Today I took home a preamp (Spectral DCS-30SS) from a local shop as a loaner demo. My current preamp is entirely single-ended (as is my amp), but this loaner has a balanced input, as well as a balanced output. I tried connecting my DirectStream via balanced XLR, but the sound was kind of disappointing and lacking in dynamics. I switched over to the single-ended output and all the punch and dynamics have returned; it sounds as close to plugging the DirectStream directly into my power amp as I’ve ever heard a preamp sound. Is there any explanation for what could be going on here? Today was literally the first time I’d ever used the balanced output of the DS… do I have to break it in separately from the single-ended output?
I should probably mention that I don’t think it’s likely that there’s anything wrong with the balanced input on the Spectral; it was hooked up to a dCS Vivaldi stack in the store before I took it home and it sounded pretty spectacular.