I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out the best way to connect analog outputs from a musical instrument/controller to my Naim Uniti Nova. Namely, an Ableton Push 3 with 1/4 inch outs. I can get a cable that is 1/4 inch on one end and RCA on the other and use the Analogue 2 input pair.
But I’d rather go the DIN route. It seems we have two DIN inputs (Analogue 3 and 4) and each one can be stereo but I can’t figure out where to get a cable that would have two 1/4 inch jacks on one end and one 180 degree 5 pin DIN male on the other end.
There are also probably any number of cable and adapter combos I could use but I’d rather do something that could preserve a balanced connection or at the very least if unbalanced minimize noise as the cable needs to be 15 ft at least.
Can someone point me in the right direction? I’ve looked on Amazon and can’t find anything but don’t mind ordering a custom cable from somewhere if I know it will definitely work for my use case.
Be careful. The line outs are balanced TRS at ‘pro’ (ie high) signal levels, so getting the wiring right and avoiding clipping aren’t necessarily simple.
Using the headphone output might be a better option, but whether it works for your use case obviously depends on what you’re trying to do!
Standard stereo jack (probably with a common 3.5mm to 1/4” adapter) to two rca.
I have a 5 pin din to four 1/4” trs sculling around somewhere that I used to connect an m-audio interface to the tape loop of a NAIT 5; supplier now defunct however.
There are a few cable suppliers who cater for both HiFi and musician/pro audio markets who should understand your needs.
Try Gotham Cables, Designacable, or maybe Bluejeans.
The Uniti Nova has input settings that allow you to choose input sensitivity: 0.5V (mobile/phones), 1V (TV/AV), HiFi (2.5V), Studio (6.5V). I looked up the output level of my unbalanced headphone outs and it’s +3dbU full scale which is around 1V. So the TV/AV setting works well.
So why do you think using two 1/4 inch balanced cables to a single 5-pin DIN wouldn’t work? My interface says it outputs +18 dbU full scale which translates to about 6.15 V, so the pro studio input sensitivity setting of 6.5V seems like it would work really well.
Or is the question balanced vs unbalanced? I think you can use balanced on one end and unbalanced on the other, you just lose the benefits of balanced. And it’s my understanding that using the 5-pin DIN termination would be balanced.
I didn’t say it wouldn’t work, I said be careful. And you are checking all the right specifications. I wasn’t aware the Nova had selectable input sensitivity up to such a high level; you should be fine with that. The din input is not balanced; but you do need the right wiring, which I think will be connecting trs ring to signal ground at the din end. I suspect any of the suppliers @ChrisSU mentions will know exactly what is needed, and google will probably throw up no end of wiring diagrams.
A final thought though - if a long cable is essential, you might look at professional balanced to unbalanced conversion boxes from (say) Radial.
Edit 1 - corrected trs sleeve to trs ring above…
Edit 2 - my cable is four-core with overall braided shield; ring and sleeve common in each 1/4” plug and connected to shield; tip connected to individual pins in din; shield connected to din signal ground pin; din shell not connected. Works to connect m-audio fast track ultra to NAIT 5 tape loop.
Can you explain what those conversion boxes would do? I assume you mean to run the majority of the cable length balanced, then convert to unbalanced at the end. Which would be what, RCA at that end, and I’d need a cable to convert DUAL RCA to DIN?
I thought the point of the DIN connection was that it could support balanced connecti if needed because it has 5 pins. But maybe the cable standard allows it but the Uniti Nova just doesn’t support balanced inputs internally?
I’m not sure what would happen if I ran balanced 6.5V into the regular RCA inputs of the Nova set to 6.5V sensitivity. Presumably just a lot of noise and maybe ground loop hum?
Naim use DIN for unbalanced connections in preference to RCA on nearly all their equipment, but they never use DIN for balanced.
They have recently started to offer balanced connections, and these always use XLR. (They also used XLR for unbalanced connections on some of their recently discontinued power amps just to add to the confusion, but that’s not relevant to your equipment.)
The 180 degree 5 pin din as used by naim is the standard pinout as used by many manufacturers (back when it was in general use anyway - my A&R A60 used them…) and if fully wired carries two input channels, two output channels, and the signal ground - as used for (eg) a tape recorder. The Nova din input doesn’t have the output wired, so two not connected pins.
The 240 degree 5 pin din as used by Naim on some of the Aux inputs also carries power and, as far as I know, is a non-standard pinout.
And as @ChrisSU says, there are many other variations…
If you can match the sensitivities to the rca inputs, and use an appropriately wired cable, it will probably work fine - but ground loop and hum are possible outcomes.
Although cables patching balanced to unbalanced will work (and are cheap… ) they’re a compromise. Ideally, either an audio transformer or active electronics will do a better job, matching sensitivity and impedance so both ends work as designed.
So - yes, I think your ‘best’ solution would be long balanced cable runs to a box that converts balanced to unbalanced (and optionally +4dBu ‘pro’ to -10dBu ‘consumer’), then short unbalanced cables to Nova. I’m not convinced that din offers any advantages in this specific use case, so I’d probably use the rca inputs. I didn’t have the choice - Nait 5 is din only.
I can’t find the Radial box that does exactly what you need (despite being convinced that I saw one two days ago… ), but there are alternatives. I’ve used Orchid Electronics DI boxes before, and I see they also sell a dual transformer box that might suit. It’s also far cheaper than anything Radial sell…
Have a look and see what you think.
Canford and Sonifex are well-known makes of balanced to unbalanced transformers. They’re not at pocket-money prices, but the quality of the transformer matters for ultimate SQ, so may be worth the investment if running long cables in an electrically noisy environment.
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