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Question about dual input RCA/XLR actives speakers


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Hello,

 

I'm wondering if when using Dynaudio BM or LYD series monitor (I've not chosen yet), which have both RCA and XLR inputs, I will be able to plug sources to both XLR and RCA inputs. One source would get to XLR and the other one would get to RCA.

 

Of course I don't mean to send sound simultaneously to both entries, but I want to be sure that the monitor has no problem with that king of "double-pluging", and that I won't have to switch anything manually to use RCA or XLR entry when using one source then another.

 

Thanks !

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I've seen the LYD's and they have a switch on the back to set +-6db. That would suggest that the speaker may be balanced. If it says in the manual to set the switch to +6db when using the xlr inputs, and the -6db setting when using rca inputs, the amp is probably balanced. They should have labeled it better to avoid confusion. Unless it clearly states otherwise in the owners manual, I would use one or the other, not both.

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As everyone said, use one or the other to avoid problems.

 

A pro audio shop should be able to sell you a switch.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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  • 1 month later...

I would very much like to "double-plug" (i.e. non-simultaneously use one source via XLR and another source via RCA) my Quad 12L Active speakers. I have searched unsuccessfully for a switch to allow this. I cannot believe such an item isn't manufactured by someone, but I've searched extensively. Perhaps my limited knowledge of electronics precludes my identifying something in plain view? I suppose I could find something on a DIY site which I may resort to ultimately.

 

Can anyone please help?

 

Thanks kindly!

 

Bill

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My point exactly, "gelehere"! My question is: "Where might I find said switch?" I consider "Sweetwater" a "pro audio shop", but have come up empty there. I am hoping some CA member will say: "Here is what you want!" The "Here" will reference a specific switch sold by a specific vendor. You could do far worse than quoting Eloise (She is extremely knowledgeable and I have learned a great deal from her and always enjoy reading her posts), but in this instance I need more specific guidance. Thanks all the same!

 

 

Bill

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I would very much like to "double-plug" (i.e. non-simultaneously use one source via XLR and another source via RCA) my Quad 12L Active speakers. I have searched unsuccessfully for a switch to allow this. I cannot believe such an item isn't manufactured by someone, but I've searched extensively. Perhaps my limited knowledge of electronics precludes my identifying something in plain view? I suppose I could find something on a DIY site which I may resort to ultimately.

 

Can anyone please help?

 

Thanks kindly!

 

Bill

 

You can do this with cabling. Use 1/4" phone plugs with TR plugs for single ended and ones terminated with TRS for balanced.

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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As everyone said, use one or the other to avoid problems.

 

A pro audio shop should be able to sell you a switch.

UK here but...

Kramer: VS-4X 4x1 Balanced St-Audio Switcher

And

Goldpoint SW2X In/Out Selectors (More audiophile orientated)

And

Audibox pro audio tools from ARX

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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The switches you list seem to be made for balanced only components. I believe the OP wants to switch back and forth between xlr balanced and rca single ended. I know you can buy xlr to rca adapters, but will they work in this case? Normally, you either jump the pins or flip a switch to change over to SE operation.

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The switches you list seem to be made for balanced only components. I believe the OP wants to switch back and forth between xlr balanced and rca single ended. I know you can buy xlr to rca adapters, but will they work in this case? Normally, you either jump the pins or flip a switch to change over to SE operation.

 

Firstly, thanks to reponders "Panelhead" and Eloise. Secondly, THANKS to "17629" who truly understood my question. I always attempt to write clearly, but often find my meaning(s) misunderstood or misconstrued. The solutions provided by "Panelhead" and Eloise do not solve my problem which I will restate: I have powered monitors which have both RCA inputs (unbalanced) and XLR inputs (balanced). I wish to connect 2 different sources (one RCA unbalanced and one XLR balanced) to each speaker simultaneously (GASP!) with the intention of switching from one to the other source (NEVER both together - WHEW!) as I desire. OK? This will require a switch which completely disconnects the unused source (I'm thinking "toggle"). I think: "What a simple thing. There must be hundreds of such devices made!" Wrong and wrong apparently. I believe said switch should be passive, have 2 RCA (unbalanced) and 2 XLR (balanced) INPUTS and 2 RCA (unbalanced) and 2 XLR (balanced) OUPUTS and some means of selecting one or the other input (a toggle switch, rotary knob or push buttons would suffice). Said switch should be high enough quality so as not to degrade signals other than that inherent in the technology of such connections and switches (EEs, serious audiophiles and purist mavens kindly throttle back as I have no intention of provoking a war. I would anticipate a subtle decrement in sonics probably beyond my acoustical threshold in any event (alas!)).

