DSD Sr. XLR vs RCA output

I found out that not only is XLR out from DSD Sr. to my preamp 6 db louder than RCA out, but using the same cable, one XLR, one RCA, and matching the loudness and switching back and forth, and my brother also listening, there is no doubt XLR is considerably better sound wise. It’s like goose bump territory with XLR, the presence of instruments is incredible. You lose a bit of that and the sound is a little less exciting with RCA. I also try putting a better cable in with the RCA but no dice, XLR still outshine RCA.
It didn’t seem to matter doe when I compare the XLR and RCA going from preamp to power amp. The loudness level and sound quality was about the same. Only from the dac do I hear this difference.
Unfortunately my brother’s preamp does not have balance input so he was stuck with the lower quality output from his DSD Sr. He has the Conrad Johnson Gat preamp.

I had the same issue as your brother for a while. . . this ZBIT (Balanced Input Transformer) solved my problem ADMIRABLY. You can keep the full output from the XLR and output it into RCA (or attenuate the output). Won’t be without it now. Only one drawback: long build and waiting time.


I agree that XLR is the way to go. Just exciting sound.

Cool, I’ll show it to my brother. I assume this thing does not degrade the sound?

These Jensen’s are pretty good too


Not at all. Very high quality transformer, potentiometer, connectors.

The Decware and the Jensen both looks good, but I believe the Decware might be built a little better, parts wise.
I’ll let my brother take a look.
Thanks Brett and Lonson for your input.

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Hi lonson,
It’s been awhile since you introduced the Decware ZBIT to my brother, I think in Jun 4 2019. Well, he finally got it. It blew him away on the improvement in sound using the decware. The sound was a lot fuller and expressive, just like his analog system with his Boulder 1008 phono stage. He called me right away to thank me, but I have to thank you for recommending the decware. He says turning up the gain all the way up on the decware sounds the best.
About his Boulder phono, he has since traded it in for the Esoteric phono after I brought it over to his place to try. The Esoteric completely demolished the Boulder in his place, but that is another story.
I am going to help him in thanking you for suggesting the decware. He could not be more pleased.


I’m delighted that it solved his problem and gave him such a pronounced improvement (as it has done for me in two systems, I found an additional used one and managed to snag it up before anyone else this summer).

It is indeed a sad fact that it takes so long for a build and delivery, but in each instance in the over twenty years I’ve been a Decware customer it has been well worth the wait! He’s certainly welcome for my recommendation, glad to be of such solid assistance.

I can only imagine how wonderful that Esoteric phono preamp sounds! I can’t imagine ever affording one but so glad that components of this quality are out there.

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PS: I’d encourage your brother to experiment with the output range in time. I used to run mine nearly full out as well, but this year playing with the gains of various components I run mine about 70 percent. It’s a versatile and surprisingly transparent component.

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I will mention it to him. He has been upgrading things a bit lately, including adding the Matrix 2 after he heard the improvement it made in my system and upgraded some cables with WW Platinum Eclipse 8s. Could you believe the WW sounds better than his Tara Labs Zero ($16k) and Synergistic Galileo and Audioquest Wild, all costing more than the WW. That’s how good the new WW is. Everything plus adding the decware made his DS Sr and now with Windom sounds very engaging indeed.

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