Pass XP27 vs. Rowland Conductor Phono

Hello. I thought I would define and sharpen my previous question further in hopes of getting some responses. If anyone can comment on these two excellent products, please do. I would appreciate any input all of you esteemed audiophiles may have. Thank you.


I’m breaking in the HP phono stage in my Rowland Continuum s2 integrated amp right now. I never heard the Pass phono stage but did have a couple of Pass amps in my system in the last few years. As far as amps go, I prefer the Rowland sound over Pass. Pass sounds veiled while Rowland has a cleaner sound with better tonality to my ears. I find Pass to be boring. I once considered the Pass phono stage until I heard their amps.

I've used two different Pass phono preamps, the XP15 and currently the XP-27.  Both are uncolored and transparent in my experience.  Not a component I would describe as veiled.  I've not directly compared to Rowland phono stages. The XP-27 is a pleasure to use given its front panel controls and the external power supply allows it to be even quieter at high gain settings and brings out dynamics on the recordings compared to the 15. I use the Pass with a variety of low output cartridges from Koetsu, Ortofon, Lyra and SoundSmith.  Great gealer support is available for Pass products in the US. My preamp is a Pass XP-22 so there may be some synergies there.