 

I've tried internet queries including the following terms in various combinations (basic Boolean Logic stuff): switch, passive, RCA/XLR, DI, lift (not sure it matters though), pro audio, line input selector, powered monitor input selector and simultaneous RCA/XLR. Negative operators include conversion, convert, converter, adapter, phase, summing, hum, eliminator, duplex, reamp, and mono.

 

I get bupkis, nada, ziltch, cypher, bugger all and/or nix, but NO BLEEDIN' SUCH SWITCH!!!!!!

 

I hope the aforementioned is clear. I further hope I have neither insulted nor offended anyone and sincerely apologize if I have. Perhaps "Panelhead" and Eloise have given me true solutions which I am too ignorant or stupid to see. If so kindly enlighten me please! I am very frustrated this problem has taken me hours to discover so many things which will work (thenks Edison!).

 

It appears 'DIY Street' might have to be driven. Lord mercy that's usually a LONG and ultimately economically costly adventure in my experience.....

 

Thanks all and help if able!

 

Bill

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i haven't ever seen a switch like is being requested. i also wouldn't use both inputs on powered speakers. the dynaudio manual isn't clear, but doing that is certainly not conventional.

 

the traditional way to switch inputs is a switcher or a preamp. for $350, luminous audio makes a great solution to switch two inputs and provide a volume control. i have the xlr version and it's great.

 

just my two cents . . .

 

btw -- in the bm series, only the compact and the 5 have balanced and analog inputs -- the 6 and 12 only have balanced.

main rig:  simaudio moon mind 2 > chord dave > parasound jc-5 > kef reference 1
second rig:  simaudio moon mind 2 > chord qutest > luxman sq-n150 > klipsch heresy 1
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i haven't ever seen a switch like is being requested. i also wouldn't use both inputs on powered speakers. the dynaudio manual isn't clear, but doing that is certainly not conventional.

 

the traditional way to switch inputs is a switcher or a preamp. for $350, luminous audio makes a great solution to switch two inputs and provide a volume control. i have the xlr version and it's great.

 

just my two cents . . .

 

btw -- in the bm series, only the compact and the 5 have balanced and analog inputs -- the 6 and 12 only have balanced.

 

Thanks for the information however when I explore the "Luminous Audio" website I find preamps with RCA or XLR connections, but not both. This, of course, helps not at all.

 

I'm guessing your last sentence refers to Dynaudio speakers?

 

Perhaps you and others would not unconventionally use both inputs on powered speakers, but some of us sure would! This is not the first time this question has been asked and for some of us a suitable solution is desirable and useful. I'll probably build my own switch eventually - buying a preamp or a mixer is surrendering IMO and I don't know how to surrender(!).

 

Thanks kindly for your help. "Luminous Audio" appears to make some very nice equipment and right here in the USA!!!! ("This country used to make shit. Now everybody's got their hand in somebody's pocket!" The Wire Season 4 I think)

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If you insist on both xlr and rca, then get a Parasound p5. Takes xlr and rca inputs and has xlr and rca outputs. It's about $1000.

main rig:  simaudio moon mind 2 > chord dave > parasound jc-5 > kef reference 1
second rig:  simaudio moon mind 2 > chord qutest > luxman sq-n150 > klipsch heresy 1
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HA! You must not have understood my last post. I don't need a mixer or a preamp (much less one that costs 10 Benjamins!). I need a SWITCH. And I will have my switch. And then I WILL RULE THE WORLD!!!!!! Or die trying.... Capisce?

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The solutions provided by "Panelhead" and Eloise do not solve my problem which I will restate: I have powered monitors which have both RCA inputs (unbalanced) and XLR inputs (balanced). I wish to connect 2 different sources (one RCA unbalanced and one XLR balanced) to each speaker simultaneously (GASP!) with the intention of switching from one to the other source (NEVER both together - WHEW!) as I desire. OK?

Yes, I think we understand that (at least I did) ... but you CANNOT do that. With most monitors (including your Quad 12L) you have to choose balanced or unbalanced. Monitors are not typically designed to accept multiple sources - that is the job of a pre-amp or mixer!

