Expensive RCA vs Cheap XLR?

Hey Guys

Ive just bought a stellar gain cell/M700 Stack.

My current system has high quality RCA cables from the chord company - high quality, but not stupid expensive.

The Stellar range is fully balanced, and I understand the benefits of a balanced system. However, high quality XLR cables are much more expensive than RCA cables. I was planning to make my own using Mogami wire, and Neutrik connectors, like I have for my home studio.

My question is, would I be better served by using my high quality RCA cables and saving up for a set of “audiophile” XLR cables, or will the reasonable quality XLR cables outperform RCA’s due to the balanced design? The cable runs are very short, less than 1m.



My bet would be on XLR but it may come down to your ears. I have the same set up and I have about equal RCA and XLR and the XLR sound better.


Make your own :slight_smile:


Get a loaner pair of XLR from your dealer. Or use thecableco.com lending library.

That will give you a good reference point.

Instant Edit: I used to only use XLR. After comparing I really like to try both before blindly choosing.

Thanks guys. Im in Australia, will speak to my dealer about a loaner pair.

Just priced up making my own, its peanuts, so Ill prob just do it and compare the RCA to XLR!


From the SGCD to the M700’s you NEED xlr cables.
From source component to SGCD I recommend keeping your current rca cables.
For xlr, I use the reasonably-priced Audioquest Red River

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Exactly - make your own, it’s good discipline anyway, if you don’t like them can always get some posh ones - the made ones will be useful in the studio anyway :slight_smile:


I chopped the ends off of my AudioQuest Red River RCA’s and Soldered Gold Pin Neutrik XLR’s. Works great !


If you have the ability to use balanced than that is the way to go. Once my system could be balanced I never would go back.


I don’t know what price range you are into, but here is my experience in this matter.
From my DS Sr. to my preamp, I was using the best RCA I thought (WW Platinum Eclipse 7, $3k).
The sound is truly amazing with this cable. I then decided to try XLR and got a pair of (Kharma, $400)
and it actually sounded better than the WW. I had to adjust the volume since the XLR was louder, but
the cheaper XLR was clearly better sounding. I found a good deal on a pair of (XLR WW Platinum
Eclipse 7) and you guess it, the Kharma is not in it’s league in SQ. It was so good that I upgraded to the
(XLR WW Platinum Eclipse 8) which is even better than the 7’s. So I wasted a lot of money on the RCA WW and Kharma to find this out, oh well.

I’m using Audioquest Red River balanced cables with my Stellar Stack as well. It’s clearly a benefit to the system.

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Mine too !

Thanks guys. Now just playing the waiting game till
The gear arrives! Got the cable and plugs ready to go though