Hello everyone. I’m planning to add an electrostatic headphone set to my current system. I would plan to connect the HP amp via the RCA output on the Bartok (since the XLR output is currently plugged into my preamp/amp/speakers). Unfortunately the amp which I’m currently looking at has only XLR inputs. Question: would I lose something if I switch my Bartok to Preamp ICs from XLR to RCA in terms of SQ? Note that the preamp is connected to the amp via XLR (not sure whether this factor could change things). The other option would be to purchase an XLR-to-RCA adapter, but then again I’m afraid that this could be suboptimal in terms of SQ. Thanks. Franco
XLR/RCA converters are rarely good for SQ. Does your chosen electrostatic amp not have a loop output? Doesn’t your ARC preamp have a loop output? If either of these does, you don’t have this problem.
Greg, thanks for your reply but I’m not sure I understand. The HP amp that I’m looking at is a Carbon (or KKSGHV) witch I would couple with Stax 009s. My plan would be to connect the Bartok to the PH amp and at the same time to my preamp/2 channel system. My current preamp in an ARC ref 3.
Franco: the Carbon has a set of loop outputs expressly for this purpose. See pic. You can place it first or second in your chain after the Bartok, depending on whether you prefer to use your preamp’s loop or your Carbon. I would use the Carbon. I know from my own experience that the signal is pass-through. There is no need to use the RCA outputs on the Bartok.
Thanks Greg. So the setup would be Bartok > Carbon > preamp > amp > speakers? and I would select line or HP from the Bartok?
Line. XLR line out to Carbon. HP out is only outputting to the Bartók’s headphone connections on its front.
That would be my pick, but you could also probably do Bartok > preamp > Carbon > amp > speakers if you wanted that for some reason. And Erno is right about the Line selection. But at the flick of a switch, you can be listening to non-electrostats from the front of your Bartok. Nice setup.
Thanks Erno. So, if I understand correctly, in this configuration, line would go to speakers and carbon simultaneously? What if I want to exclude one or the other?
Don’t turn it on.
The other option is to ask the manufacturer to build a carbon with RCA inputs and connect the Bartok via its RCA output which is separate and independent. Not sure whether SQ would be adversely affected.
Line XLR out from Bartók would go to Carbon first, and copies it to both Carbon and preamp. If you put the Carbon on for headphone listening, but leave your preamp off, you can listen to headphones. If you leave Carbon off, but put your preamp and amp on, you can listen to speakers.
Thanks Erno. One final question: is this configuration the same one that you’re currently using for your external head amp?