XLR vs RCA ... and which cables are you using?

Thanks, that is a very clear statement from dCS themselves!

Correct me if I am wrong. Is dCS saying that while the balanced XLR outputs on the Rossini are considered superior they still recommend using the unbalanced RCA output if the Rossini will be connected to an unbalanced input?

My Naim 552 pre is unbalanced and with DIN inputs. I currently use a Chord Music RCA>DIN cable to connect my Rossini to the Naim pre - utilizing the RCA out on the Rossini.


I read this as a typical consumer product advice: it is the lowest risk alternative. They explain that you might experience more clicks and pops from muting (and I expect sample rate changes) when you use the balanced output into an unbalanced input. By advising you to use the unbalanced output you will less likely have complaints about clicks and pops…

You could just give it a try, if you can get the appropriate cable, and see which one sounds better!

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Bubbling this thread back up. I’m interested in getting a new pair of XLR cables for my Bartok. Right now I’m using a pair of DNM balanced cables. These are good, but I’m interested in trying something new. My system is fairly dialed in and I have not changed cables in years. Partly because I’m daunted by the choices and I’m not sure how to evaluate them.

At the moment, I’m using the Bartok into a balanced headphone amp (my two channel system is in storage until early 2023).

I’ve scanned the thread above–lots of ideas, nothing seems to stand out. Any updated recommendations? I also just ask my dealer what they suggest.

I’m not one to spend enormous sums of cash on cables. Approaching $1000 is my limit, but if there’s a solid recommendations just over that I’d love to hear it too. I was originally looking at Black Cat cables, but it seems the owner passed away earlier this year.

I’m using this: XLR cables Canare L-4E6S 4-wire [star-quad]. Also I tried before with olds Transparent Reference with good sound, but I prefer Canare , very low cost, very good sound


Sorry to resurrect this old thread, I didn’t want to start a new thread for this basic question. I did speed-read this and a few others but couldn’t find the answer I’m looking for.

Simple question - on my non- Apex Rossini Player/DAC, can both xlr and rca analog outputs be connected simultaneously?

Here’s what’s happening: I was running balanced monoblocks and using a decent set of Straightwire Virtuoso 5m XLR running from my preamp which is off to the side of the room, to the monoblocks between the speakers.
I then switched to an integrated that doesn’t accept balanced, and have the integrated between the speakers.
So with the idea of it being temporary, I used the XLR output on the Rossini and a Cardas adapter on the amp end switching to RCA for the amp input. (Any thoughts on this?).

This worked fine. No hum or buzz and it sounds GREAT.
Yesterday I had a new cable delivered, a 12’ pair of Audience AU24 RCAs.
Adding these to the system, they do not sound as good on first listen. They sound muffled and lacking in clarity.
Both cables are of a similar price point, around $500 or so on the used market. The rest of my cables are all Iconoclast and I’m starting to wish I’d bit the bullet and paid the extra. But I may switch back to monoblocks at some point, so the new rca cables would then sit in the closet.
Anyway, it would be useful to put the RCA cables on a different amp input and be able to switch quickly between the two Rossini outputs.

So to summarize:
Any thoughts on using an adapter on the xlr as a permanent solution, versus finding a better RCA cable, and can both outputs be connected at the same time?
Also, any opinion on why the cable with the adapter on xlr sounds better than the rca cable without adapter? Am I hearing the better sounding internal balanced circuits of the Rossini in play, or is it just a better sounding cable than the RCA pair I bought from Audience? Hmmmm….

(Love my Rossini, purchased just before the Holidays. I’ve been laid up recovering from spinal surgery for a couple months so haven’t been able to do any cable switching and messing around until this past week).

Hi Carl,

Yes they can:


Many thanks Erno,
I will try to get better at using the search function… :blush:

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@Ermos quote=“AudioResurgence, post:148, topic:665”]
Simple question - on my non- Apex Rossini Player/DAC, can both xlr and rca analog outputs be connected simultaneously?

