Anyone running a tube preamp with a Pass XA25?

I've got a Pass XA25 and an XP12, great combo, no issues. Having said that, I'm curious how a tube pre might play with an XA25? Anyone running a combo? Thoughts? Impressions? No need for balanced out, a line stage is what I need. Thanks all!
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Sure, many great tube preamps avail. I’m looking for specifics with the XA25... 
Absolutely.... My Pass XA25 is fed by an Aric Audio Special 6SN7 linestage. Stellar match!
@geof3 -- i don’t have your pass but i can vouch for the wonderful et5... it is a keeper for me

that been said, don't the current pass amps like balanced in better? maybe an audio research ref 3 or 5? they are wonderful too...
I have for the last year been using a LTA MZ2 and it sounds superb. I have coming a Supratek DHT/6SN7 to replace the MZ2. The XA25 to my ears sounds even more magical with a DHT pre. of course it`s my personal opinion.
Looks like I’m gonna give a Rogue Audio RP5 a go for round one here. I can source one locally, plus it has a phono stage, which is interesting to me. See if the phono stage can come anywhere close to my Herron.  I should have it in the next day or two. Keep the recommendations coming!
I asked a similar question.  Recommendations i got and researched.  Tubes4hifi, Don Sachs,  Supratek, Modwright, Schiit, Aric.  Still thinking....
No experience with the XA25 but do have a XA30.5 in my system and it couples wonderfully with my Lamm LL2.1 Deluxe that will be offered here on Audiogon for sale this evening or tomorrow. Enjoy the music
Went through the same scenario, looking for a preamp for my XA25. I have a older model Supratek Sauvignon and a LTA MZ2. For my ears the LTA won hands down. I still have the Supratek and will experiment with some different tubes.
I used a CJ ET5 and am now using a CJ ET7S2 with my XA25. The two mate very well. I also think you want the most neutral preamp you can find.  

i am curious to have you describe the sonic difference between the cj et5 and the newer et7-2 you have experienced...

i currently have the et-5 (and an older prem 16 ls2 too), i had a gat for almost a year a while back, but i felt it was a little too edgy/forward for my taste, after much tube rolling to tone it down a touch - for me the et5 lives at a very good middle ground between the old cj honey colored soft bass/treble sound to the thoroughly modern ’details in your face’ sound...

also, if you don’t mind, pls tell us the rest of your system (i checked your ’details’ did not see a system listed)

@geof3 - apologies for the minor threadjack ...
If you require a tube preamp, I recommend an Atmasphere MP-1 or MP-3, depending upon your budget.
The former gives my Ayre KX-R a run for the money.
If you could accept a SS preamp, then the Ayre KX-R would be my choice.
Good question. The ET5 and ET7S2 are cut from the same cloth but the ET7S2 has little bit more of everything that the ET5 has. A little smoother, dynamic, and cleaner. So, the sound opens up and just seems more natural. It is more engaging. It takes time to hear the different but it is there. I will keep the ET7S2. We can talk off line if you want to dig in deeper.

My system or maybe my collection: speakers - Penaudio Serenade Signatures, Penaudio Cenya Signatures, Penaudio Sara S, Penaudio Charisma/Chara. Amps: CJ Classic 120SE, CJ CAV 45S2, Herron Audio M1As, Resolution Audio M100s, Pass XA25, Wadia 151. Preamp: CJ ET7S2. Source: Resolution Audio Cantata Music Center 3.0, Innuos ZenMk III. Cables: Black Cat Setsuna ICs and Black Cat Lupo III speaker wires.  Graitech power cords. Blue Circle power line conditioner. 

To avoid more of the "threadjack" we can also talk about the trial and error off line. I gave up vinyl may years ago when we had small kids. I do miss vinyl.


thank you for your reply, helpful!

good to see the list of components in your system too! i somehow get the distinct impression you like penaudio speakers and cj tube gear !!!  😆😆😆

... and now back to geof’s regular scheduled programming...

@geof3 How do you like the Rogue RP5 and Pass XA25 combo vs your Pass XP12 combo? Does the tube preamp improve on the Pass preamp in yoir system?
Asking cause I had the Rogue RP5 running into the Pass XA25 and I felt that my system sounded too lean; the midbass punch was missing. I swapped the Rogue RP5 for a Cary SLP98 and then the Cary SLP05 and both the Cary preamps added the missing warmth and midbass punch.
@knik, the Rogue is actually very full in my system. Compared to the XP12? The 12 was very focused, pinpoint really. Not in a bad way. Overall sound stage was great, but center focus was tight. The Rogue is focused as well, but in a different way, not as pinpoint. Wider soundstage, and seemingly deeper as well. Low mids are rounded, and full to me. Again, less punchy. However, overall “slam” is very good. Keep in mind, this is the only tube preamp I’ve tried with the XA25, but for now, it’s a keeper. I need to stop with the crazy for a bit!

I know this is an older thread but I am also an XA-25 owner and considering some different options for preampfification. I have a Schiit Freya + with stock tubes. I like the combination but I have a nagging suspicion I’m not maxing out the potential of the pass. However I want to keep costs realistic and avoid spending more on the pre than the power amp. Remote controls are important too. 

Any recommendations on matching/synergy? So far contenders are: 


Rogue RH5, RP5

Vintage ARC or Conrad Johnson tube pre 

Luminous Axiom II passive pre 

Appreciate any first hand experience and recommendations! 

@poketacez I would add Cary SLP98 to your list. The combination of the Cary with some Svlvania 6SN7s and Pass XA25 sounds great. I much prefered it to the Rogue RP-5 with the Pass in my system. 

Used SLP98s can be easily found for less than 2k

That said, is there anything specific you are looking to improve in your system's  sound?


@knik thank you for the response. I have had my eyes on a Cary for a while as a possibility. I currently have the Schiit Freya and I’m thinking although it’s nice and adds some flavors (passive, gain stage and tube) it doesn’t really sound like tubes and I’m thinking I could do better. I’ll keep an eye out for a used Cary! Thanks a lot 

Check out Aric Audio. He has 6sn7 tube preamps at several price points.  There is one used up for sale here on AG.