Best way to connect from Dual XLR to 3.5mm TRS (or RCA) ?
Jun 7, 2020 at 4:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


Feb 21, 2005
Hey all, long time no see. OK I know what you guys are probably thinking (balanced to unbalanced) but hear me out:

I have a Cambridge Audio Azur DACMagic which has two outputs - unbalanced RCA, and balanced dual 3-pin XLR. The RCA is in use, going to my main amp which drives my floorstanders.
I now have unbalanced speakers for my PC, and headphones. I want to connect the headphones to my PC, and the speakers to the DAC. So the only available output are the XLRs. (I've also heard some DACMagic owners say they prefer connecting their unbalanced speakers to the XLR but that's another story I guess)

So I want to use dual XLR cable to TRS (or RCA - my speakers are Kanto Yu2). I think TRS would be better. I was just going to buy a XLR Y-splitter to TRS, but I was concerned how the wires are joined.

The TRS tip and ring would take the positive/hot wire from each XLR for left and right audio.
I've seen a youtube video where the guy connects both XLR negative/cold to the TRS sleeve and leaves the XLR ground/shield.
But most cables that are made on amazon/ebay join the XLR ground to the cold (which then goes to the TRS sleeve)

I'm a bit concerned because I've read that which method you use depends on how the device outputs are balanced - impedance, transformer or active balanced. (tldr: " When connecting an active-balanced output to an unbalanced load, it is necessary to leave the cold output (pin-3) floating. Using an XLR connector, pin-3 should not be connected to anything. If a cable is used with pin-3 tied to pin-1 (shield), the output amplifier could be damaged. This type of connection establishes a low/no impedance path to ground. This means the amplifier will drain current, unimpeded, into ground, which is stressful to the output amplifier." )

To end, I know the easiest solution would be just to buy balanced speakers to use with my PC, but due to desk space, budget and sound expectations I couldn't fine a pair that fit my needs...

Would be great to hear your experiences on this, thanks!
Jun 8, 2020 at 3:30 AM Post #2 of 2
Ah, with some critical thinking my other option is to use the onboard Kanto Yu2 DAC instead of my DAC magic...
Not ideal but less messy - and the advantage of no analog wiring! I hope the built in DAC is good though.

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