Pass Labs XP-12 Line Level Preamplifier


Neutrality Meets Musicality

While you likely know the name Nelson Pass by now, it's actually his business partner Wayne Colburn who designs Pass Labs line preamps and phono preamps. Moon Audio stocks the XP-12 line preamp, an upgrade over the previous XP-10. A line preamp serves as the control center of your stereo system and connects to your amplifier. A line preamp does not have a phono input; it accepts line-level inputs only, such as a CD player. A line preamp also offers volume control.

As an update to the XP-10, the XP-12 features a new power supply. It uses an efficient toroidal design with both an electrostatic and Mu metal shield along with vacuum impregnating and epoxy fill. This makes for a very quiet transformer both electrically and mechanically. The power supply circuitry itself is also lower noise and has additional filtering - a little more complicated but worth it, according to Pass Labs.

The XP-12 uses the single-stage volume control featured on the Xs line preamp. This gives one hundred 1 dB steps with lower noise and distortion while removing some signal path parts. The gain circuitry continues to use Pass Labs' favorite transistors from Toshiba, but has a larger, higher-biased output stage similar to the Xs preamplifier auto bias. This makes longer and multiple cable runs easier to drive and gives Pass Labs the advantage of simplifying its single-ended output circuitry while increasing performance. Overall this makes for a quieter, more neutral, musical, and versatile control center for your audio system.

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The XP-12 front panel features:

  • Mute button
  • Mode button
  • Two buttons for cycling through inputs
  • Display panel
  • Volume knob

The XP-12 rear panel features:

  • Power switch
  • Power port
  • External amplifier jack
  • Single-ended output (stereo RCA)
  • XLR L and R output
  • 3 pairs of stereo single-ended input ports (RCA)
  • 2 pairs of L and R XLR Inputs

Pass Labs XP-12 Preamplifier Specifications

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  • Overall gain: 9.3dB balanced
  • Volume steps: 99
  • Remote: Yes
  • Inputs: 5
  • Outputs: 2
  • Frequency response: +/- 0.05dB, 10Hz to 20 kHz
  • Input impedance: 22k ohms
  • CMMR: -60dB, 1kHz
  • Cross-talk: >100dB
  • Residual noise: 15 uV @ 10-30 kHz
  • THD: <0.001 @ 1V 1kHz; double-shielded low noise toroid
  • Signal to noise ratio: <0.001 @ 1V 1kHz
  • Power consumption: 30 watts
  • Number of chassis: 1
  • Dimensions, in inches: 17W x 12D x 4H
  • Shipping box dimensions, in inches: 23W x 18H x 10D
  • Weight: 20 lbs
  • Shipping weight: 27 lbs