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xlr vs rca connection - your experiences ?

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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a question for owners of cd players and integrated amplifiers (from the same manufacturer) that have both rca and xlr connection options.

quite simply have you tried both connection methods and, in a each case, was there a sound quality difference / improvement between the 2 connection options ?
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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No personal experience but be interested to hear what people say - I've been told that over shorter runs there's nothing in it - possibly even that balanced might work less well under these circumstances.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I only had one pairing that had xlr connection (Primare) and they came with the cable.
I did try with decent RCA cables and could not discern any difference.
I returned to the xlr cables purely because I considered their connection more secure.
Shielding on these cables may be better but, as stated, over such a short distance I wouldn't see it having much effect.
Decent xlr cables tend to be quite dear so I wouldn't go out of your way to buy them unless you already have some.
The idea of having a separate wire for positive/ negative / ground is not new and is excellent for long runs of , let's say, microphone cable but it's use in stereo equipment is not employed by many manufacturers because it is unnecessary and adds to production costs.
 

Al ears

Moderator
so for hifi applications the xlr option / addition is a bit of a gimmick ?
I would not call it a gimmick, no.
It has it's place and is a very secure and safe means of cable connection.
That doesn't mean to say I would necessarily go out of my way to buy only equipment that had them fitted.
 

daytona600

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Oct 5, 2012
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If your components are true balanced XLR source / amp / speakers can make a difference
XLR are never found on budget gear only medium/high end gear fully balance analogue only found on high end turntables
used fully balanced for systems for decades & also industry standard in pro gear
 

plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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If your components are true balanced XLR source / amp / speakers can make a difference
XLR are never found on budget gear only medium/high end gear fully balance analogue only found on high end turntables
used fully balanced for systems for decades & also industry standard in pro gear
so if your kit is (truly) fully balanced (and it is therefore implemented correctly) it does provide a better connection option.

i wonder whether its worth the cost of adding a (truly) balanced connection to kit versus the sound quality increases that result ?

are there any "hifi" brands / components available that only use the xlr connection option ?
 

12th Monkey

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Aug 31, 2015
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Some only offer it, though in some cases that may be in part because it's what's expected.

Pity no-one has done the back-to-back-with-same-gear that the OP asks about.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Some only offer it, though in some cases that may be in part because it's what's expected.

Pity no-one has done the back-to-back-with-same-gear that the OP asks about.
Probably because nobody on the forum owns that kit, and even if they did, they may notice differences that the OP cannot.
It's all a bit suck it and see really.
That and the fact the OP hasn't stated he actually owns it and hasn't stated what gear it is. :)
 

plus 1

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My CD has both as outputs, but preamp doesn't have balanced inputs. I'd have been tempted to try if it did.
i used to own the musical fidelity m6i integrated amplifier the partner to the m6 cd player.

if cash allowed i would of partnered it with the matching m6 cd player too and that would of gave me opportunity to test both the rca and xlr options present on both units.

if you ever get the chance to test let (me) us know !
 

Al ears

Moderator
Daytona600 has a point, and that's fully balanced
The idea of xlr between a CD P and integrated amp seems irrelevant., as it probably isn't.
The only time I used it was between a preamp and power amplifier that were fully balanced so, again. It's going to depend on what you have.
 

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