Pass Labs XP32 or XP22?

I am considering buying Pass Labs, specifically the XA60.8 monoblocks. I am hoping that someone familiar with the preams could advise me.  XP22 or XP32?

Thank you


Go to the source, no one knows more.  I would call or email Pass Labs and discuss with them.  There's a guy that just does the preamp design and guessing you can dialog with him.  I believe it is Wayne Colburn.  Let them know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, what equipment you have and your room size.  When it is good, it is really, really good.  I I don't think they will just try to up-sell and you can tell if that is their goal pretty quickly.  Sometimes creators are just geeking out on their own thoughts and circuitry but ask pointed questions about "sound quality".  Engineers can be fun.  You can also ask about other speaker suggestions and things. 

Look elsewhere. Pass amplification is fantastic...their preamps are anemic and not terribly musical, in my experience. I paired my XA60.8's first with an XP20, then an XP30, and was let down considerably with each "step up". I worked with Aric at Aric Audio on a bespoke tube preamp and those Pass amps sang like never before. 

I have long paired a Audio Research preamps with Pass Labs amps. This is a very good combination to get the most out of great Pass amps.

I had the same experience as laaudionut with my Pass XA60.8 amps and XP22 preamp.  The XP22 was nice, it was plenty detailed and has some nice features, but I was missing an emotional connection with the music. After much research, I contacted Aric who built me a special balanced version of his Motherlode preamp.  It is now listed as the Motherlode XL.  It mates beautifully with my Pass amps and has brought a much higher level of musical enjoyment.  Plus, it is less expensive than the XP22. 

I'm so thrilled with my preamp, that Aric is now building me a pair of higher power monoblocks with all the best parts available.  I can't wait to hear them!

I'm happy with a FirstWatt F8 driven by a Van Alstine Transcendence RB 10 preamp.

Backert and believe me you will never look back. I have a Rhythm Extreme paired with a Pass XA 30.8. They sound fantastic together. I’ve been in this hobby since the very early 70’s and I’m here to tell you I felt as if I hit the jackpot with this combination.

Aric is great advice! He has taken great care of me. I can't say anything about the Pass labs gear. But I can confirm, Aric builds magic!

Brought to by Aric Audio! When you think Pass Labs preamps think Aric Audio; when you think Aric Audio think Pass Labs preamps!

(I'm just having a go 🙃🙄, I'm not being serious) I'm actually a big fan of no preamps vs preamps so I can't recommend them. 



I run a Rogue RH-5 pre with a Pass Labs XA-25. I am extremely impressed with this match. For me there is something magical happening here. I used to own a Rogue RP-7 and paired that with a multitude of tube and SS amps. I was never disappointed with the performance. With that said, if I was to obtain a pair of 60.8s (which I am looking into) I likely would opt for a Rogue RP-9.

"Backert and believe me you will never look back. I have a Rhythm Extreme paired with a Pass XA 30.8. They sound fantastic together. I’ve been in this hobby since the very early 70’s and I’m here to tell you I felt as if I hit the jackpot with this combination."

Are you sure you don’t mean a Rhumba Extreme of a Rhythm 1.3?



I won't own another Rogue Audio, it isn't that the products are bad, but the owner was a jerk to me.

I have direct experience of both preamps paired with 60.8s. Unsurprisingly, the 32 is better than the 22. It's more refined tonally, and more organic sounding. But at this level, the differences are relatively finely graded, not night and day. The 32 is better, but both are excellent.

One thing that can throw people with these preamps is that they are designed to use the full range of the volume control which operates in fine increments. So unless they are played at a setting on the numerical display that seems to be "loud" (visually, but actually isn't sonically) then they can seem a bit underwhelming.

I'm another vote for the Backert Rhythm 1.3. My amps are AGD, not Pass, so I can't speak to the interaction with Pass amps, but the Backert is superb. I replaced an ARC 6SE with the Backert and that was a big improvement. 

I also use an ARC preamp (REF 3) with Pass amp (XA30.8). Tried others but this is best combination.


@jcarcopo Disclaimer: These views do not represent the views of Aric Audio or it’s parent company Aric Audio and are exclusively the views of jcarcopo 😆

@aricaudio I'm happy I made you laugh!  It's a bit I used to do on irc chat for the audio asylum when I would interject a "brought to you by xyz manufacturer" intermission when I or anyone fanatical for any particular brand especially if we all like or more than two felt the same way and often rightfully so.  I've heard great things about you and your products so it's an honor to make you laugh.  I will remember to add a more definitive disclaimer in #2 font.  Have an A1 day sir!


Admittedly, my comment above might have been the slightest of plugs for Aric and his gear. But my personal advice to pair Pass Class A amps with a well curated tube preamp, was my intended point. Don't make the mistake that I did in assuming that the symmetry of pairing a Pass amp(s) with a Pass preamp is the best path to sonic nirvana. You should call Aric, however...

When moving up the preamp chain from XP12 I was between XP22 and ARC Ref 5 SE to pair with my Pass XA30.8. Ended up with the XP22 despite being close to pulling the trigger on a Ref 5SE. I just didn’t want tubes anymore right now (had enough with the Rogue tubed preamps and amp I owned for almost 2 years).
Anyway, really like the XP22. It’s quiet, detailed and natural sounding. Compliments the XA well.

I can also vouch for the ARC preamp pairing with the Pass amplification. I ran several ARC preamps into an X250.5 amp and it was stellar. It sounded amazing despite the tube rush ( ARC LS25 and Ref1). 

Listen not to the nay sayers you can`t go wrong with Pass.  The XP 22 is know comparison to the XP32. I`ve been using the Xp30 for quite some time along with the X350 Power amp. Hopefully you`ll pair your amp and preamp the Pass synergy is outstanding.  Blessing on your musical journey.

I have a 32, my friend has a 22.  The 32 is a bit more dynamic and has a lower noise floor IMHO.  Don't get me wrong, both are great but when we did some A/B, we both felt the 32 was a bit more engaging.  If you have the $$$, go with the 32.  

I have a Pass Labs 250.8.  As some others here have said, the ARC REF6 has a very sweet synergy with the Pass.  I also tried going MSB DAC to amp, and VAC Renaissance Mark V as well, and the ARC REF6 sounded significantly better to me.  Replacing the stock power cord with a Shunyata Alpha v2 really kicked it up another notch as well.  I have heard good things about Backert, but not having heard one in my system, can't say.  I can say that you won't be sorry with the ARC Ref6 (but nothing lower . . . I first tried an ARC LS28SE and was unimpressed.  Just a little better than the MSB direct to amp).  ARC preamps really hold their value as well.

Agree with AR and Pass. Years ago ran the AR ref 1 with the x350 it was terrific driving Dunlavy SC 4 a