Single XLR Output

Might be a dumb question, but why do some devices (CD PWT for example) only have a single XLR (AES/EBU) output ports but all the pre-amps I have seen have separate left and right channel XLR inputs? How do I connect these devices using balanced XLR cables?

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In the case of the PWT the XLR output is referred to as AES/EBU and is for the transmission of a digital signal at 110 ohm.

In the case where there are two inputs on a preamp or amp that is for the transmission of a single channel of stereo analog information. So to to connect to those inputs you need a source that is outputting left and right channel analog information–some tuners, disc players, phono preamps, etc.


That’s a digital output (AES/EBU) that must be connected to a DAC (digital to analog converter). The L/R XLR inputs on a preamp are for analog.
@lonson you beat me to the punch.


So the PWT XLR connects to a digital input on the pre-amp, like a coax input?

Yes, you could connect in several ways, including the XLR if there is an appropriate single XLR digital input.

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I guess my question would be, why would the digital XLR use one port sometimes, while other times use two? It could be just as confusing for a person to mix up digital and analog XLR as could be for them to mix up eARC HDMI and those appropriate for I2S. If you don’t speak audiophile, you could blow some serious dough.

I guess the answer to that would be Read The, Er, Manual :slight_smile:
However good to note that connecting an AES/EBU digital output (on XLR) to the analogue input of a preamp shouldn’t cause damage, though it probably wouldn’t sound nice.
But then, any change to a system like that suggests starting with the volume at minimum on first try anyway as good practice :slight_smile:

AES/EBU as a format has been around for donkey’s years, and was originally intended for Pro (think studio) use. It is probab;y “better” than RCA SPDIF digital in terms of getting a clean digital signal through.

Actually come to think of it the OP’s original question could very well have been about the single RCA out (digital SPDIF) on a CD transport and the twin (analogue) RCA inputs on a preamp, and the answer would have been very similar :slight_smile:

When the single XLR was mentioned PWT I had to go back and look, as I have the PST, which has two. I’m certain it was a technological advancement as to why the decision was made to change. It just adds another layer to knowing exactly what you’re buying before you find something is completely incompatible with your system. I can say that I have been reading quite a bit more since having gotten more heavily into hi-fi.

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Well reading the manual is normally my starting point, and that is exactly what I did. So let’s see what the manual had to say about the single XLR output -

" 1. XLR. This is a balanced S/PDIF encoded output that complies with standards set by the AES/EBU (Audio Engineering Society/European Broadcasting Union). This can output up to 192kHz 24 bit data."

guess it was silly for me to ask for clarification after all.


Actually it is very compatible with my system, just exploring all connection options.

My bad, the manual also had this to say about the XLR output -

The PWT offers multiple digital output choices including: XLR (AES/EBU), RCA and TOSLINK (S/PDIF) as well as I�S. All four digital connections are extremely low jitter, high-performance outputs, fed from the PWT’s internal fixed asynchronous low jitter master clock."


Never silly to ask for clarification - clumsy attempt at humour on my part, sorry :slight_smile:
I’ve not seen the PSA manuals, might have been nicer for the manual to clarify as the first sentence of their description rather than leave it to the end.

Well, make it more interesting, here is PST rear panel. Now it has two. :slight_smile:

A single AES/EBU can handle 192/24 or DSD 64 of a stereo signal (two channel). With two connectors they split the signal into left channel (one connector) and right channel (the other connector). As such it can handle twice the data rate in each channel, i.e., 384/24 or DSD 128.

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