PWD MKII Balanced Unbalanced


I have an MKII running to an integrated amp with balanced interconnects. I read somewhere (can’t find it now) that there is a signal from both the RCA’s and XLR’s at the same time. Is it possible to run a headphone amp with the RCA’s while still connected to the main amp? My headphone rig is upstairs with a Dacmagic. I’m thinking it will sound so much better with the PWD.


Running SE and balanced simultaneously is fine with the PWD, not good with the DS. (Running the DS with both outs “unbalances” the balanced outs.)


Interesting subject and one that often raises different results.

In my current set up, single ended when direct PWD [ and now DS] to amp, single ended sounds more relaxed and has more apparent weight than with XLR.

My current cables are different brands but I have also tried same brand comparisons and always felt that for short runs, I preferred the single ended.

My only clues as to why are perhaps the additional in-path circuitry and the higher voltage output of XLR.

This could well be system dependent but this is what I hear with my rig.


It is system dependent. High quality balanced circuitry is not trivial to implement.

Unless one needs common mode noise rejection, single ended is often the better choice.

Some, such as Paul, prefer balanced if everything else is equal. Others opine SE is better if everything else is equal, noting there is less circuitry involved.

Short answer: try both and determine which you prefer.


I would give hooking both up a go. There is no chance of physical harm here. Depending upon your system and the environment surrounding your system you could inject more noise into the signal by unbalancing the balanced line. Use your ears and listen with both outputs connected and then with just the balanced. Keep in mind that other devices in the area would be likely culprits to degrade your sound in this situation. Televisions and computers in particular. I run both outputs simultaneously and it sounds fine to me but you may be more discerning.1_gif