XLR versus RCA interconnects

Has anyone compared the BHK preamp to amp interconnect using XLR versus RCA interconnects?


I have not, myself.

Has anyone used a balanced cable in from a source to your BHK pre and RCA out to your amp? How does the BHK process the balanced signal? Is it transformer balanced? Perhaps someone from PS audio will chime in.

Yes, people can use both the balanced and unbalanced at the same time on the preamp. Unlike the DirectStream DAC, which isn’t appreciative of such behavior, the preamp hasn’t an output transformer. Instead, it has a MOSFET high current class A output stage that drives both cables at the same time, quite nicely.

I think Paul is addressing using two output cables, but lancelock was asking about a balanced in and RCA out.

Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. There’s no issue with that. The preamp is 100% balanced, input to output regardless of how you feed it.

It’s probably instructive remember that the single ended output is just one leg of the balanced output - so regardless of if you use a balanced or single ended input, the preamp’s output is identical.

I can’t remember where this was brought up, but I’m planning to connect my subwoofer (single ended) to the balanced output of the BHK preamp. My amp only has single ended inputs so that will be connected to the preamp’s RCA out.

Looking at XLR female to RCA female adapters so I can use my existing cable, the internal wiring of the adapter has pins 1 (gnd) and 3 (-) connected together and grounded while pin 2 (+) carried the signal.

Will having pin 3 grounded affect the BHK balanced output? Should I build my own and just leave pin 3 open?

The latter. You don’t want to ground the - output of the BHK. Just leave it open.

Paul McGowan said The latter. You don't want to ground the - output of the BHK. Just leave it open.
Thanks, that what I thought, I just don't know why the few XLR -> RCA adapters I looked at all had pins 1 and 3 connected to ground.

Because this is by far the most common method of connecting balanced to an unbalanced; with shield and ground of the XLR connected.

What about an XLR splitter kit the ones Emotiva build? Would this be best to split the balanced out put for L & R with 2 subs?

I do not know the Emotiva product, but splitting the balanced out is perfectly fine.

Michael said

Has anyone compared the BHK preamp to amp interconnect using XLR versus RCA interconnects?

Given how long this thread has been here, I doubt there will be any new responses to your original question.

You may just need to be an adventurous guinea pig.

I have and it’s not much difference other than the extra couple of db and also in my case a reduction removal of slight, low level “hiss” from my speakers.

I have tried both types of interconnect and I use balanced throughout… But, as Elk said, you would be better trying for yourself. ‘What is good for the goose isn’t necessary good for the gander’ ! Different systems, etc… I use the BHK Pre- 250 & 300s in my big system: the 250 is a distance away from the preamp so balanced interconnects are required… With single-ended interconnects there’s this level of hissss that bugs me … In my system with balanced interconnects there is zero-nada noise… And it definitely sounds better with balanced interconnects top to toe… When I first coupled the system together I made up and used Mogami quad-star 2893, because it was easy to build and cheap to try… The Mogami balanced outperformed my top of the range Kimber phono interconnects… l then bought better balanced interconnects ! But you would be better trying both types for yourself…

Dirk said l then bought better balanced interconnects !
What difference did this make?

A little observation: It is well worth trying balanced with PSA equipment as the units are truly balanced, not just single-ended with pseudo-balanced inputs/outputs.

A few months ago I switched from single-ended to balanced interconnects between my DAC --> preamp and preamp --> amp. Overall a cleaner, more transparent sound – worth doing.


a cheap way to compare for yourself is to go to a band/music shop and purchase professional microphone XLR cables.

Mogami Gold or Klotz M2. (Or purchase the raw cable and connectors and diy your own).

These perform very well as an introduction. As Dirk (and me) found they do work very nicely. They can of course be bettered but you can quickly run in to big $$$ depending on lengths etc.

And as Paul says, PS Audio products are truly balanced throughout so why not.

I moved from Mogami to MG Audio. A friend asked if he could hear the MG Audio cables - as I was flying to Ireland, I told him to go to my house and have a listen - my wife Suzanne would be at home… About 3 weeks later - I went into the cupboard with a mind to connect up one of my turntables ( I have my own dedicated room which was solely built for the hi-fi and I can do what I want in it - this makes for a harmonious life with my wife…! At the speaker end and in the centre of the room a door opens to a smaller room ( like a ‘big’ cupboard ) all the equipment is installed inside said room. With only the speakers in the listening room plus the bass traps-etc. ) I place black pillow cases on top of the record decks ( 4 off ) saves faffing about with dust covers. Well, I found sitting on top of one record deck a 4 ft pair of MG Audio balanced interconnects…My friend had disconnected said MG Audio interconnects between the DS and the BHK preamp and for 10 days I had been “really” enjoying my music with the home brew Mogami quad stars in situ. Of course, as soon as I noticed this, the music didn’t sound nearly as good107_gif4_gif Only joking … All part and parcel of hi-fi psychosis… As Frank says, pay $$$$$$$$ more to convince myself … At no point did I ever think the system wasn’t sounding as musical with the Mogami between the DS & BHK Pre … Goes to show !! Mogami is an excellent cable for the money, it cost peanuts, compared to the MG Audio cables… But the MG Audio cables are much better smiley-music005_gif4_gif