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Linn silver XLR to RCA - balanced, or unbalanced raw cable ?


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To connext a Klimax Exaktbox (XLR output) with an Akurate amp (RCA input) you would need to build a custom cable to avoid using the extra contacts of an adaptor. This gives us two options:

1. Start from a balanced cable, and replace the respective XLR connector by a RCA plug.

2. Start from an unbalanced cable, and replace the respective RCA plug by a XLR connector.

Due to the different cable material, these two versions will certainly sound differently. Did anyone here put them to the test, to find out which one's better? @ThomasOK, maybe?

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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I’d always thought Linn Silver was just a copper cable, and the only difference was the plug - XLR or RCA phono.  Following with interest.  

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45 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

I’d always thought Linn Silver was just a copper cable, and the only difference was the plug - XLR or RCA phono.  Following with interest.  

It is copper, but balanced has 2 cores plus screen.  

Edited by Suffolkboy
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The same Linn Silver cable is used for both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA).

An XLR to RCA cable provides no benefit over a straight RCA cable. It removes the advantage of balanced audio and if not done properly can introduce noise/hum into your system so if you do not have to do it, it is best to avoid doing so.

My 2p/cents worth.

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Many years ago, I was in need of an extra input and there was only XLR left on the AKontrol. I had my Linn dealer take a set of RCA Linn black interconnects are replace one end with XLR. No problems. I think I was using it for a cassette tape player I still had.

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2 hours ago, Suffolkboy said:

It is copper, but balanced has 2 cores plus screen.  

I thought it was just one design of cable, and only the connectors differed.  And, clearly another contributor thinks so too.  However, I looked at Linn’s price list and they do list both a balanced and an unbalanced cable of the Silver design, so it looks like you were right.  They are the same price, and my balanced Silvers do say ‘balanced interconnect’ on them, which seems to confirm.  Apologies for doubting you!

However, just to confuse things further, Linn only list unbalanced Black design cable in reels. Yet they sell black as balanced and unbalanced!  I was sure that manufacturers like Belden and Van Damme sell cable that can be wired for either connector, but now I’m less certain. 
 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Linn-LP12 said:

Ok, just had a look at the Klimax Exaktbox and the only option you have is XLR. 

Rather than convert a XLR cable I would suggest you actually purchase Female XLR to RCA adaptors - e.g. https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/av-adapters/0448367/

It gives you much more flexible options for future upgrades, configurations etc. and leaves your cables intact.

Thx for your feedback, @Linn-LP12, and welcome to this forum. I know the Neutrik connectors and used two of them earlier to connect my KRDSM with a Uphorik, before I sourced a balanced cable. Other users on this forum advised elsewhere, that soldering a connector is always better, than using adaptors. This is where my thinking startet. But even with adaptors one might opt for different solutions, i. e. using balanced cables, or unbalanced cables. 

As cables - and their influence on SQ - are usually a much debated subject matter - we had tons of pages on Ethernet cables elsewhere ;-) - it's interesting to note, that the body of evidence on the differences between the two Linn silver variants appears to be small.

My expectation had been, that more experienced tweakers than yours truly had already fathomed this terrain. Now it looks pretty much uncharted?

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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20 hours ago, Suffolkboy said:

It is copper, but balanced has 2 cores plus screen.  

This is correct - I bought some balanced cable off the reel as it was all that I could get my hands on. One blue core, one white core and one braided screen. Are the balanced and unbalanced cables the same? No sure, as I only have factory unbalanced and cannot easily open the connector.

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The only difference will be the cold or inverted signal: either it ends at Exaktbox output whith the soldered XLR (using RCA cable) or it goes along with XLR cable and ends just before the soldered RCA at the amp. 

I have no idea how it influences the music, but would go for RCA cable and a soldered XLR. The extra strand in the XLR cable might work as an antenna. Just maybe.

Edited by StellanH
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8 hours ago, TooManyCatweazles said:

Thx for your feedback, @Linn-LP12, and welcome to this forum. I know the Neutrik connectors and used two of them earlier to connect my KRDSM with a Uphorik, before I sourced a balanced cable. Other users on this forum advised elsewhere, that soldering a connector is always better, than using adaptors. This is where my thinking startet. But even with adaptors one might opt for different solutions, i. e. using balanced cables, or unbalanced cables. 

As cables - and their influence on SQ - are usually a much debated subject matter - we had tons of pages on Ethernet cables elsewhere ;-) - it's interesting to note, that the body of evidence on the differences between the two Linn silver variants appears to be small.

My expectation had been, that more experienced tweakers than yours truly had already fathomed this terrain. Now it looks pretty much uncharted?

I would agree that, in general, a soldered connection is better than using an adaptor (one less connection in the chain) but if you purchase a quality XLR to RCA adaptor I would challenge anyone to prove to you that converting your expensive Linn Silver XLR cables to XLR/RCA would achieve/hear a better result than just using a good quality XLR to RCA adaptor.

Edited by Linn-LP12
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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, StellanH said:

For once my intuition seems to be right: check this link, you should have configuration "4" in the chart (output XLR to input RCA)

https://www.ranecommercial.com/kb_article.php?article=2107

Very interesting read. My conclusion is, that we should prefer Akurate amps in the XLR version to combine with Klimax, or Akurate Exaktboxes. This would give XLR to XLR, which is the distortion-wise superior connection according to the paper. For some reason they are less popular, than the RCA versions, however? On the other hand I believe to have read somewhere, that Linn uses output transformers - at least in the Klimax Exaktbox - which makes them eligible for XLR to RCA cabling. Puzzling stuff, this is!

Edited by TooManyCatweazles
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