a few years back i looked for such an item. i was using a Placette passive remote volume control without any switchable inputs which needed to be near the amps but i wanted my sources (and switching) near my listening position.
what i found was a selection of 'Pro Audio' switchers that were 'low-fi' at best.
i finally had one made to my specs (by Jena Labs). i included a set of 'mute' toggles for when i was using vinyl). it has three XLR inputs (2 of which are switchable to RCA) and one XLR output.
it has all top of line Neutric connectors, Jena Labs wire, is dual mono (2 separate aluminum cases with a Corian Faceplate) and uses 2 very expensive Shalco rotary switchers. the whole thing was deep-immersion cryo'd.
it wasn't cheap but it was transparent.....i used it for 4 years.
i compared this set-up with many very expensive passive and active preamps and it bettered all comers in my system until i listened to the darTZeel battery powered preamp ($23k).
I think I will have to make one too. I want a switch-box that has both balanced and unbalanced in's and balanced out. I have a McIntosh MDA1000 that sounds better using the balanced output directly to the amps and my preamp is unbalanced. for my preamp I use an unbalanced to balanced cable. I have to plug and unplug to switch between them.
As Rwwear stated, Jensen transformers makes the ISO-MAX line http://www.jensen-transformers.com/iso_aud.html
Look at the model PI-2XX. You can order that unit with XLR inputs and RCA outputs (model PI-2XR). Place it on top of your integrated amp and use 1 foot RCA ICs from it to the integrated. They cost about $210.
If you need to convert level as well, look at PC-2XR.
Thank you to you all for the inputs. However,I did not make it clear that I have two CDPs with one pair of XLR ouputs for each and my intergrated has only one pair of XLR input. I don't want the hassle to plug-in and plug out when switching between CDPs. Look like the Jensen switches only allow only one pair XLR in and one pair XLR out. Anyway, I will call Jensens to follow-up. Again, thank you for sharing the info.
Andrew, you were clear. I goofed it up badly. I didn't make it clear at all how to use the Jensen product. Sorry for the confusion.
Jensen transformers are not switches; they allow the conversion to and from balanced and unbalanced lines. The idea is to convert an unused unbalanced (RCA) input of your integrated amp into a balanced (XLR) input. That way you'll use 2 inputs of your integrated and switch among them as usual.
So, one CDP will use the XLR input of your integrated. The other CDP will connect to the XLR input of the Jensen ISO-MAX and the RCA output of the Jensen will connect to an RCA input of your integrated. In effect you have converted the RCA input of your integrated to balanced.
Hope that clears things up a bit.
A friend of mine has the basic Jensen. His system is not Audiophile, but still is quite good. I could hear no compromise in quality with the Jensen.
Kramer Electronics makes different switches- multiple balanced and unbalanced. I bought one model with 4 balanced inputs and one out with switches and all internal wiring changed to Acoustic Zen silver ref to match my ics. Honestly I can tell the difference in sound with or without it in the signal path. Look up in web for link. You may want to talk to Larry at Garret (distributor) 425-939-7970 for your need for easy model find.
I am also looking into a switch box. How significant was the difference in sound with the Kramer switch installed? What was different? From what I could gather, some of the switches have a S/N ratio in the 80s & at best low 90s.
I sent an e-mail to the US distributor on Tuesday but have yet to hear anything.
Would you be willing to share your design/specs with us? Like you, I've not be satisfied with what is available.
Ncwogger, i'm no techie; Jennifer Crock of Jena Labs did all the technical work.....i just told her what i wanted and how i was going to use it. my friend is her international distributor so i was able to get her to do it.
my post above gives a basic description of it. here is a picture link;Switchbox
the picture shows 2 Shakti Stones on top of it on my old Zoethecus rack.
as you can see from the picture, the switchbox has a Corian Face plate, dual-mono Shalco rotary switches, and twin mute toggles. the back has three XLR inputs and one XLR output using top-of-line Neutric connectors. two of the three XLR inputs can be toggled to RCA's. the whole thing was deep-immersion cryo'd. it uses twin separate anodized stainless steel boxes boxes for the circutry.....it is completely dual mono....the only connection between the two channels is the faceplate. it uses BDR cones as feet.
after building my unit Jennifer considered actually making a commercial product out of it. i referred a friend to her for one slightly less exotic. the problem was that it was just too expensive for her to build considering the parts costs and detail work needed.
as i have replaced this switchbox in my system with the $23k darTZeel battery powered preamp i would consider selling it (which would make my wife happy...i want to keep it as i could never find another).
Mapletree Audio offers the LR1 Pro, which has balanced XLR connectors... http://hollowstate.netfirms.com
That is a nice looking unit. I can see why you are having a hard time letting it go. The application I'm looking at is the reverse; one XLR input splitting into two XLR outputs (one output selectable to RCA). I want to bi-amp my Martin Logans (combo electrostat & 8" woofer); Tube for electrostat & SS for 8" woofer. Due to mismatch in the input impedence of the two (100k ohms-tube vs 30k ohms-ss), I was going to add an impedence balancing circuit.
Don't see why your unit wouldn't work (may need to change some connectors/wiring). What are the dimensions? How much would you be asking for the unit? I live in Raleigh, NC.
Have you used their LR1 pro? Is it transparent or is the sound altered?
I went to the website; looks nice. They seem flexible in meeting your specific needs.
Nope, never used one, nor heard one. Stumbled upon their site while searching for an RCA audio switchbox. I ended up getting the Niles AXP-1, which although inexpensive, sounds very transparent. BTW, I also have ML's (Aerius i's), vertically bi-amped using a Sunfire Cinema Grand Five. Sounds fantastic. I use the Niles to alternate inputs between my Squeezebox/Benchmark DAC-1 or Yamaha RXV-1000 (for movies).
Ncwogger, prior to your question yesterday; i did sell my switchbox....at least my wife is happy.
i'm not sure it could have been reconfigured to your needs......but then as i mentioned....i'm no techie. some aspects of the switcher would have no value to you such as the mute toggles and the RCA inputs.
to answer your 'other' question; the faceplate is 14" long....and each separate box for each channel is about 7" x 4" x 2".
just FYI the buyer is from Charleston.....a Gamecock fan.....sorry, i could not resist.
Ncwogger, Like I said back to back switching with switch on and without did not changed sound drastically. But you can tell direct connection without switch was slightly/very slightly better.
Sounds like you're very happy with Niles & bi-amping. I'll check out the Niles AXP-1 also.
Thanks for the follow-up. It is appreciated.
That's alright. Like many here, I'm a transplant (St. Louis,MO; Go Cards). Heck, I even married a local gal, so, I guess I'm an offical Carolinian.
Thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated.