not noisy in the way you have detailed.

I am sure you have checked this, but I will ask.

Is the MM DIP switch off?

Try the single ended connection to see if there is any change to the noise.
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  #13  
Old 10-03-2011, 11:54 PM
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Dan, be sure to play around with grounding. Your SME 309 tonearm should have 2 separate ground tabs on the phono cable. Try the 3 different combinations... I usually prefer to ground the tab that comes out of the RCA plugs and leave the longer one floating. Or are you using the Pass in another system with the Micro-Seiki?
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  #14  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by turntable View Post
Dan, something does not sound right, either in the connections or the phono stage itself.
The c2300 MC stage is quiet as it has a FET in front doing the first amplification, however my XONO was not noisy in the way you have detailed.

I am sure you have checked this, but I will ask.

Is the MM DIP switch off?

Try the single ended connection to see if there is any change to the noise.
Shane.......I had the same thoughts, and immediately checked all dip switch settings. The MM switch is off on both channels. Tomorrow I will try your suggestion using single ended interconnects between the XP-15 and the C2300. I'll be in a better mood tomorrow to do this than I am this evening.

The noise floor is not much louder than the C2300, but it is noticeable, and this disagrees with my nature. I don't want to pay for a component that delivers less than I already have.
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  #15  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
Dan, be sure to play around with grounding. Your SME 309 tonearm should have 2 separate ground tabs on the phono cable. Try the 3 different combinations... I usually prefer to ground the tab that comes out of the RCA plugs and leave the longer one floating. Or are you using the Pass in another system with the Micro-Seiki?
Serge.......I am using the Pass Labs XP-15 with the Michell Gyro SE/SME 309/Ortofon Cadenza Black rig in the studio system.

Thanks for the ground wire suggestions. I have both ground wires on the SME phono interconnet landed under the XP-15's ground terminal. I will try the different combinations.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
LIVING ROOM - McIntosh C2300, MC75 (2), MR85, Magnum Dynalab 205, Simaudio MOON Neo 260D-T, Schiit Audio Yggdrasil, Aurender N100H, Shunyata Sigma USB cable, Micro Seiki DD40, Ortofon Cadenza Blue, Nakamichi BX-300, Sony 60ES DAT, PS Audio P10, Furutech Flux 50, Sonos Connect, Stillpoints, Wireworld, Kimber, PMC EB1i, JL Audio f113
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  #16  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:10 AM
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Sorry to hear you are not happy with the XP-15 Dan. It will be interesting to see if your opinion changes as the unit breaks in and if you are able to bring the noise floor down through grounding or change in ICs from balanced to single-ended. It may be worth your while to give a call into Pass Labs and walk them through what you are hearing and see if they have any suggestions (either in terms of settings or connections) that may result in a lower noise floor. Good luck.
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  #17  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:17 AM
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Cyril.......Thanks for that suggestion. If it becomes necessary I will do that.
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STUDIO - McIntosh C1000C/P, MC2301 (2), MR88, Aurender N10, Esoteric K-01X, Shunyata Sigma spdif digital cable, Sonos Connect, PurePower 2000, Stillpoints, Furutech Flux 50, Michell Gyro SE, Michell HR Power Supply, SME 309, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Wireworld, Sonus faber Amati Anniversario
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  #18  
Old 10-04-2011, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
Shane.......I had the same thoughts, and immediately checked all dip switch settings. The MM switch is off on both channels. Tomorrow I will try your suggestion using single ended interconnects between the XP-15 and the C2300. I'll be in a better mood tomorrow to do this than I am this evening.

The noise floor is not much louder than the C2300, but it is noticeable, and this disagrees with my nature. I don't want to pay for a component that delivers less than I already have.
yes, it sort of defeats the purpose of SS if it is noiser than tubes.

I have experienced it before with SS phono's, hence the continued use of ste up transformers in both SS and tube phono stages.

Worst of all, like all SS noise/distortions, it is more objectable than tube noise to the ear

maybe try reducing the gain on the c2300 line stage input you are using for the phono - might be a gain issue - I doubt it, but you my as well try all things.

Last edited by turntable; 10-04-2011 at 12:46 AM.
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  #19  
Old 10-04-2011, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PHC1 View Post
Dan, sorry to hear that but I did mention that you would have to "invest" quite a bit of money to get a meaningful improvement in performance... I guess in this case the $3800 isn't quite enough although it is a decent sum of money no matter how you look at it.


I'll send you my EAR324P to play around with if the XP-15 does not improve after a brief break in over some days. I'd like to hear your take on the 324P, a SS phono stage with step up trannies for MC side of the equation. I personally think it is an absolutely smoking phono stage as far as SS goes.
+1 !

I told you the same thing Dan. Sorry that the Pass did not meet your expectations.
The C2300 phono stage is very very good. Not only for the sound itself but the noise floor is very low.
It is very kind of Serge to let you try the EAR.
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  #20  
Old 10-04-2011, 02:11 AM
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Dan,
Sorry the XP15 doesn't appear to be working out; I am admittedly surprised that it's noise level is above that of the C2300s, given it's a tube phono stage. OTOH, I remember that Michael Fremer gave the phono stage in the C2300 a stellar review, so it must quite an excellent phono stage.

Serge's offer is most generous; I have a basic model MC/MM EAR834P tube phono stage as you might recall, and it's superb. I think Tim de Paravincini's designs are brilliant, so you may be quite impressed with it.

That being said, I would give the Pass some time to burn in....leave it on for the next few days and come back and give it a re-listen. Something as simple as my Shunyata Hydra 4 sounded pretty dismal when I first got it, but after a week of using it in the Home Theatre system, it really blossomed, and it's just a simple power distributor.

Other phono stages to consider are the Parasound JC3, the new Sutherland 20/20, both of which are reknown for how quiet they are, as well as their sound quality.

Check back in with us in a few days and let us know how the Pass settles in....good luck.
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Last edited by Puma Cat; 10-04-2011 at 02:14 AM.
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