"Splitter" used for Monoblock Operation?

This may be a stupid question, but here goes anyway.

Being completely new to the "High-er End Audio" this is all a little overwhelming, not to mention expensive. Nonetheless, fun and challenging.

I am trying to cable components that were recently purchased, in fact, they are still in boxes. Here is the equipment list:

Pre-amplifier - BAT (Balanced Audio Technologies) VK-52SE
(Which is a balanced tube preamp)

Monoblock Amplifiers - Spectron Musician III Mk 2
(with all available upgrades)

Speakers - Gallo Ref 3.5's

Interconnects -
From what I have read thus far, the best recommendation for connection between the preamp and the amplifiers is to use a balanced cable, since the preamp is balanced. Also, the preferred method of connection is to utilize the XLR connection instead of the RCA connection.

Does the "Audiogon" family agree with this? If not, Why not?

Either way, for a monoblock configuration a "splitter" must be utilized at each amplifier. While looking for cables here in the "Buy" section of Audiogon a search for "Splitter" comes up empty. This is a little confusing. Numerous cables, no "Splitters". Am I using the wrong search term?

Do most of the cable manufacturers make splitters for their cables or should I be looking for one from a different manufacturer?

Lastly, I would also like to hear any comments regarding speaker wire recommendations that would work well with this equipment.

There do not seem to alot of cable brands that offer this by default however there is another pair of Spectron monos up for sale on Audiogon right now where the seller is picturing a set of Synergistic Y-splitters for XLR cabling. You have not said what cable brand you intend to purchase but I would agree that (at least over the years in my systems), XLR yields the best results. If it is a fully balanced pre-amp then this is all the more true (IMHO). I'd suggest determining which interconnects you intend to utilize and asking that manufacturer if they will make a Y-splitter XLR cable for you as a special order (many will do special orders in my experience...).

Alternatively, if your pre-amp allows multiple simultaneous outputs, you can run dual pairs of XLR from your pre-amp to your amps.
Here are some inexpensive XLR y-adapters/splitters, made in most cases by companies that serve the pro audio market. IMO there is a good chance you would find that much more expensive custom made and/or audiophile-oriented adapters would not provide significantly better results. Perhaps very slightly different, but not necessarily better. Considering the low prices, these certainly seem worth trying, in any event.

-- Al
Go balanced. I don't understand why you need a Y splitter cable. Please explain in detail.
Onhwy61, they're needed to convert the two stereo amps to monoblock operation. See "Part III" on this page.

Best regards,
-- Al
The BAT 52 should have 2 sets of balanced outputs. Unless you need the outputs for something else, I would just use those. Doing that will eliminate the need for the splitter. Also, since both of your components are fully balanced, you need to make sure that the cables you buy are fully balanced, as well. The only reason I thought to mention this is that Synergistic was brought up in another post. I know that not all of their cables are balanced even though you can get them with XLR connectors. Its easy to overlook.
Thanks. I didn't know that.
Zephyr and Al,

Thanks for the info.

As far as manufacturer I haven't decided and have no preferences. I would like find something that will be up to the task for the equipment involved, but not thinking to go too expensive at this point as I can always upgrade later.

I am looking in the preowned market in order to get the best cable for the money. For the XLR pair $300 to $700 would probably work for now. Any suggestions? Purist Audio? Others?

I would like find something that will be up to the task for the equipment involved, but not thinking to go too expensive at this point as I can always upgrade later.
You might want to consider using Mogami Gold Studio, at least initially. If you search the term "Mogami" in past threads here, you will find more than a few people having high quality systems who reported being surprised at how well it compared to vastly more expensive cables. Also, fwiw, it is widely used in pro audio applications.

To the extent that its sonic character may depart from neutral, based on anecdotal reports it would probably be SLIGHTLY in the direction of providing a relatively relaxed presentation, as opposed to one that is hyper-detailed. The degree to which that occurs probably depends on the output impedance of your preamp at high frequencies, for which I couldn't find data. But its specified nominal value of 200 ohms (presumably at mid-range frequencies) is low enough to suggest that is unlikely to be a significant issue.

-- Al

Thank you for you input. I hadn't thought about simply using 2 balanced cables for each amp. That would appear to be the cleanest method of connection.


For the most part, the only reading I have done on cables has been about the Purist products. I will look into the Mogami cables.
It might be a good idea to ask Victor at BAT for his advice as to which of the two approaches (two cables per channel, or one cable + splitter) is likely to provide the best sonics. There are a number of variables involved that are dependent on the design of the preamp. An important one is whether or not the two XLR outputs that are provided on the preamp for each channel are independently buffered (i.e., driven by separate output stages), or not.

If you contact him, let him know the approximate lengths of the cables that are necessary. Also let him know that the input impedance of each channel of the Spectron amps is specified as 50K.

-- Al
I haven't taken the time to read all posts/links. But if the question is to use either dual cables from Preamp output OR a splitter from one channel I would put my money on the dual set of cables being superior.

My advice; avoid splitters as often as possible. I have used some good ones by Audioquest and Cardas, and they still do lots of damage to the signal. I have used the dual outputs of the VAC Signature Preamplifier MkII to great effect (reviewed for Dagogo.com).

Doubling cabling typically results in wonderful improvement. Splitters usually result in serious degradation. You have been warned! :)
I should have mentioned this before but one of the reasons that I though 2 runs of cable may be better is that a y splitter may not be enough. On your amps, you need to see how far apart the left and right inputs are. Sometimes they are right next to each other, but often they are far apart. If they are too far apart you'll probably have to have something custom made. Unless BAT says otherwise, I feel 2 seperate runs would be much better.

As far as what cable you should go with, the options are endless; as are the opinions. If you don't mind going with used and want to save some money, Audioquest makes a cable called the Jaguar. Its discontunied but is almost identical to the model that replaced it; the Columbia. I own both. They sound so similiar that I don't think I can tell the difference. People are always so quick to upgrade without much thought, you can sometimes get great deals on older models that are just at good as current. Also, copper AQ is known, not only for sounding good, but works with just about anything. Its a really safe bet. Also, you mentioned Purist. The Cable Company lent me a pair to try (Aquasomething, and they were about $1000-1100), and I thought the AQ was a lot better. Please remember, though, thats was just my opinion. No question that others will feel different based on what they like.
All of you, are the reason the rest of us learn so much here on Audiogon.

You all have given me some great information to research and think about. My system will be that much better because of your invaluable expertise.

Thank you, again!