Pass Labs X0.2 Preamplifiers

5/5 (2 Reviews)

Product Description

  • Freq. Response: -3dB @ 2Hz, -3dB @ 100kHz
  • Output Impedance: 750 Balanced
  • 150 Single-ended
  • Input Impedance: 20K Balanced
  • 10K Single-ended
  • Output noise floor -110dBV ref to 20V output
  • Single-ended only inputs 5

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by wet weasel a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 25, 2007

Bottom Line:   
This is Pass Labs' latest incarnation of their cost-no-object solid-state preamplifier. It comes as three identically-sized chassis - two gain stages and the control box. They are connected by short jumpers with multipin connectors - two power, two control. This arrangement has three benefits, in order of increasing importance: 1) Looks way cool. Granted this is a taste thing, but I find the entire X lineup to be a very attractive family of products. Clearly at the high end, but not overdone. Classy. 2) Breaking a 70-pound unit up into three independently-manueverable pieces makes setup, rearrangement, etc. easy. It also increases the surface area, promoting adequate heat removal without sharp fins that could be dust traps. 3) There are the plugs and wires, but they aren't on the signal path. Isolating the channels from each other and from the volume/ input select machinery probably contributes significantly to what I heard, or rather didn't hear! Also, the utterly solid construction means that I can confidentlly drop the unit onto a good rack and not need to think about accessories for mech. resonance control or EM noise abatement. This thing sounds great right out of the box, slurping unimproved AC from the wall with a sensible but unassuming power cord. I'll eventually play with power conditioners, but I really don't find real room for improvement.

At the top of the preamp tree, one can find units that cost 1.5 to 5 (maybe more by now...) times as much as the $10K retail price of the big Pass pre. I am not qualified to comment meaningfully on their performance relative to the X0.2. What I do know (imo) is that I have finally found my reference preamp. I used it as a headphone amp - pretty rough duty, and the Pass, uh, passed with flying colors. The source component had a built-in linestage; that allowed me to compare the sound of some CDs I know like the back of my hand. Using Grado HP2 headphones, the sound was the same through the X as it was direct from the player's built-in linestage. (I left the linestage in the signal path for this test.) The SAME. The X did not add, subtract, reproportion or smear anything - transients, tone, timing. It maintained its composure through the densest, chewiest orchestral fortissimi. It rocked the house with Led Zeppelin.
I doubt I will ever have the urge to replace this preamp. It's the David Carradine of audio: an invincible, utterly confident physical presence married to a complete lack of ego, self-imposition, in the acoustic domain.
Oh, and did I say I like it?

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2006

Price Paid:    $10000.00

Purchased At:   Audiogon

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Barry a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 10, 2007

Bottom Line:   
This is a great preamp and for the cost it should be.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $4400.00

Purchased At:   reno hi-fi

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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