audio aero capitol reference - XLR or RCA ?

Anybody compared this,
which is better ?
I spoke with one of the designers at last year's Festival du Son in Montréal, Canada and asked him which one is better. He told me that the machine is single-ended, the balanced output is generated through a device. So, for short runs, RCA should be better, but if you use it also as a preamp and run a long interconnect (as I do), he told me the XLR would be better. In the end why don't you listen to both and choose the one you prefer, trust your ears.
Through a device? I wonder what that curtails? So is it truely balanced or not?

my amp has only rca inputs. i just ordered a xlr to rca adaptor ( new cardas clear - xlr to rca from dedicated audio)
Hi Masilu
The factory rep information is correct. The Capitole's single-ended outputs are converted to a balanced signal by going through a Burr Brown special line driver that splits the signal into positive phase and negative phase (pins 2 an 3 of the XLR connector).

I suggest that you use the RCA outputs of the Capitole, unless your cables are very long.
In your system, because your amp has RCA inputs, the RCA to RCA connection is the shorter signal path.
A XLR to RCA adapter will certainly degrade the sound quality.

Those with amps that have a direct XLR input will get better sound from the Capitole's XLR output, again because it is a shorter signal path.
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IMO 100% XLR out from the Capitol even if you have to convert it to Rca at the amp end. You will get a much quieter background. The best plug converters are the Tara Labs ones.

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Bob Reynolds, you are correct.
Common mode noise reduction (CMRR) will only happen if the source AND the receiving end are balanced. Adapters at any end of the cable do not bring any of the balanced IC benefits and degrade sound quality by means of an extra connection.
Balanced input transformers at the amp or preamp do provide CMRR, if the player's output is balanced.

Since the Capitole uses a custom-designed balanced line driver, its balanced output will drive longer ICs and get the benefit of common noise rejection if connected to a REAL balanced input. By real I mean two symmetrical, identical, opposing polarity input circuits, not a XLR socket with connections only to pins 1 and 2 or with an adapter.

In my previous post, I tried to simplify the issue by writing shorter signal path. I meant apples should connect to apples and oranges should be connected to oranges. Your post covers more ground and is technically more correct.

Zenieth, for the purposes of interconnection CMRR, truly balanced means two symmetrical, identical, opposing polarity OUTPUT AND INPUT circuits, not balanced DACs, which may or may not provide (depending on board layout & power supplies) an improvement in DAC internal S/N ratio.

There is too much confusion and WAY too much adoration of balanced connections in the high-end community.
In my humble opinion, end-to-end balanced circuits cost double and provide about 10% better bass and much less natural midrange timbre/soundstaging. The reason is quite clear once one realizes that transistors can be matched for gain (Beta) at ONE specific volume level, not at CD's 64,000 different discrete levels. Resistors can be matched at 0.5% and so on.
Best case, a well-implemented balanced circuit will have an average dynamic (not bench-measured, static) imbalance of 1% or more between the opposing phases.
AFAIK, 1% imbalance in a push-pull circuit translates to 1% harmonic distortion at the output.
Please correct me if I am wrong.
Casouza said: "There is too much confusion and WAY too much adoration of balanced connections in the high-end community."

Right on.
I have had a Capitole Reference and now use an Audio Aero Prestige SACD. For years I have been using a 30 foot Nirvana SL interconnect that runs into the basement and up into the music room at the other end. The system sounds fantastic and I haven't felt any urge to used balanced connectors or cables even when the opportunity presented itself. If you have good shielded ICs, you don't have to worry about noise.
And like someone else has pointed out, using xlr to rca cables in your situation is useless as well as unnecessary.
I have for some years been using both balanced and RCA outputs from my Capitole as it has fed two rooms, each with it's own amp. I usually just turned on amp on at a time. Also, the Capitole has several digital inputs allowing for choices of DVD, Satellite, and of course, CD. Recently Audio Aero incorporated an analog passthru for an FM tuner.

I have had for a little over a year an Anthem D2 which fits all of the above uses. Of late I have been using the analog balanced outputs from the Capitole into the D2 and have been very impressed with this. I am aware that the Capitole is an unbalanced unit and yes, that I should stick with RCA in such cases.

Still, to my ears this set-up works well for me.


Thanks for all the inputs.

Cardas had a NEW xlr to rca adaptor called CLEAR.

you may have a look at these at dedicated audio web site.