Question on the XLR and RCA input of Stellar M700 Monoblock

Hi everybody

I have a question relating to the M700, i see it has two inputs, one for XLR and one for RCA, I want to connect the pream/dac to M700 via XLR and RCA for vinyl phono stage, it that possible without any issue when we switch from the remote control for input selection ?
I read somewhere on this forum that only one connection at the time, XRL then no RCA and vice versa
Hope anybody here can clarify and explain for me,

Thank you

Hello again,
The power amp can take either XLR or RCA but not both. Also, when connecting any device to a power amp without a preamplifier, make sure that the device has volume control (such as phono stage) otherwise you could compromise your speakers and/or amplifier.

It’s one type of connection at a time, not both. But even if you could do both at the same time, Serhan is right - if your phono stage has no volume or variable gain control of its own, its signal will go through the amplifier at full volume, whatever that is. Amplifiers operate at full throttle, and are reined in by other components’ controls, like a preamp’s volume control. Typical phono stages lack that control, beyond perhaps a fixed dip switch setting intended for cartridge matching.

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I think there is a remote control that allows you to choose the input sources? or we dont have the remote control for the power amp?

My Vinyl has connects to the ifi black lable phono stage that have two RCA , i connected to my old Cambridge CXA 81 amplifier RCA, i just select the input source by the remote

The CXA 81 is an integrated amplifier, meaning it has a preamp in it as well as a power amp. When you plugged your phono lines into it, they were going into the preamp section. The M700 is a power amp only. It has no controls other than power switches (off/on/standby).

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Oh i see, thank you @Craig_Burgess

Thanks Craig and Serhan! You two are exactly right. Please don’t plug in both the XLR and the single ended at the same time. Also, there is no input selector on the amp. Simply put, it’s one or the other.

@leean your question prompts me to ask if you have a preamp you’re planning to use with the M700s when they arrive, because you’ll need one. If you still have the CXA81, you can use it as your preamp by running single-ended (RCA) cables from its “Pre-Out” jacks to the input jacks on the M700s. That bypasses the CXA81’s amplifier completely. You can live with that and decide later if you want or need a dedicated preamp.

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@Craig_Burgess : No i will just use the CXN V2 as DAC and preamplifier, connect to M700 via XLR directly , nothing in between.
The CXN V2 also work as transportation layer when play my flac/dsd/wav music via DNLA server ( Sysnology NAS) over LAN network
The plan to get the Stellar GCD for pream is later, for now is using what i have to see if the next level step up with sound quality of M700
I guess the SGCD will be better at some level i don’t know, but the Cambridge CXN V2 is not bad either.
when i can get the SGCD , i will reconsider the DAC and power plant since they are same importance but need to prioritize in the list, a power plant will contribute to the sound quality with clear regconition than replace the CXN V2 with SGCD .
I don’t kmow until i do it, just because i see people talk about the power plant alot on this forum than compare this DAC to another in PSA ecosystem

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@leean I don’t think the CXN has a volume control… so you can’t connect it directly to a power amp (such as the M700). You need a pre-amp between.

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The manual seems to indicate it has a setting for variable output, but it’s possible it’s controlled only by app, or maybe the remote. Which would mean he would have to be very careful when he uses it, assuming it has sufficient gain in the first place.

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That’s a recipe for disaster! I wouldn’t want to use a variable output that is only controllable via an App. If the app resets for what ever reason, you could potentially output full gain and best case only scare the sh*t out of yourself and worst case blow speakers and potentially damage the amp.

Then we have sound degradations that you typically get when you have a volume control in the digital domain…

Overall, a bad idea.

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Agreed, though as I said, I think the supplied remote can control that variable volume level as well. I didn’t read the manual thoroughly.

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Well, i think CXN V2 has pre-amp mode that allow you to use as preamplifier ( i have never tried since i don’t have the power amp) with volume control and volume limit set, about the sound quality then i 'm not sure if sufficient gain is good to sing well. But absolutely it will sing


UPDATE:
I checked the document on Cambridge Audio for the CXN V2 network player, It does have the pre-amplify mode but it is a digital pre-am (DPA) and some cautions when connect to power amplifier.
i think it will work with my setup. But if sound quality is too bad then i will need a PS Audio preamplifier in between,

https://techsupport.cambridgeaudio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005365725-Network-Players-What-is-Digital-Pre-Amp-Mode-and-how-does-it-work-

I have been considering a while on how the sound go with digital pre-amp ( control via DSP input via knob volume or the app) I will test the digital pre-amp mode on CXN V2 when i have the M700.

After couple investigation , I think the sound from CXN directly to power amp will be (slight) better since the digital signal come directly in shortest way without going to analogue preamp, there should be less noise and artifact added during processing through many layers in traditional processing. Cambridge claims that they don’t do like other brands with digital pre-amp by striping down the bits, Cambridge does the volume control at DSP level, then no bit stripped down, and it should be better sound quality since signal goes in shortest path. I have not experienced myself yet , But this is just a logic to open for discussion.

My music is just digital (flac, waw, dsf, dsd native) format source, they are 100% digital, I rarely hear CD, or vinyl because they are not so…convenience with daily use. Moreover I hate ton of remotes on the desk and control the thing separately. music on your finger (with the mobile app) is the choice to me.

Ive used the preamp in my CXN V2 to A/B songs vs going though my DAC & Preamp into my pass labs mono blocks.

Ultimately, I found by simply using it as a streamer and feeding a digital signal to my DAC, then separate BHK preamp, I’m better off.

But functionally it works and recalls where you left it last. It’s 0 to 100% in stream magic. Or 0 to 30 on your screen. Just turn it down before you play something, then bring it up to test it out. Then remember to turn down before powering off.

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@senna1a
Could i ask you about the sound going when you do A/B testing ?
Surely the digital pre-amp will work without any issue ( checked with the guy in Cambridge they encourgated to do that if i’m in short of money, or saving some penny for higher quality cables)

I mean, it’s sounds like a $100 digital preamp; it works. I did it to test functionality only.

So if you have no other means, it will play near term, until you get to the point you can pick up a preamp.

I would just do a quick test (assuming you have the CXN and an amp).

Only $100 digital preamp? is that so bad?
I will test it , but it is bad then the only way for now is to use the CXA81 integrated amp as preamp ( they have that XLR output) to pass by the signal to the mono block while start buying the new Stellar GC preamp/DAC.