ASR Basis Exclusive/Vector 4 combo - balanced?

I was hoping that someone out there is also using a Vector 3/4 into a ASR Basis Exclusive and had experimented using the balanced in option (well XLR's in at any rate rather than the standard RCA's). I am currently running RCA's in and balanced out and am very happy with the results but I am wondering if there are any performance gains to be had from going to the extra expense of re-terminating the phono ccable. Additionally, if anyone has done this how have they completed the wiring? That is, how have you used pin 1? Have you split the ground?

Any assistance greatly appreciated.
Below is how I wired my Vector 4 for operation with XLR connection:

Pin 1 on both XLR connectors is not connected.

Pin 2 of each XLR should get the positive (+) output for each channel if the phonostage positive (+) input is pin 2.
(Right channel XLR pin 2 should have continuity (connect) with Red (+) right channel output)
(Left channel XLR pin 2 should have continuity (connect) with White (+) right channel output)

Pin 3 of each XLR should get the negative (-) output for each channel if the phonostage negative (-) input is pin 3
(Right channel XLR pin 3 should have continuity (connect) with Green (-) right channel output)
(Left channel XLR pin 2 should have continuity (connect) with Blue (-) right channel output)

The shield of both (left and right channel) cables are connected to the ground wire that comes out of the Acrylic terminal block. You should connect this ground wire to the Phonostage ground terminal. Because of this, pin 1 of the XLR is not connected.

Hope this helps,
Dre, many thanks for your very detailed response. Most helpful. Did you find this generated less noise than the RCA connection of your phono stage or was balanced the only option for it? Also were there any obvious sonic benefit for you in going the balanced route?

I did not notice any noise reduction.
- My phonostage can be switched from one input mode to the other on the fly. I turned the system all the way up and listened to the system gain noise on the balanced input mode then switched to single-end mode and noticed no change in noise level. This s most likely due to having a good input grounding scheme and/or little RFI/EMI around my table and phonostage. This method did use the same XLR input since the circuit is switched independent of the connector used.

The sonic benefit is audible in this case.
-Ayre (and ASR) claim that the phonostage works better using the balanced input. Using “Julsang” from the ATR Master Cut pressing of the Proprius LP (Cantate Domino) as a test this evening, I checked the sonic benefit in real time. In my situation, the gain is refinement, depth of stage, and a more whole sonic picture. In contrast, in single ended mode, there is a shade less of the items mentioned above. At the end of the day, I’m still happy I made the connector change. I’ve also made a pair of XLR to RCA adaptors to use with other phonostages that cross my path from time to time.

From what I’ve read about your ASR Basis Exclusive, I would expect that your may hear similar benefits.

Hope this helps,
Dre, thanks once again for taking the time to listen so that you could give such a clear comparison between the two terminations. The noise level comparisons, given the way the Basis PSTT phono cable is terminated should be as you have stated with the XLR termination but good to have the confirmation.

Your discussion re the sonic differences between the two connections is interesting and your observations with your Ayre do correspond with what ASR say about their unit; that ultimate performance comes via the balanced connections.

I'll give it a go. At worst I guess the XLR's will sound identical to the RCA's. Many thanks once again.

Not that it is crucial by any means, but once you make the change both your cartridge signals will have similar connection points and the same amount of metal to transverse at the phonostage input. The sonic benefit is debatable of course.

If you don't mind, I'd like to hear from you when you make the change. You can do it on this thread or via e-mail contact. It's always good to get feedback.


In the above post I should have said traverse instead of transverse. sorry.