XLR to RCA converter

I stumbled across this widget on Amazon. I thought maybe someone here might have a use?

That’s very interesting and it plays into something I’ve been considering posting for a while. Popular wisdom says, if you have balanced inputs and outputs on your equipment, you should use them. That seems to hold true. However, with engineers recording things so high on modern CDs, I only have about 2 on a scale of 0 to 10, before it’s so loud you can’t stand it. I’ve wondered for a while if switching back to better quality single ended lines would at least allow me to break even on sound while getting back a little more fine volume control. My balanced wires are Audioquest Emeralds. I’m guessing they are nearly 30 years old. I’m sure cable design has improved in that time.

It begs the question of which would be better, the level adjustment device in the link, or a good quality, single ended cable. Surely there’s going to be some noise introduced by the active device, and you’re adding a second connection. Balanced are supposed to sound better than single ended, and usually do. So, which to try? I know, you could try both but then there are returns to deal with, etc. Also, I just don’t like the idea of buying a product from a vendor that I’m using for evaluation purpose only. It’s different when it’s a high ended dealer and that’s the understanding going in. That may just be me.


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In my case the low single-ended output of the DSD led me to seek a way to use the balanced out into my fully balanced preamp and then into my single-ended amplifier. I found my solution via the Decware ZBIT which allows full output from a top end 1:1 Jensen transformer, and adjustment from 0 to full via a top notch attenuator. The only real downside to this device is the long long waiting list to get one.

Pinetree Audio can also make a device that will either convert balanced to single-ended or single-ended to balanced, with or without adjustment (he will custom build that on request). I have one of these in my third system (without adjustment) for the DSD there–works like a charm and sounds very nice.

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I don’t currently have a use and haven’t used a device like this but thought it was an interesting solution by accepting input and output using either style of connection.

Boy, I would always stay with balanced if given the choice. There are so many benefits to balanced that you’d be giving up. If you have a gain matching problem I would look to solve it in another way instead of reverting back to single ended. Just my two cents.

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I have a Mark Levinson No, 28 preamp. It offers those DIP switches on a circuit board to do gain matching but those are on the lowest setting. The preamp is connected to my M1200s with balance cables. The problem was made worse when I got my Mark Levinson 390S. It offers balanced outputs so I used them. The gain is higher so I lost even more useable volume knob. The 390S will operate at a preamp so you can switch to a variable gain mode. I tried that. My initial impression was, it didn’t sound quite as good and fixed output mode. Perhaps I should try it again.

Because it was free to try, I engaged the variable output on the 390S. I pulled out something I have on both vinyl and CD and matched the output of the player to the turntable. Now, 4 out of 10 is a very comfortable listening level. I’m not sure what I thought I heard or objected to in the players varriable volume circuit before because I’m not hearing it now. I guess it’s always best to exhaust playing with what you have before spending money.

It’s a particularly nasty day here and I’m off for veterans day. Thanks to all the veterans out there, by the way. I think I’ll spend the day making subtle speaker moves and recording my impressions.

Yes, thanks to all veterans.

I played taps on my front porch a half-hour ago (on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) in honor of those who did not make it, and as an acknowledgment of the risks and harms suffered by those who did return home.

(There is a national group of us trumpet players who stop what we are doing, go outside wherever we are, and play Taps on Memorial Day, etc. in honor of veterans, living and dead. )