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Balanced XLR or RCA on Stax?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Like to hear some feedback regarding balance XLR vs RCA on Stax system. I know there's been discussions on balanced vs unbalanced but like to hear from users their experience in relation to an electrostatic setup.

I'm asking this because I'm contemplating whether to get a used SRM-T1S or SRM-T1, or the KGSS vs the Woo GES.

I currently have a Benchmark Dac1 USB as source that's hookup to my CDP and Mac Pro.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 23
I'd be surprised if there was a noticeable difference. I'm awaiting an XLR pair of a cable I already have, which, when it arrives (hopefully soon) I'll try out each on my friend's O2/717 system.
post #3 of 23
I think i hear more left and right separation with balanced. it could be both good and bad, with unbalanced, the sound is somewhat more focused.
post #4 of 23
the O2 needs the extra power provided by the XLR. RCA doesn't sound nearly as good. i think the HE60 sounds better through the XLRs as well.
post #5 of 23
Turning the volume dial up would compensate for the input level difference, volume 2 with XLR, volume 4 with RCA, the amp is still putting out the same level of power into the headphones for the same spl, all that has changed is the input level.
post #6 of 23
Electrostatic drive helps the same sort of things that balanced feed does, but does it much better.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for the input

Quote:
Originally Posted by ashmedai View Post
Electrostatic drive helps the same sort of things that balanced feed does, but does it much better.
ashmedai: you mean the difference of balanced vs unbalanced is more pronounced in electrostatic setup?
post #8 of 23
No, I mean it's probably negligible.

Balanced feed improves the response speed somewhat. Electrostatic drive improves it by orders of magnitude.

Note that if you're transmitting an unamplified analog signal, longer runs will still be helped by balanced feed simply because the potential difference is larger meaning the signal will be usable for longer in spite of the attenuation. But it's better to avoid long analog runs whenever possible.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input uysy:
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I'd be surprised if there was a noticeable difference. I'm awaiting an XLR pair of a cable I already have, which, when it arrives (hopefully soon) I'll try out each on my friend's O2/717 system.

Have you done the comparison on your Stax rig, and if so is there a noticeable difference?
 

post #11 of 23

For me, the comparison is moot, as my DAC is designed to be used balanced and not single-ended.  Balanced it has measurably better performance.  I'd say it would depend on the DAC, whether it was truly balanced or the signal was being sent out through a phase splitter to derive the balanced signal.

post #12 of 23

Electrostatic technology is balanced so obtaining a balanced signal is always preferably.

post #13 of 23

 

Yeah, thought so too and since i was going into the STAX territory finally, thought i should just try a fully balanced setup as well. Haven't had a chance to do a direct A/B between XLR and RCA tho.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brat View Post

Electrostatic technology is balanced so obtaining a balanced signal is always preferably.

post #14 of 23

 

Just noticed this thread.

 

I used to use a SRM-T1S and Lambda Nova Signature system with a Marantz CD12/DA12 CD player. The Marantz DAC has both balanced and unbalanced outputs, and as the SRM could switch between either type of input it was simple to A/B the two. 

 

The balanced interconnect was 1 foot of Van Damme microphone cable between a pair of Neutrik XLRs, and the unbalanced one was 1 Foot of Van Den Hull DH102 Mk 2. 

 

With fairly average hearing, the audible difference in my case was also not great; better perhaps, with a slight increase in smoothness together with a touch of ‘sweetness’, but nothing stunningly obvious. Rather moot as Currawong has remarked, and currently I don’t bother with balanced connections to the SRM.

 

(For those not aware of the model, the Marantz was a statement 2 box player using a high grade version of the Philips TDA1451 DAC and some good quality components, the balanced outputs were from a pair of transformers.) 

post #15 of 23

Hmm, I always thought the difference between RCA and XLR input is just gain. Does louder sound make music 'better" ?

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