O2 as preamp
Apr 25, 2014 at 2:39 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 28, 2011
Hey guys, I'm thinking of getting into vinyl. From my understanding, I'm going to need to go through a phono preamp into a headphone amp. With this in mind, does going from RCA output (preamp) into a 3.5 jack (amp) degrade/lose any of the source?

I started this thread with the intention of changing the 3.5 input on my O2 to RCA and go turntable>O2>headphones but upon further investigation I don't think that will work. When the source changes from phono (preamp) to line (O2/amp) is anything lost?
If not, why not use RCA female to 3.5 male? If this would degrade the sound, surely the same happens from the preamp to the amp?
This being the case, are RCA headphones needed???
I'm a bit confused.. I just saw a large jack that goes to 3.5 at the headphone.. if it goes down like that how is it any different to 3.5?
I'm trying to budget and I'm not sure what is necessary and what implications signal changes have
Apr 25, 2014 at 11:30 AM Post #2 of 4
RCA cables technically provide superior crosstalk compared to 3.5mm cables. However, crosstalk of a 3.5mm cable approaches the point of diminishing returns. Users fail to differentiate between 3.5mm and RCA in blind tests. Of course, there's a psychological factor to the discussion: RCA jacks are visually preferred, and many users expect to hear improved crosstalk.
Wiring and performance of a 1/4" (6.35mm) jack is identical to a 1/8" (3.5mm) jack. Larger 1/4" plugs are preferred for long-term mechanical durability and professional usage, whereas smaller 1/8" plugs are a more convenient form factor for consumer equipment. In practice, reliability is sufficient to last for years. Production 3.5mm test cables in our facility actually wear out before the 3.5mm connectors themselves (cables are subjected to 200 mating cycles daily).
If you're on a budget, there's no need to make RCA or 1/4" jacks a checklist requirement. They have a place in premium and professional products, but will bring you no audible improvements over 3.5mm jacks.
Apr 25, 2014 at 12:03 PM Post #3 of 4
Appreciate the reply mate, very clear.
With that in mind, can I use an RCA to 3.5 from a TT directly into the O2, or do I need to go TT>phono preamp>RCA to 3.5 into O2>headphones? I'm assuming a pre-amp is needed.
Thanks again :)

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