 

This will require a switch which completely disconnects the unused source (I'm thinking "toggle"). I think: "What a simple thing. There must be hundreds of such devices made!" Wrong and wrong apparently. I believe said switch should be passive, have 2 RCA (unbalanced) and 2 XLR (balanced) INPUTS and 2 RCA (unbalanced) and 2 XLR (balanced) OUPUTS and some means of selecting one or the other input (a toggle switch, rotary knob or push buttons would suffice).

I think you are over complicating the device and creating a device that doesn't exist. If you connect to both the RCA and the XLR input on your speakers (even if one is unpowered / disconnected) you are risking that the connection will create an internal short as we do not know the internal design of the Quad. If you haven't already done so you could try asking Quad.

 

The upshot is you are going to have to convert the connections ... you could actually try playing around with some simple cables first - a simple RCA wired to ground and hot on the XLR - which will tell you how your speakers perform connecting an unbalanced signal to the balanced input. Either that or give up on the (often false) notion that Balanced is superior and use something like Schiit Audio, Headphone amps and DACs made in USA. to switch between them. Unless you are running long cables there is unlikely to be a quality issue.

 

I hope the aforementioned is clear. I further hope I have neither insulted nor offended anyone and sincerely apologize if I have. Perhaps "Panelhead" and Eloise have given me true solutions which I am too ignorant or stupid to see. If so kindly enlighten me please! I am very frustrated this problem has taken me hours to discover so many things which will work (thenks Edison!).

I'm not insulted or offended ... the problem is the solution you want doesn't exist (IMO) and so you are going to have to put up with swapping cables, or compromise and buy a device which will do what you want (switch between two inputs) but not in the way you want to do it (keeping one source balanced and the other unbalanced).

 

It appears 'DIY Street' might have to be driven. Lord mercy that's usually a LONG and ultimately economically costly adventure in my experience.....

I can agree with you here ... unless you have an exact plan, by the time you get into all the options you can end up spending vast funds and still not fulfilling your requirements.

 

Eloise

 

PS. it may be worth listing the two devices you are connecting to the speakers - someone may have an out of the box suggestion!

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise,

 

Thanks most kindly for your informative, succinct, clear and pointed reply (which is per your usual and as you are a frequent contributor one of the many vectors which make CA such an invaluable source IMO)! I now understand why my search has been fruitless. At the powered speaker level the inputs are an 'either/or' proposition! As such, neither preamp, mixer nor switch will reliably and safely allow selection of balanced/unbalanced sources. HA! It's all now clear. Thank you!!!!!

 

The 2 devices in question are: 1) My custom AV server (built around the AsRock Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac) which I use for video and accompanying 5.1 HD surround via the Z170's Realtek ALC 1150 chip. This constitutes the RCA (unbalanced) source.

 

2) My Audiobyte Black Dragon DAC/HPA which I use for audio via headphones. The Black Dragon has the headphone jack in front as well as balanced AND UNBALANCED (capitalized for a reason I'll explain in a moment) XLR and RCA output jacks, respectively in the rear. The Black Dragon is fed by my custom Audio server and a wired NAS feeds both AV and Audio servers. I've been listening to music through headphones, but I would also like the flexibility of listening to music through my Quads from time to time. I looked at my Quads, saw both RCA and XLR inputs and thought: "Aha! I'll just plug into both inputs simultaneously. When I'm watching video, the AV server's RCA cables will drive the Quads, whilst when I'm listening to music, the Black Dragon's XLR cables will drive the Quads! How elegant and simple!" THEN I read Eloise's comment(s) on this thread. Thank heaven I did! I might have been otherwise dining on fried Quad for dinner - a very chewy, uncommon and rather pricey entree!

 

Re: The capitalized letters. A solution (available all along) is to connect ONLY the Quad's RCA (unbalanced) inputs. Then I can use a preamp or switch to select either AV server or Black Dragon (via its RCA outputs)as source. I had considered this recently but it felt too much like quitting (or surrender). Now I see this course is the correct one.

 

The other course available is to simply physically connect either Black Dragon XLR OR AV server RCA source into the Quads to listen to music or watch video, respectively. I had previously dismissed this outright as cumbersome and primitive. I only mention it now because I intend to compare the Quads balanced and unbalanced and suspect I'll hear no significant difference. Only if balanced unmistakably trumps unbalanced will I revert to this.