Echoing @Ermos, yes and IMHO this is one of the cooler features of the Rossini DAC (among others). You can drive two different amps in two different parts of the house–e.g., one close to the DAC with RCA, and one far from the DAC with XLR–at the same time with the same source

Alternatively, you can use one for headphones, like everyone’s favorite Kiwi, aka, @all2ofme, does ; )



@AndyL Im on a process of up-grading the interconnect and speaker cables and i have to say regardless the crazy price of the cables, they are the best up-grade for the money i ever try, much better than up-grading the speakers and dac together and i never thought my system could sound so good, its on the top 3 best systems i heard ever. For exemple i heard the presentation of the Alex V with the top of the range dac, pre and power of nagra, Transparent cables (XL i think) and my system sounds much better, so, cables do matter.

I use Nordost reference and supreme reference and I’m now like i said up-grading the cables to the Odin Gold but because is a lot of money even if its the best up-grade for the money, the up-grade is even better if i can do it for less money and for the last 4 days I’m listening to the top of the range Synergestic Research SRX. I trully recommend to give it a listen to this brands. In the past i had use the Heimdall 2 and the TYR 2 and its great cables. The power cables and the speakers are the ones i felt more impact in the sound and the interconnect the less impact.

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12 foot RCA cables seem long to me…I wonder if you are hearing some negative effects due to the long RCA run. XLR cables can be long without affecting sound quality.

I am afraid that is not the case. Balanced cables are subject to virtually all of the same physical attributes as unbalanced ones. Their advantage concerns a single aspect , their improved ability to reject parasitic interference. This reason is why they are preferred for linger runs. Otherwise they remain subject to all of the factors that affect other cable interfaces.

A 12 foot run of RCA cable is long compared to most audio setups but not excessive ( except perhaps for tonearm connections). It is possible that another fact will have affected @AudioResurgence . He says that the cable was only delivered a day previously. Cables often require a period of use before their optimum performance is revealed and this brief one may well be insufficient.

Hi Carl,

I just saw this question which I found very pertinent. I have a non Apex Rossini Player. I wanted to run to two rooms also and have experimented with various options using existing equipment and have done so as follows.

I use my Rossini without an additional preamp. I run the RCA connections to a Quad 606 power amp using 1 metre Chord Signature cables, then to Quad ESP63 speakers using Chord Signature XL cables about 3 metres long. These are all located in my main room and sound great to me.

On the same rack I also connect the balanced output to an Audio Research 300.2 power amp with Signature cables of 1 metre. Then via Chord Epic X cables 13 metres long routed under the floor to an adjacent smaller room with Monitor Audio Platinum 100 standmount speakers. The sound in that room is great too.

I had to experiment with the combination of equipment so that with both power amps switched on the volume was reasonably balanced between rooms and the final setup achieves this. Initially I had the ARC300.2 powering the Quad speakers and a Cambridge Audio 651W for the Platinum 100s but the ARC just did not have the heft for the Quad speakers while the Platinums were just over powered at the same time. My 30 year old Quad 606 was retrieved from the attic and sent for service (by Quad) and really is the best amp for the ESLs despite not having balanced inputs. Even though the ARC300.2 is higher powered it has a less sensitive input so it all balances out. There are compromises in the final setup but it suits me great.

Good luck.


I have the Lina stack and want to upgrade the XLR and BNC cables.

What is my best choice while staying reasonable in spend?

I’ve read all the threads on it but I can’t make up my mind and was hoping someone with the setup can give some guidance.

Figure not more than $1500 all in unless more/less makes a lot more sense?

Thanks in advance for feedback!

I’ve always liked the top line offering from DH Labs Silver Sonic they’re priced in your range.

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For me
Bluejeans BNCs for clock cables
Mogami 3173 for analog and digital cables

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As I live nearby and have their cables for all my phones, I ended up having Moon Audio make me some bnc’s and XLR’s for my Lina stack.

Excited for the upgrade and looking forward to listening :slight_smile:

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I like the https://www.wireonwire.com XLR cables, to my mind they sounded better than the AudioQuest Wind and they are tuneable to some extent.