You can certainly use an XLR-RCA adapter to feed your amp a single ended signal. Just put them on the input to the amp as Tvad says. However, you would lose the noise rejection benefit of the balanced cables. You can't have it both ways.
The noise rejection comes from the fact that the cables are balanced and any noise that is picked up will be equal in both lines. This noise is then cancelled at the input to the amp, but most home listening rooms just don't have a level of electrical noise that is worth worrying about so I doubt you would hear any increase in noise.
You will be fine with your plan. We are an authorized Cardas dealer and many customers convert just as you suggest with positive results. Drop me a line if we can be of any further assistance.
Thanks very much for your responses.
I just purchased a pair of Cardas converters from Keith at Linear Interconnects (http://www.linearinterconnects.com). Their service was excellent and the prices are lower than anywhere else I checked. You shouldn't have any problems with it.
Going unbalanced you will lose near- 6dB of amplifier's gain.
The bigger question is whether you can really improve the sound by adding more connections?
So your Manley is not a balanced design and using the XLR input adds one more stage of conversion for the amp. But is this really inferior to using 2 more connections and lots of soldering? I will think not. And that's the exact reason I did not use adaptor to connect my CDP to my SF Line 3 SE to take advantage of my Line 3 SE balanced design.
Worth trying and sharing your knowledge with us though.
Thanks to everyone for the input. I agree with you, Semi, that with more connections, it may not be worth the effort. At the same time, though, it's probably worth spending $ 49.00 to see what will happen with the Cardas adaptors and if using the single-ended connection improves the overall presentation. I'll let you know what I hear...
I am having the same concerns. I have a fully balanced preamp but currently a single ended source. I'm wondering whether it's better to get the preamp to have a single ended input or simply buy a single ended to XLR cable.
I'm running a single ended Cardas Golden Reference IC from my CD (MF Nu-Vista) to my pre-amp (BAT VK-3i). The MF has only single ended connections and the BAT has both SE and balanced. When I tried SE to SE, the sound was OK, but then I tried SE (output) to balanced (input) with the BAT adapters and ... WHOA! I picked up much more gain and the sound was fabulous.
It appears that going balanced TO the input provides more gain than going balanced FROM the output. Don't know why this is. Anyone have an answer to this one?
As to your idea of getting only one end of the IC terminated with an XLR, I'd forget about it. The re-sale value is likely to be nil and you may eventually be stuck with a cable you won't want anymore.
Howie, I went through the same puzzle and used both adapters and a specialty cable. For me, having been through the process, adapters are the way to go. I didn't notice any sonic difference between the adapters and the custom cable, and the adapters are easier to resell if and when you reconfigure your system. Less expensive too by a long stretch.
Well I have a balanced Placette linestage which I can choose to have single ended inputs installed. So I'm deciding whether to get that modification or simply get a RCA to XLR cable.
I added a pair of Cardas single-ended adapters to the amp end of the interconnects and all I get is a buzzing sound thru my speakers. I turned everything else off in the room and still get the same buzzzzzzzzzz.
Maybe it's because I didn't put the same adapters on the source end of my interconnects?
Any input will be appreciated. thanks
I've eliminated the ground loop hum and the change to single-ended at the amp end is remarkable. Much better soundstage and slamm. In addition, I was surprised to see that I got greater GAIN by using the single-ended amp connections at the amp end. This is exactly the opposite of what I expected since XLR's normally provide a 6dB gain. I plan to call Manley and discuss, but if you're a Manley owner, you must use single-ended at the amp end to get the full potential of these fine amps.