 

Again, thanks(!!), Eloise, Disruptive Audio_ELF

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@WMW Is there is no way you could use digital output from your gaming PC into the Black Dragon? Then simply need the balanced output to the Quads.

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Eloise,

 

A capital suggestion! However, if there is such way to do this it is not apparent to me. It would require, say, routing the front speaker outputs of the 5.1 chip on the motherboard through the SPDIF connection to the SPDIF input on the Dragon while simultaneously using the rear and center/subwoofer motherboard analog outputs as I do now. As I understand it the digital 5.1 (or 7.1) output info (via SPDIF, HDMI or USB) is available to interface with an AV receiver input. The mb was not designed to split the audio codec between analog and digital outputs. It would be nice if I were wrong....

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  • 2 weeks later...

Couldn't you use something like this: https://goo.gl/triVn7

and then use one of the XLR switches listed by Eloise? Then you would only have one connection (XLR) to the speakers.

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBTouch ->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: iPeng (iPad Air & iPhone); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: iPhone 12 ProMax & Radio Paradise or NAS streaming; Sony NWZ ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  

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Couldn't you use something like this: https://goo.gl/triVn7

and then use one of the XLR switches listed by Eloise? Then you would only have one connection (XLR) to the speakers.

 

No. This isn't a cable or connector issue. Its internal. When you switch a fully balanced component to run in SE, the circuit changes. Its one or the other and you can't have them both plugged in at the same time. The easiest way to visualize this it with jumpers. On some components, you make the change from balanced to SE operation by inserting small jumpers in the xlr connectors themselves. You short/connect 2 of the pins. After you do that, you can then plug cables into the SE rca connectors. You can't use the xlr connectors again until you remove the jumpers. You can do the same thing with switches instead of jumpers, but the same rules apply.

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No. This isn't a cable or connector issue. Its internal. When you switch a fully balanced component to run in SE, the circuit changes. Its one or the other and you can't have them both plugged in at the same time. The easiest way to visualize this it with jumpers. On some components, you make the change from balanced to SE operation by inserting small jumpers in the xlr connectors themselves. You short/connect 2 of the pins. After you do that, you can then plug cables into the SE rca connectors. You can't use the xlr connectors again until you remove the jumpers. You can do the same thing with switches instead of jumpers, but the same rules apply.

 

Ok. I am not familiar with XLR functionality; so what happens if a SE signal is sent over the XLR circuit?

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBTouch ->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: iPeng (iPad Air & iPhone); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: iPhone 12 ProMax & Radio Paradise or NAS streaming; Sony NWZ ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  

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Ok. I am not familiar with XLR functionality; so what happens if a SE signal is sent over the XLR circuit?

 

 

There's no "XLR" circuit. XLR is just a 3 contact connector. The 2 circuit types are Balanced and SE. A SE signal can't be sent over a Balanced system. That's the main point of this whole discussion. If you want to use a balanced component with SE components, you need to configure the balanced piece to operate SE. When you do that, it makes the balanced component SE, literally. You can't run a balanced signal through it again until you undo the conversion. Its one or the other, and the change has to occur inside the component itself, thats why switches, cables and connectors won't work.

 

If you look at the picture of the cable you posted with the xlr connector on one end, and the rca connector on the other, that's an unbalanced (SE) design. The rca connector has only 2 contact points. That means only 2 of the 3 pins on the xlr connector will be used making the entire cable SE. If you tried plugging the xlr end of that cable into a component operating balanced, it wouldn't work and can possibly do damage.

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There's no "XLR" circuit. XLR is just a 3 contact connector. The 2 circuit types are Balanced and SE. A SE signal can't be sent over a Balanced system. That's the main point of this whole discussion. If you want to use a balanced component with SE components, you need to configure the balanced piece to operate SE. When you do that, it makes the balanced component SE, literally. You can't run a balanced signal through it again until you undo the conversion. Its one or the other, and the change has to occur inside the component itself, thats why switches, cables and connectors won't work.

 

If you look at the picture of the cable you posted with the xlr connector on one end, and the rca connector on the other, that's an unbalanced (SE) design. The rca connector has only 2 contact points. That means only 2 of the 3 pins on the xlr connector will be used making the entire cable SE. If you tried plugging the xlr end of that cable into a component operating balanced, it wouldn't work and can possibly do damage.

 

Thank you.

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBTouch ->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: iPeng (iPad Air & iPhone); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: iPhone 12 ProMax & Radio Paradise or NAS streaming; Sony NWZ ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  

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