Pass Labs Xs Preamp Preview
- Product Name: Xs Preamp
- Manufacturer: Pass Labs
- Review Date: January 09, 2013 12:50
- MSRP: $TBD
- First Impression: Pretty Cool
Pass Laboratories, Inc., an audio innovator renowned for its unique high-performance products, introduced the Xs Preamplifier, new flagship of its preamplifier line, at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show yesterday. The Xs Preamp is entirely new and designed to complement the ultimate performance standards of Pass Labs’ Xs-300 and Xs-150 Amplifiers. It is being showcased in performance with Sony’s flagship SS-AR1 Loudspeakers.
The Xs Preamp applies lessons learned designing Pass Labs’ breakthrough XP-30 3-Chassis Reference Preamplifier, and the two Xs Series Amplifiers for which it is custom designed to deliver music. The Xs Preamp is quieter than the XP-30 and has an even more improved power supply. In appearance, it resembles the Xs Amplifiers and features two large chassis built with a true dual-monaural topology. Internally, it has been innovatively designed, especially in its use of high-quality materials.
Its several circuit boards are fabricated from materials sourced in many cases from the military and high-speed computer sectors for their superior performance. Pass Labs has optimized each circuit board through an arduous trial-and-error process for top performance in each of the functional areas for which a board is employed. Circuit boards for power supply circuits have different requirements than ones for gain stages. In the Xs Preamp, each board is optimized for its specific use.
Each of the Xs Preamp’s two channels has its own power supply board, each with a refined circuit design and layout. Their 100,000-microfarad (uF) capacitors are optimized for low noise and high performance through the use of a variety of materials, from highly reliable electrolytics to a custom polypropylene. Newly available silicon carbide semiconductors further heighten performance by dropping noise below the level of Pass Lab’s XP-30 Preamp.
The circuit boards for the gain stages have been completely redesigned for maximum sonic impact. They employ a direct-coupled (DC), ultra-symmetric gain path with high-bias Class A circuitry, and feature auto bias and DC-compensation to maintain peak performance.
As a result, the Xs Preamp is said to open up the soundstage, delivers a greater sense of space and layering, and provides a clearer window into the performance of reproduced music. An extra large, high-definition display addresses listeners’ desire to know a music system’s status even from across a brightly lit room. The 20-character display is easy to read and dimmable.
The Xs Preamp comes supplied with a remote control. Its rear panel includes 6 inputs, a tape loop, dual-power input connections, dual balanced outputs, and variable outputs for bi-amping and use with multi-room systems.
Availability and a price for the Xs Preamplifier are still to be determined. It can be seen together with Pass Labs’ Xs Amplifiers at the Venetian Tower, Suite 34-209, during CES.
Pass Labs Xs Amplifiers Powering the Sony SS-AR1 Loudspeaker System
Pass Labs products are truly a thing of beauty. The Xs preamp two box solution is more grandiose than most dedicated power amplifiers let alone analog preamps. Paired with their Xs amplifiers and the new Sony speakers, this makes for a truly no compromise two-channel system that is would be the envy of any Audioholic. Imagine 6 beautifully USA crafted boxes (2 for the preamp, 4 for the power amps) feeding your speakers. Awesomeness is the word! This gear sounds every bit as good as it looks as we learned from our brief demo we had the fortune of hearing yesterday.
About Pass Labs
Founded in 1991 by legendary audio designer Nelson Pass, Pass Laboratories, Inc. markets its unique amplifiers, preamplifiers and speakers throughout the world. The company has been based in Foresthill, California, since its beginning, and is widely regarded as one of the most innovative audio brands in the world. Its critically acclaimed Aleph, X and XA-Series products have won numerous awards, and Founder and CEO Nelson Pass holds numerous audio patents. His achievements include developing the first dynamically biased Class A amplifier circuit, developing a fully cascode audio power amplifier, and developing the Stasis amplifier in 1977. He helped popularize solid-state, single-ended Class A power amplifiers, and developed the very successful Aleph series of products, and the Super-Symmetry™ circuit, which achieves exceptionally low distortion and noise levels.
For further technical information, visit Pass Labs’ website at www.passlabs.com
It gives you that tingling 6th sense sensation knowing you own a very expensive piece of gear.
Krell & Mark Levinson gears can also do that.
All I can envision is a price around $20-30k for this piece of magic or the cost of a 2013 Harley Electra Glide Ultra or your basic tuition charge for a semester in a college.
jinjuku;942413Not sure but magic comes to mind?
The Xs Preamp is said to open up the soundstage, delivers a greater sense of space and layering, and provides a clearer window into the performance of reproduced musicSo how does a pre-amp do all this for differing sources of differing quality? Is it providing some form of DSP or other EQ?
You do believe in magic, don't you?
Krell & Mark Levinson gears can also do that.
So how does a pre-amp do all this for differing sources of differing quality? Is it providing some form of DSP or other EQ?