Using both RCA and XLR outputs on DSDAC MKII

I have been using both 2 outputs (RCA and XLR) since MKI and now MKII, because I have two different systems in two different rooms (XLR to the Headphone System, RCA to the living room audio system). However, the manual states as follows:
“We do not recommend using both outputs at the same time. Be aware that most
amplifiers and preamplifiers will produce 6dB higher level with the balanced outputs relative
to the single ended outputs. If you are using both outputs be advised they will be at
different levels.” Using both outputs Is not recommended because of the different output levels? Also, in the future update, would it be possible to turn on/off the outputs, so that I can leave both XLR/RCA outputs connected and switch with a Remote? Any thoughts?

No, the problem is that the RCA is in parallel to one side of the XLR. This unbalances the circuit and in some systems/setups this can lead to a loss of common mode noise rejection. If you don’t hear any difference when you plug and unplug either output then having both connected is fine.

This connection in in the hardware and hence can’t be updated in the current units.


Hi Ted, Got it! Thanks for the clarification.

I recently tried running both outputs simultaneously to ill effect, sonics suffered significantly. I am now running balanced out to solo to my Vitus RI-101 Mk II.

Just another example of an advantage to having lead ears. Life is simpler if you can’t hear a difference and it doesn’t hurt the gear.

Like @tak, I too have two systems connected to my MKII DAC via XLR and RCA connections…or at least I used to. I had all sorts of noise issues with my MKII and one of the things I discovered while trouble shooting was having both XLR and RCA outputs connected deteriorated the sound. I previously had a MKI and had it connected via XLR and RCA for years and never noticed any issue.

I read the MKII manual before purchasing and didn’t think much of the stated output level difference, that’s what volume controls are for.

I am disappointed that PS Audio chose not to disclose in the manual the hardware choice (RCA in parallel to one side of the XLR) and associated potential sonic degradation in the design. Maybe for some systems it is not an issue but it definitely is in mine. Maybe I lived with it without knowing for 5 years with my MKI but now that I have experienced it in the MKII I can’t have both outputs connected and enjoy my system.

I wonder how many MKII users only have one output vs two outputs connected? And of those users that have two outputs connected, are they experiencing the increased noise/sonic degradation? Do they even know?


I guess, a better alternative is to use a XLR splitter instead. (Luckily, two of my output devices are XLR.). It may affect the output level but I can adjust it with the volume control of the DAC (my current fixed volume is set at 93).
@Paul “I have never had a bad effect from using a splitter. Just make sure it’s a quality one. Just make sure the splitter cables are short.” Using a Xlr splitter or switch

Yes Tak, that’s what I’m doing (with my Mk1), although the connectors from the short XLR ‘Y’ cables are going to the power amps and powered subs, respectively. (I use line-level into my subs.)

Way back when, I asked Paul for his advice and that’s what he recommended. :wink:

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