Rossini with headphones

Is it acceptable to connect both XLR & RCA outputs at the same time? Would like to connect a headphone amp while it is also connected to my speaker amp.

Yes. The RCA and XLR outputs are completely separate circuits ( of different design) and are fully buffered. Go ahead, you can connect a headphone and other amp simultaneously using the two outputs.


For further reading:

Please note that the SQ differs quite a lot between RCA and XLR out. I prefer to use a headamp/ preamp connected to the balanced XLR out, and go from there to headphones and amp.


^ what Erno said. Very audible difference.


I am using a XLR splitter from the XLR balanced outputs of my Rossini to two headphone amps. Would I be better off to forget the splitters and run the second amp off the preamp out function of the first amp.

I’d avoid splitters and go chained; it’s going to be buffered and less potential issues with impedance.

Edit: especially if you can set the preamp out at unity gain.

Assuming you’re not going to use both amps at the same time, there’s a German company called Dodocus that makes great quality passive switchers.

Neither using a splitter or daisy chaining preamps is a good idea for sound quality . I am assuming that the latter is important to you as you have spent a lot of money on a Rossini.

If you can’t make your mind up which headphone amp you prefer then try or be prepared to swap connections if your preference changes. If you need to have two headphone amps as you have two listeners at the same time then find a headphone amp with two outputs that can be used simultaneously. If none of these options is acceptable to you then you will suffer impaired sound quality and , IMO, there is no really satisfactory advice I can offer - that includes switches attached to outputs.

Pete is right of course, and in hindsight I should have made clear in my post that you should chain or switch only if you absolutely must.

Changing connections is almost a physical impossibility due to rack position considerations. So I have three options.

  1. XLR splitters the current solution. Both my dealer and the dCS sales manager said this was no problem.
  2. XLR connection for the most used amp. RCA connection for the other amp.
  3. Preamp out from the first amp to the second amp.

Options are a good thing. I have a SS amp and a tube amp to give different flavors. Too for short listening sessions I do not have to wait for the tube amp reach optimal operating temperature by employing the SS amp.

If I had 5 identical headphone amps daisy chained using identical pairs of xlr cables all the way from the dac, are you suggesting the output from the headphone amp directly connected to the dac would be degraded or just the outputs from 2nd through 5th?

Everything else being equal, DAC to amp one would be the same as if there were no others. From amp two onwards there would be increasing degradation of sound.

This is easy to test for yourself keeping it simple with single ended analogue connections. Just get 4 identical interconnects and three male/female RCA couplers ( per channel unless you do this in mono). Even without involving the circuitry of adding actual amps you should hear the difference as you just add more connections.

I am struggling to understand this. In my case where DAC to amp one utilizes the separate preamp function of amp one out to to amp two, how is this different than a 500K sound system where the chain goes DAC>Preamp>Amp(s)>Speakers(headphones). In my case amp one functions solely as a preamp. Where is the difference and degradation of signal?

Wouldn’t the increase in noise just be linear? At what point is the sound from the xlr degraded to a level below the direct output from RCA?

But that schematic is not what you propose. You add a splitter after amp or another preamp after the first preamp for headphone amp 2.

Which xlr splitter are you using?

Why do you think it is only related to noise? Every connection involves a change of conducting material and every change of material involves a change of impedance which can produce a reflection of the signal. The degree to which this is audible will vary of course.

That is an issue of quality for which I have no answer beyond that it will be varied according to the listener’s sensitivities and the programme material. I suspect that the answer may be different when playing a Haydn string quartet compared to a session listening to Anthrax or Kreator.

I am sorry I did not make myself clear. The purpose of using amp one’s preamp function is to eliminate the splitter. I want to upgrade my XLR interconnects from DAC to amp one and I don’t want a splitter connected to the very expensive upgrade interconnects. By using the the preamp function on amp one I also avoid using the subpar S/E output of the Rossini to amp two.

Acoustic Zen Silver Reference II. I had Purist Design adapters but the Acoustic Zen adapters are more ergonomically useful. If we can agree I am not degrading my experience they would be for sale.

Well my use of the word noise was nontechnical. My understanding of electronics is limited to that gained through a year of physics in college 30+ years ago.

It clearly makes sense that the signal would be degraded but on some level its also strange. I’d like to be able to use three different types of hpas without having to shut everything down and reconnect components. However, now that the worlds best headphones are available for $4k USD, I’ll never need a pair of Staxx.

In this case as I mentioned a passive switcher can do all that for you, without having to power off and reconnect. I think I recall at least a couple members here are now or have been using switchers from Dodocus; @PaleRider was one I believe and perpahs @Ermos. I might be wrong.

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