I almost missed the new Pass Labs XS preamp tucked into the rack. This $38k box is dual mono with separate power circuitry. If you’re thinking “trickle down” from their premier XS-level amps, you’d be close — more like “trickle over”. This is the first time I’ve seen this preamp, and I’m hoping it’s not the last.
While in the room, I’m pretty sure we were listening to the $17,500 ccuphase DP-550 SA-CD player/DAC, but the glare off the front window made investigation impossible without tripping over the enraptured audience. A Transrotor turntable with a Triplanar tonearm also sat in the rack. Tara Labs cables were used throughout.
In my short audition, I heard the power and rumble of a very large-sounding loudspeaker. The fact that the bass didn’t seem to be crushing us all like soda cans was a clear testament to the setup skills at work. The sound was full but not lush, detailed but not sterile, and altogether what I expect from a system in this price range. I just wanted a bit more room to move around and let those beasties really rip, and I was pretty sure we’d be in for some serious s***. Nice work.