Topic: XLR cables for this DAC

I will connect my RME ADI-2 DAC to a Nord One MKII power amplifier, and I am looking for suggestions for good XLR cables? I have slightly bright speakers, so maybe something in pure copper.

I have no experience in XLR cables (used RCA interconnects up until now). Will studio cables like Canare or Mogami be as good as "audiophile" cables like Chord and QED, if budget is up to €200.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

In the pro audio world cables are viewed on as either working or failing. Cheaper cables are prone the earlier failure. So unless you need very long cables (10m or longer) go with a any decent or even cheap one. You can use the EQ of the ADI to tame highs if needed.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

3 (edited by Curt962 2019-02-19 12:24:05)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I've used Canare 4E6S "Star Quad" Balanced Cable  for Years.  Love it!

Excellent Electrical Specifications, with very low Shunt Capacitance.    It is NOT a Tone Control for Bright Speakers.  EQ, or Room Treatment are a more appropriate means of remedying that.

www.CS1.net

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I don't plan to do EQing with cables, but it never hurts to get as good match as possible. But from my experience with RCA cables there is a difference in sound quality between cables (clarity, details, etc), and I assume there is a similar difference between XLR cables (maybe slightly less difference due to balanced).

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Well, if you are really into that, I recommend reading this https://www.aktives-hoeren.de/viewtopic … mp;t=9630. It's in german, but Google Translate should do it for you.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Can't post more then one link, so here comes the continuation of my answer...

OTOH, Ethan Winer explains it all with his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyWt3kANA3Q

7 (edited by Curt962 2019-02-19 15:07:46)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Absolutely Priceless Knatterton! 

Thanks for sharing that Jewel! 

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I just want good cables for my new stuff, lets not get into a cable discussion. Besides, the whole "measurement" debate is kind of null, no measurements today can measure 3D spatial cues, perceived stereo width and so on. And as long as those measurements don't exist, we can't measure how good a cable sound.

Having said that, I am not interested in some $10.000 cable, just regular mid-price cables that sound good in a well treated room with decent HiFi equipment.

But maybe the best way to go is to buy a "studio cable" like the Canare 4E6S "Star Quad" Balanced Cable and Neutrik connectors, and then borrow and compare more expensive cables to that one (cables like Chord Shawline XLR and QED Reference 40 XLR).

9 (edited by knatterton 2019-02-19 19:36:21)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Magnus,

with all due respect, your previous posts gave me a different impression.

Get yourself enough length of Sommer/Klotz no non-sense cable (if you are in Europe) with solid connectors (Neutrik, Amphenol) and forget about it.

Ethan has his own thing going on with physically light minded die hard cork sniffers, so take it with a grain of salt. However, he basically describes the whole idea of symmetric connections that allows to eliminate external interferences in the receiver. Lets face it: Any waveform is described by its frequency and amplitude. A cable cannot improve clarity or add details to a signal (your words). This would require that the cable is capable of decoding and interpreting the signal. How could that possibly happen? In fact I would consider a cable to be broken if it would colorize my signal.

I just read your last post again and saw that we're on the same page: Sound is an individual perception and can't be measured universally but only be appraised. Here we are talking about purposeful alteration/improvements that are applied to any kind of signal sent through the same conductor. The whole discussion is fruitless, lets end this here.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Yes, a cable can never add sound quality, just remove from it. So to phrase it precisely: some cables remove less sound quality than others. :-)

Anyway, I ordered 3 meter of the Canare 4E6S and 4 Neutrik interconnect (NC3XX-B gold plated), for the insane amount of €40. I will use this as a starting point, and only upgrade to a new cable after I have listened to it and it clearly sounds better.

Having said that, it would surprise me if more expensive "HiFi" cables from known brands like Chord and QED don't result in a better sound.

11 (edited by ramses 2019-02-20 07:31:37)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Ich bin mit diesem hier sehr zufrieden, steckt bei mir zwischen ADI-2 DAC und Accuphase E-600:
https://www.thomann.de/de/cordial_cpm_15_fm_flex.htm

Vielleicht sollte ich dem noch hinzufügen, dass ich als Lautsprecherkabel für die B&W 803D3
auch nur ganz normales Kupferkabel mit Bananas verwende, 1.5 oder 2m mit 4mm Querschnitt.
Nach 1 Monat einhören habe ich mir nochmal spasseshalber einen Satz Kabel für €1500 geben
lassen und habe da nichts an Unterschied wahrgenommen, was eine solche Ausgabe gerechtfertigt hätte.
Das ist Geld, das man am besten direkt in bessere Lautsprecher oder Verstärker steckt, da ist es mE besser aufgehoben.

Sommer Cable ist auch sehr gut, aber ich habe es mir aus diesen gemachten Erfahrungen gespart.
Ein normal gutes Kabel mit guter Abschirmung tut es auch.
Und beim A/B Test in der Zuspielung über ADI-2 DAC zu einer rein digitalen Anbindung an das interne
DAC-40 Modul des Verstärkers ergab sich für mich ein ganz leichtes plus für den ADI-2 DAC.
Also hat sich für mich dieses Kabel im Praxistest bewährt.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

12 (edited by TGNV 2019-02-20 07:05:25)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I use for many time Sommer cable carbokab 225. Low capacitance, excellent electrical properties and the advantage to be used in analog domain or as aes/ebu digital cable (impedance 110 ohms).

https://shop.sommercable.com/en/Cables/ … attributes

RME Babyface pro, Cubase 2 for Ios, RME ADI-2 Dac

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Just one more from Floyd Toole: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpUDuUtxPM

14 (edited by Curt962 2019-02-20 16:21:43)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MagnusH,

At the end of the Day, you will find that your choice of a Pro-Cable to have been a Wise Choice!   Studio Plenums are loaded with this sort of Cable for very valid reasons, not the least of which is it's "deadbolt" reliability.

