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  1. #1
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    Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    I have a pair of X260.8 monoblocks arriving later this year and am in a quandary about what to drive these with. I have an Auralic digital front end which also accepts analog that I have been using to drive my power amps. However, when trialling an X250.8 earlier this year felt i needed a bit more oomph than just using the Auralic, hence a preamp. The question is which one.

    Do I go for a Pass Labs line stage, or something more Swiss army knife like with DAC like an ML No.5206. The latter would considerably simplify the number of boxes. Right now I have the option of a near new demo XP22, which is actually in the country, so there is no waiting (unlike the X260.8 and the ML No.5206 if I went that route). There is a certain attractiveness of something that is immediately available, but it’s very difficult to demo anything atm in order to be sure. There will no doubt be more single box devices come out in the future like the ML and the Boulder 812, which are both competent preamps and DACs at the same time, which will reduce complexity as well as challenge the notion and benefits of a separate line stage preamp.

    I probably know the answer to this question, but would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on the suitability of an XP22 with the X260.8, or any other pre or pre/DAC for that matter in the same league.

  2. #2
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    I would go with XP22. I'm a fan of same brand synergy.

    I have not heard the 5206. I used to have a Pass X250, it didn't have good synergy with Levinson but it was the older 326. Nevertheless, I wouldn't purchase without a return option.

    Another preamp with good synergy with Pass would be the Coda 07x. It performs beyond it's price. Neither it or Pass would had DAC
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  3. #3
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    XP22 gets lots of love on this forum. I heard the Boulder 812 at Mike’s store and it sounded great. Not to mention looks great. And like you said, takes care of streamer/DAC/pre.
    Lumin X1 > Boulder 1161 > Scansonic MB3.5 B

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  4. #4
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post
    I heard the Boulder 812 at Mike’s store and it sounded great. Not to mention looks great.
    Also heard an 812 driving an XA30.8 recently at a local dealer, sounded excellent. There is a definite attraction to a single device that does a number of things, but I would want it to do those things at a very high level. I already have a very good digital front end, don’t really want to go backwards, but as I said, it’s very difficult to demo stuff atm, not to mention have actual supply available. At the risk of more boxes, the XP22 might be the best solution!

  5. #5
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    How easy would it be for you to find a buyer for the XP-22 if you decide to move on later? With a 10-month wait in the USA, it should be easy to "Pass" the preamp on in Australia if you decide to.
    Contributor to stereotimes.com

  6. #6
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    I would go with XP22. I'm a fan of same brand synergy.
    +1, absolutely!!

    mjs, the xp22 is a no brainer, plus you get it straight and at a reduced price.

  7. #7

    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    The XP-22 is a fantastic partner - very low noise floor and great dynamics. Folks tend to also like ARC tube pre’s with Pass amps.
    Sean

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  8. #8
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Demo XP22 now gone unfortunately, missed it by a few hours.

  9. #9
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Just pulled the trigger on a new XP22, available in 3-4 weeks.

  10. #10
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Congratulations, it’s a wonderful preamp.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Congratulations with your new XP22 , will be interesting to hear your impressions with it.
    Flemming

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  12. #12
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Fabulous pre. Congrats.


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  13. #13
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Congrats
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  14. #14
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    X260.8’s arrived this morning. Have some rearranging to do and still waiting on some Solidsteel plinths to arrive on Wednesday. Will be a test of patience to see if I can wait till then Great stuff!


  15. #15
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Well, blow me down again. The Solidsteel plinths arrived a bit later today, so I have set the amps up. Only a short period listening so far, amps are brand new, so a bit of running in to do, but already I like what I hear. Imaging is spectacular, bass notes are palpable. More soon

  16. #16
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Woo-hoo! Congrats and Enjoy!
    Electronics: Pass Labs XP-22, Pass Labs X250.8
    Digital: Sony UBP-X800M Transport, Auralic Aries G1, Bryston BDA-3
    Analog: Pro-Ject X2 w/ Ortofon 2M Black, Decware Custom Zen Triode Phonostage (ZP3)
    Speakers: Janszen Audio Valentina P8, SVS SB13-Ultra
    Other: David Laboga Custom Audio/Shunyata/Audioquest cabling, PS Audio PowerPlant 15

  17. #17
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    OK, some further comments. Have now wrangled the 260.8’s in behind the 3.7i’s, both on Solidsteel S3-A plinths, which arrived shortly after the amps, am quite impressed with these plinths btw. Spaced from the walls to provide enough ventilation. Have had them on for a couple of hours so far. A couple of initial observations, apart from the fact that I am very pleased so far.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    Significant improvement, both in definition of instruments and spatial positioning

    Detail
    There has been a significant improvement in the amount of detail presented, all making things closer to reality. I could best describe this as an ability to decipher extreme harmonic complexity and to separate and delineate instruments, voices, etc. I’ll give you a couple of examples. I am not a huge (or any sort of) Enya fan, but the start of the track Watermark on the album of the same name presents a wall of sound. The X260.8 is able to separate this “noise” into individual sound sources that make sense, which I haven’t previously experienced. On the Clapton album Unplugged, in the track Tears in Heaven, there’s a lot going on in the background, perhaps not a wall of sound, but a lot of stuff. Now, The X260.8 enables me to clearly hear several female back up singers who are down in the mix, again, something I hadn’t heard before.

