Elgar plus + Plinius SA103

Hello all, I’m consider what connection type (balanced xlr or unbalanced RCA) will be better to connect dac Elgar plus with amplifier Plinius SA103.
My transport DCs NB is connected by single AES cable. I play only files of my own CD’s rips.

Best regards, Hubert

Hi Hubert, How far is it between the Elgar and the Plinius (great amp btw!)? If it is only a meter or two then it doesn’t make much difference from a cabling perspective. However I know that in some of their DACs dCS showed a lot more love to the balanced output stage. In the Bartók for instance the balanced output is a class A circuit built with discrete components whereas the unbalanced output stage is much simpler. Don’t know if that applies to the Elgar Plus though. Paging @PAR!

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Using balanced or RCA depends not only only theory ,which suggests a preference for balanced, but implementation. Not only does the result of either depend upon the Elgar Plus outputs but the input circuits of the Plinius. Later dCS units certainly use different output circuit designs for the RCA or XLR analogue outputs. I am unsure if this is true for Elgar Plus. The subjective outcome will also depend on the Plinius input and even the cables that you use.

So before a final decision I believe that you really need to try both.

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The SA 103 is a fully balanced design so is able to benefit fully from balanced cabling. Whether this will make any audible difference is, as Pete says, impossible to really predict and depends in part on the length of run involved.

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Thanks for yours answers. DAC is close to amplifier. I use 1 meter long interconnect.
Important thing about amplifier is that, fully balanced it is at mono bridge settings. I don’t know how it works at standard start, stereo mode. Can’t find amplifier scheme to analyze…
I will look for the best cable for recommended connection:)

A knob on the rear panel lets you select which input and output mode you want to use: RCA stereo, RCA bridged, balanced stereo, or balanced bridged. When in balanced mono mode, the SA-103 operates in fully balanced mono from input to output.

From: https://www.stereophile.com/content/plinius-audio-sa-103-power-amplifier

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Manual Cover_SA103.indd (pliniusaudio.com)

Page 9

Good catch @Ermos and @august. Although they don’t say it outright this implies the amp may only actually be fully balanced in Bridged Mono mode. If that is the case it is not actually a balanced amplification circuit - slightly misleading marketing. However IMO a balanced connection is still a safe bet given the possibility that the Elgar Plus may favour the balanced output stage. It is highly unlikely to be worse than single ended at least!

Balanced, fully balanced, differential: If you like to (try to) understand how a fully balanced power amplifier works, get yourself through this :wink:

I’m curious about one think. I suspect, that Elgar is not balanced device. Only have a good balanced output (discrete class A, not by opamp) which is made from a SE signal. So, in this case, RCA output should be first source.

What do You think?

Of course Elgar is fully balanced.