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  1. #1

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    Default XLR vs RCA interconnects

    In the internet world where most folks thinks 2$ crappyshack cable is same as a MIT cable, i dont have a luxury to ask this question else where.
    So here it goes for a given setup like polk LSIM's , pre, amp would it make a difference between XLR cable and RCA cable if the length less than or equal to 5 feet.

    Like..., for a system with Parasound A51, Cary SLP tube pre, 707s will there be a diference between MIT shotgun RCA and MIT shotgun XLR's?

  2. #2
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    XLR can lower floor noise or reduce hum if those are a problem in your system. XLR makes the largest difference if the electronics were designed balanced, which sometimes is hard to figure out. You could buy some cheap matching (monoprice) RCA and XLR and do an A/B comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zingo View Post
    ...You could buy some cheap matching (monoprice) RCA and XLR and do an A/B comparison.
    That is good advice. The cables and connections themselves are not inherently better or worse, so it comes down to how the individual components implemented their connections and internal circuitry, as zingo alluded to. On some pieces SE may sound better, on some they may sound the same, and on some balanced may sound better.

    In my system, balanced sounds better for a couple of real reasons: 1) on my DAC, the S/N ratio is much better for the balanced output, and 2) on my preamp, the only "direct" input is a balanced input. My power amp is balanced only, but that's a different story..
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    I use XLR on all my MIT and Shunyata inter-connects. Since I never bought the same cable in both flavors I cannot state whether one is better than the other. This is how I see it.

    RCA gives you more options if you ever buy other gear that does not have XLR inputs.
    XLR gives you a secure, locked connection, and a theoretical lower noise floor.

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    IMO, the XLR connector is vastly superior, I wish all hifi would switch over to it and the Speakon.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    I use XLR on all my MIT and Shunyata inter-connects. Since I never bought the same cable in both flavors I cannot state whether one is better than the other. This is how I see it.

    RCA gives you more options if you ever buy other gear that does not have XLR inputs.
    XLR gives you a secure, locked connection, and a theoretical lower noise floor.
    BlueFox, it's absolutely not a theoretical lower noise floor. It is absolutely a real lower noise floor (depending on what is causing the noise of course).

    IMO, I agree with Face that the XLR jack is vastly superior.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    IMO, the XLR connector is vastly superior, I wish all hifi would switch over to it and the Speakon.
    I agree........Lets throw in BNC
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    After too long, I am finally installing my Aleph 30 this weekend . . .

    The Volksamp Aleph 30 User Manual states, "single ended Class A operation is the least efficient operating mode." I think I'll takes Mr. Pass' word for it . . . I'm sure I'll experiment with single end down the road . . .
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    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    BlueFox, it's absolutely not a theoretical lower noise floor.
    Depends on the equipment. Could just be an XLR connector on a non-balanced circuit with the noise being the same between RCA and XLR. Hence theoretical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennDog View Post

    The Volksamp Aleph 30 User Manual states, "single ended Class A operation is the least efficient operating mode." I think I'll takes Mr. Pass' word for it . . . I'm sure I'll experiment with single end down the road . . .
    He is refering to the class of amplification not differential vs single ended connections at it's input.The efficiency he is talking about is the percentage of power drawn from the AC line that is actually useful for driving the actual speaker load.In the case of single ended Class A it pisses away >80% of the power consumed in the form of heat.Whereas a typical Class A/B design will have efficiency in the 40-50% range,with Class D on the order of 90%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FTGV View Post
    He is refering to the class of amplification not differential vs single ended connections at it's input.The efficiency he is talking about is the percentage of power drawn from the AC line that is actually useful for driving the actual speaker load.In the case of single ended Class A it pisses away >80% of the power consumed in the form of heat.Whereas a typical Class A/B design will have efficiency in the 40-50% range,with Class D on the order of 90%.
    After re-reading the statement, you are correct, Sir!

    It is understood that Class A is very inefficient . . .
    So I'll be using Class A in the winter months (this sucker draws 200 watts continuously) . . . . then playing with Class D in the summer months
    The best of both worlds!! . . .
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    I've had a low noise floor with both XLR and SE gear. (Single ended-RCA). Even with a 15 foot long SE IC to amp. Like mentioned, it depends....

    I'm back to XLR due to discrete balanced output on my diy DAC; SE output is op amp. Not bad, but discrete balanced output sounds better to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlennDog View Post
    After too long, I am finally installing my Aleph 30 this weekend . . .

    The Volksamp Aleph 30 User Manual states, "single ended Class A operation is the least efficient operating mode." I think I'll takes Mr. Pass' word for it . . . I'm sure I'll experiment with single end down the road . . .
    The single ended referred to in the manual is the amp topology. The Aleph can be run balanced too, and it's still a single ended amp. I ran it both ways and in my rig I prefer the RCA's to XLR.

    Get that puppy hooked up and burning..........

    P.s. the terminology is the same (single ended) but it means something different. Single ended or push/pull is an amp topology. Singled ended or balanced connections is something a little different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFox View Post
    Depends on the equipment. Could just be an XLR connector on a non-balanced circuit with the noise being the same between RCA and XLR. Hence theoretical.
    Good point. I was just assuming it's a balanced circuit. Otherwise, why have an XLR jack? But, if it's not a balanced circuit then the noise floor would be the same. Inversly, if it is a balanced circuit, the noise floow will definately be lower. That is not theoretical (and that's what I meant, sorry for the confusion).
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

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    Quote Originally Posted by headrott View Post
    Good point. I was just assuming it's a balanced circuit. Otherwise, why have an XLR jack? But, if it's not a balanced circuit then the noise floor would be the same. Inversly, if it is a balanced circuit, the noise floow will definately be lower. That is not theoretical (and that's what I meant, sorry for the confusion).
    No problemo, good buddy. It's hard for me to convey what I mean since I am a hunt and peck typist on an iPad virtual keyboard. Now let's see if the 'test' format smilies work.

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    Thanks for the replies guys,

    So these is what i get from the reading.

    It might not be a day and night difference.

    for the length mentioned above (5 feet or less) there might not be a significant difference, if we are using decent components.

    at the end you can never put a end to this thing you always have a freaking weak point some where.

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