    All very good so far, more thoughts to come later.




  18. #18
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Review of X260.8 monoblocks from s few days ago from Positive Feedback/Enjoy the Music

    Pass Labs X260.8 Monoblock Amplifiers - Positive Feedback

  19. #19
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    OK, some further comments. Have now wrangled the 260.8’s in behind the 3.7i’s, both on Solidsteel S3-A plinths, which arrived shortly after the amps, am quite impressed with these plinths btw. Spaced from the walls to provide enough ventilation. Have had them on for a couple of hours so far. A couple of initial observations, apart from the fact that I am very pleased so far.

    Soundstage and Imaging
    Significant improvement, both in definition of instruments and spatial positioning

    Detail
    There has been a significant improvement in the amount of detail presented, all making things closer to reality. I co

    All very good so far, more thoughts to come later.
    Congrats on your acquisition ! As a fellow X260.8 owner I suspect your long term happiness will be as good as mine !
    Cheers ! …. Dave

  20. #20
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs View Post
    Just pulled the trigger on a new XP22, available in 3-4 weeks.
    Still waiting for the XP22 unfortunately

  21. #21
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Production is finally ramping back up at Pass so hopefully your wait won't be much longer
    Rob
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  22. #22
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Quote Originally Posted by rbbert View Post
    Production is finally ramping back up at Pass so hopefully your wait won't be much longer
    I certainly hope so. I waited four months for the X260.8’s. The XP22 was allegedly going to be 3-4 weeks in mid-June, it’s now been over three months. Maybe it’s on a slow boat to Oz! 🤣🤣

  23. #23
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    I am pleased to advise that my XP22 preamp has arrived in Melbourne and will be sent to Adelaide in the next couple of days. One other major change that has happened in the last couple of weeks is that I have sold off my Auralic Vega G2.1 and Leo GX.1 DAC front end and replaced with a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. I will now have Auralic G2.1 -> Tambaqui -> XP22 -> X260.8 -> Magnepan MG 3.7i, as well as LP12 -> ME25 phono pre -> XP22. Looking forward to setting it all up.
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

  24. #24
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    As I foreshadowed, my XP22 arrived a week ago and I was able to unpack and install it last weekend. I have provided a couple of happy snaps for that process. Have had a short time so far to evaluate it, but I have to say that I am very impressed, adds a real solidity to music, great detail, imaging and realism. At times I am sensing a slight emphasis in upper mids/high frequency, not sure if that will change with a bit more usage, but it’s very enjoyable so far. No regrets about this upgrade. I am also assimilating a Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC almost at the same time, so the system has never sounded better.

    085D1DD9-4BF2-43C1-B8A3-69AA373ED0C6.jpegEC182D56-CC34-4618-8E08-C526A3D5D7F3.jpeg75951DE5-9304-4CE6-8746-51E6C218A232.jpeg
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

  25. #25
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Beautiful! Congratulations! Enjoy, break in takes a while but worth it.
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  26. #26
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    What kinds of improvements have you noticed since moving from the Auralic Vega to the Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC? I've been mulling over a similar move (Auralic Aries streamer, Bryston BDA 3 DAC currently).
    Electronics: Pass Labs XP-22, Pass Labs X250.8
    Digital: Sony UBP-X800M Transport, Auralic Aries G1, Bryston BDA-3
    Analog: Pro-Ject X2 w/ Ortofon 2M Black, Decware Custom Zen Triode Phonostage (ZP3)
    Speakers: Janszen Audio Valentina P8, SVS SB13-Ultra
    Other: David Laboga Custom Audio/Shunyata/Audioquest cabling, PS Audio PowerPlant 15

  27. #27
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    Re: Preamplifier for X260.8 Monoblocks

    Couple of things:

    It's not as if its 50% better, changes like this are always more subtle than that at this level of equipment and take a bit of time to discern. The Vega G2.1 is no slouch I must say, but there is noticeable improvement with the Tambaqui.

    There is more detail in the decay of notes and other audio cues in low level detail. Imaging is more solid and defined. You feel as if you are far more "in the room" with the performers.

    Timbre of instruments, particularly piano seems more real.

    Very easy to listen to, no lumps or bumps. Engaging is a good way to describe it.

    I do find I get better results using the Aries G2.1 for input using LDS rather than the Tambaqui as a stand alone Roon endpoint. Very satisfying.
    Main System: Linn LP12/Ittok/DVxx2Mk2, ME25 as phono pre, Oppo BDP-95, Sangean WFT-3D, Auralic Aries G2.1, Mola Mola Tambaqui, Pass Labs XP22, Pass Labs X260.8, Magnepan MG3.7i
    Headphone System: Auralic Aries Mini, iFi Hip DAC2, DCA Aeon2 Noire

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