The Ayre KXR is indeed expensive, and recognized as a world class preamp. It is superb. The Pass Lab XP-20 has been replaced in the Pass line-up by the XP-22 and other more expensive amps that are more competitive price wise with the Ayre. I have not auditioned them and can not comment. Nonetheless, I am very happy with the XP-20. I am not inclined to do A/B comparisons. If I’m happy with what I hear, I don’t obsess. Undoubtedly, further improvements could be made.