I recently completed the connection of my 272 to active ATC speakers using the phono outputs rather than the DIN output as finding a suitable cable at reasonable cost proved challenging
As things are starting to bed in I am pondering what might replace the cables in time so am interested to know if sourcing cables to allow the DIN output to be used may offer any increase in sound quality?
All else being equal, DINs do perform better than RCA Phonos. For more info, read the FAQ here - Why Naim use DIN Connectors.
The main advantage of DIN over phono for stereo is that the ground is commoned between left and right signals thereby reducing low level noise, and there is one less (two for an end to end lead) physical connections required. Physical connections are a weak link in the chain and should ideally be minimised.
I am planning to go ATC active once I get a house move done & in the meantime I’ve been beavering away over the cable question.
Active ATC input connections are XLR, the 3 pins of which are signal (+) return (-) & the cable screen, and the screen needs to be connected to return (-) at the source amp (272) output end. This will be the case no matter if RCA or DIN is used. And of course you must have two cables, one to each speaker.
Re the point in FAQ about impedance issues; because of this I would not use RCA given a choice, and as the 272 has two DIN outputs it’s an elegant solution
… 2x separate DIN > 2-core+screen cables > XLR
Mike for audio frequencies and applications I would not worry about so called (characteristic) impedance issues… DIN is far from ideal as well, and even XLR, but we are not talking transmission lines
For optimum impedance management you ideally want a symmetrical balanced or a coaxial type connector such as BNC. In my experience DIN is far from ideal here, but as it doesn’t really matter for audio for non transmission lines it’s not an issue in my opinion.
The item that will I suspect have far more bearing is the physical connection quality and point contacts.
Eichmann (ETI) Bullets, or WBT (as Naim use) are examples of phono connectors that use a quality high pressure contact to precisely address this issue.
Yes Simon, I understand all that, Richard had directed the OP toward FAQ where impedance is considered.
My main point was connectivity & why I said …
This will be the case no matter if RCA or DIN is used.
However in my case if/when I do get the ATC’s, they have XLR only so there is no choice. The question remains what will the pre/streamer have, if a better Naim NAC-N X72 is available I suspect (hope) it will have twin DIN’s like the current 272. However I am looking (& listening) at something else with twin XLR
Mike, are the ATC XLRs balanced? I guess if so then some thought needs to be given for connectivity and converting from a Naim unbalanced to ATC balanced.
I know one can ground the negative signal pin to effectively make unbalanced (and CI is then definitely out of the window), but it would be interesting to know if there was a SQ impact in doing that.
I guess ATC should be able to advise… but interested to get your views.
Simon, yes the ATC amp module XLR input is balanced
ATC have it covered in their manuals, obviously they make it clear that balanced XLR to XLR is preferred, but they do show & discuss RCA to XLR.
The manual covers the potential problems such as hum with unbalanced RCA (or DIN) to XLR & suggests …
If the driving preamplifier is “double insulated” (i.e. has no mains earth), disconnect the signal cable screen at the RCA Phono plug end. Alternatively, disconnect the signal cable screen at the XLR end.
So with Naim & its signal ground to earth & with a DIN or RCA connection, I would disconnect the XLR end of the screen thereby only have the screen grounded at the preamp end.
Thanks… am interested to hear how you get on when you move and get those actives.
Did I read your post correctly? If the preamp is double insulated you don’t then need to disconnect the ground shield, but if it’s mains earthed grounded such as typically with Naim you do?
As I understand it to read: with a double insulated preamp, isolate the sleeve at the preamp end; with an earthed preamp, isolate the screen at the speaker end. In other words, if it’s an unbalanced preout, it’s advising not to have the screen grounded at both ends.
Don’t hold yer breath on the house move, we might get a NAC572 with balanced outputs before that.
In effect you’re building a cable based UnBal (opposite of a Balun).
Ah… so does that mean if I attach a wire with crocodile clips on either end to the outside of the RCA plugs in a stereo pair I will hear a sonic benefit? Or am I being naïve?
DIN plug outer casing are not electrically connected to anything.
Sorry Mike. My mistake. I’ve edited my post to refer to RCA plugs
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