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Thread: XLR balanced interconnects vs RCA/Phono

  1. #21
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 548
    I'm Russell.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pharos View Post
    I thought your previous statement was very clear Quin.

    I agree fully with your last post, having used Van Damme and Klotz, and for the 2 pins" you refer to AlphaGT, I use just a length of tinned copper wire. It is a bit od a pain though, as is soldering XLRs, they wriggling all over the place on a table top on the end of flexible rubber coated mic. cable.
    I find the best way to solder XLR's, is to take a male and female and stab them together, it holds the pins steady and the plastic won't melt and let them wonder about. Plus a desk top vise helps to stand them up.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  2. #22
    Join Date: Aug 2011

    Location: Coventry, England UK

    Posts: 415
    I'm Simon.

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    I've used both Phono and XLR on my gear, although heard no difference. Saying that, I'm 99% sure my Arcam gear is not ''fully'' balanced and just converts the single ended jacks to balanced (the pre-amp for sure). In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it really makes a real difference if phono cables are kept short and you're not getting any unwanted interference/hum. If the gear is confirmed to be designed as fully balanced though, might as well make use of it.

  3. #23
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,336
    I'm Ken.

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    They can be fiddly buggers, especially the mini XLR's.

    I use a retort stand/clamp to hold the pin assembly body and support the cable at the right height/position with those "Helping Hands" crocodile clips on a stand.

    I fill the receptacles with solder first, tin the leads then apply heat to the receptacle as I push the lead in. Makes a good joint with the minimum of heat transferred to the insulation on the wires.

    It works for me, but everyone finds their own method.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + Ortofon MC20 Supreme / Pro-Ject Phono box & Pre Box RS / KMTech Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / DIY Sealed Three Way Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / DAC Magic.

  4. #24
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: Seaford UK

    Posts: 297
    I'm Dennis.

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    In general terms the worst thing about this work, as with so many other disparate skills we all need these days, is that when done infrequently the task seems at first daunting, as does working on the computer when something has misbehaved after two years of good functioning. I look at the problem and think 'What the f*** was this all about', and as we age time goes faster, and the periods seem longer.

    Recently I had to make up new cables for my speakers, using XLRs, and the first attempt was a mess. So the parent in me said; "Get it all out and clean it all up and do it again", which I did. Still not good. But third time very good.

    This factor surely is why in jobs we end up doing specialised duties.

  5. #25
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Durham - UK

    Posts: 1,336
    I'm Ken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon_LDT View Post
    I've used both Phono and XLR on my gear, although heard no difference. Saying that, I'm 99% sure my Arcam gear is not ''fully'' balanced and just converts the single ended jacks to balanced (the pre-amp for sure). In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it really makes a real difference if phono cables are kept short and you're not getting any unwanted interference/hum. If the gear is confirmed to be designed as fully balanced though, might as well make use of it.
    When I moved to Balanced input on just my Pre I couldn't hear a difference.
    When I changed to balanced input on my phono stage as well, it was like I had connected a different stage.

    They are both fully balanced devices (circuits) so it may have been because it was all hooked up balanced in/out and overall it made the difference.

    When I connected my DacMagic using the balanced out, it made an improvement as well. I since found that it is a balanced circuit and they used additional op amps to combine the balanced elements to create the single ended phono outputs. So the Balanced path has fewer components in it.
    Ken

    http://www.jkwynn.co.uk/
    DIY Technics/ProJect based Turntable + Terminator linear tracker + Ortofon MC20 Supreme / Pro-Ject Phono box & Pre Box RS / KMTech Active X-Over / Nakamichi AVP1 Power / DIY Sealed Three Way Speakers / Stello CDT100 Transport / DAC Magic.

  6. #26
    Join Date: Mar 2013

    Location: Wiltshire, U.K.

    Posts: 52
    I'm Jon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martyn Miles View Post
    Balanced cables are only really relevant in prof. audio on long
    microphone cables to avoid rf interference.

    Not really relevant with home audio.

    Another case of the Manufacturers of home audio kit jumping
    on the prof. audio way of doing things to sell their kit...
    T'was a time when I would have wholeheartedly agreed with points one and two, Martyn. Recently, however, I purchased a Yamaha A-S2100 to partner the CD-S2100 and was presented with the choice of continuing to use my existing RCA interconnects or of switching to the manufacturer/dealer recommended XLR format.

    As a long-standing user of DIY interconnects, and because I enjoy a challenge, I decided to make a pair of balanced XLRs using good quality cable and connectors for testing. Once ready the player was hooked up to the amp using both my preferred, pseudo-balanced configuration, RCA interconnects and the newly made balanced interconnects, using the remote to switch between them whilst playing a wide variety of music recorded in CD and SACD formats. In this set-up, and taking into account differences in level, across all musical genres and disc formats the balanced interconnects proved more open, dynamic and better able to reveal spatial cues and the acoustic ambience. The differences were maintained when different RCA interconnects from my 'collection' were used, suggesting that the cable/connector type was less important than the use of the fully balanced output/input configuration. I have subsequently repeated this experiment using the A-S2100 paired with a Marantz UD7007 and whilst the differences were far less marked, the use of the fully balanced configuration still gave a worthwhile improvement when listening to music recorded in both CD and SACD formats*.

    The obvious weakness in my investigations to date, not withstanding my earlier comment, is the use of different cable types for the RCA and balanced interconnects - something I intend to address in the not to distant future when I can afford to purchase some ETI Research or KLE Innovations RCA plugs to terminate the remaining lengths of the Neotech NEI-3004 UPOOC single crystal copper cable used in the construction of the balanced interconnects.

    Jon

    *For those who are interested, the superior performance (CD/SACD) and quality of construction of the Yamaha CD-S2100 when compared with the Marantz UD7007 amply justifies, IMHO, the additional outlay, although the latter does have the advantage of being compatible with DVD-A and HFPA (Blu-ray).

  7. #27
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,324
    I'm Phil.

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    some kit is better with xlr , some with rca , it all depends . currently although i have xlr capability i mainly use rca and i prefer the sound on my current system .
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  8. #28
    Join Date: Sep 2011

    Location: Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland

    Posts: 289
    I'm stuart.

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    To assist in making it a bit easier when soldering cables I bought a plastic project box from Maplin and fitted it with panel mount versions of all the plugs I was ever likely to use - male/female xlr , mini xlr, rca and speaker connectors. I can now plug in any socket or plug and it's held rigidly in place and much easier to solder. A heavy weight inside the box aided the box staying in place on my bench. Job done.

  9. #29
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 15,851
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by killie99 View Post
    To assist in making it a bit easier when soldering cables I bought a plastic project box from Maplin and fitted it with panel mount versions of all the plugs I was ever likely to use - male/female xlr , mini xlr, rca and speaker connectors. I can now plug in any socket or plug and it's held rigidly in place and much easier to solder. A heavy weight inside the box aided the box staying in place on my bench. Job done.
    Good tip Stuart.

    I use a table top vice and a lot of bad language!
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

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