If you like, decorate it with TechFlex, and tell your Friends it cost $1000/mtr.   They'll believe it!!

*We Hear with Our Eyes!   I can attest to this from having been Hoodwinked, and led to hear "Magic" from a set of Cleverly Disguised Belden Cables costing about $0.50/ft.   Just Sayin'...

15 (edited by Jas0_0 2019-02-21 09:47:50)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I take issues with Floyd Toole.  Science is not black and white facts.  Science is the sum total of data collected by humans using the best data-gathering technology they can, plus the interpretation of that data with all the subjective bias that society instills in them.  Anyone who states science is black or white is promoting scientism, which is akin to a religion.  Read Popper, Kuhn and Kant.  And trust your own ears.  If a cable sounds better to you, that’s all that matters.  It may be a psychoacoustic effect, but that’s as valid as a measurable acoustic effect if it’s making a positive contribution to your music in your system.

Oh and for the record I use DIY Van Damme cables with Neutrik connectors

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

It may be a psychoacoustic effect, but that’s as valid as a measurable acoustic effect if it’s making a positive contribution to your music in your system.

But psycho acoustic effects of buying new stuff wears off very fast. Which can lead to buying addictions.
For psychological effects it might be more effective to meditate a few minutes before listening and see if you can heighten your senses in the same way as the apprehension you bought new cables or dac brings you.
You are the key ;-)

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

17 (edited by Jas0_0 2019-02-21 09:51:27)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

vinark wrote:

For psychological effects it might be more effective to meditate a few minutes before listening and see if you can heighten your senses in the same way as the apprehension you bought new cables or dac brings you.
You are the key ;-)

Good idea.  My music often sounds worse when I’m tired and stressed after work.

Good whiskey is the less healthy alternative.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Jas0_0 wrote:
vinark wrote:

For psychological effects it might be more effective to meditate a few minutes before listening and see if you can heighten your senses in the same way as the apprehension you bought new cables or dac brings you.
You are the key ;-)

Good idea.  My music often sounds worse when I’m tired and stressed after work.

Good whiskey is the less healthy alternative.

Yes psychotropic substances can be more effective then any cable and might even make a first generation DA converter sound sweet, LOL
But during the hangover your ADI2 pro will sound like a first generation DA.......
Finally the level of this thread is getting a bit Higher ;-)

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Curt962 wrote:

MagnusH,
If you like, decorate it with TechFlex, and tell your Friends it cost $1000/mtr.   They'll believe it!!

More fun to let them listen and than say its a €3 cable (provided it sounds good that is) :-)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Hi there,
Klotz MY 206 - looks good ,feel good , no own sound (like high-end gear should ) and about 25€ /1m

J.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I personally went with Mogami Studio Gold based upon the recommendations of studio musicians that I know, Canare Star Quad was also recommended. No complaints here. I got 10 footers, and I almost wish I had gotten 15 so I could bring the DAC to my listening position for A/B-ing and headphone use, I guess I could make profiles with just 1 factor changed, but that is a little less conducive to quick changes.

22 (edited by nearhos 2019-02-28 06:04:44)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MagnusH wrote:

I will connect my RME ADI-2 DAC to a Nord One MKII power amplifier, and I am looking for suggestions for good XLR cables? I have slightly bright speakers, so maybe something in pure copper.

I have no experience in XLR cables (used RCA interconnects up until now). Will studio cables like Canare or Mogami be as good as "audiophile" cables like Chord and QED, if budget is up to €200.


Also you can use  a tube pre to connect RME  to Nord one mk 2 ,or to change the buffer of Nord one [asking the help of Nord] As i remember the Nord has 2 or 3 buffers for their power amps .

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Here is a followup on my experience with XLR cables: first I used the XLR cable that came with the amplifier (van damm cable with switchcraft plugs), then I ordered and tried the Canare 4E6S "Star Quad" Balanced Cable with Neutrik NC3FXX-B plugs. I liked this one better than the van damm cable that came with the amp.

Then the upgrade-devil came sneaking, but the problem is that I spent so much lately that my wife will turn into a nun if I spend more. So instead I thought I should try my old RCA cable (Anticables interconnect 3.2) so I soldered a pair of XLR plugs onto it (connected 1+3 to shield and 2 to +). And now I am sure you will all scream "placebo" and "no controlled blind test", but they do sound better. And by a big margin at that, despite that they are unbalanced (not that I think that matters much for 1 meter cable in home environment).

The biggest change is that the treble is not edgy anymore, for example with old cables I preferred NOS filter now I prefer the default SD-sharp. And even with the NOS filter the treble sounded unruly with the Canare cable. But also wider soundstage, better stereo placement of instrument and an overall more pleasant tonality.

24 (edited by occamsrazor 2019-03-18 09:06:51)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I'm not super fussed about cables but I wanted solid cables and like the star-quad design, so got Van Damme star-quad with neutrik connectors to connect my ADI-2 DAC to my Hypex NC400 monoblock power amps (Nord One uses Hypex amp modules)

25

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MagnusH wrote:

So instead I thought I should try my old RCA cable (Anticables interconnect 3.2) so I soldered a pair of XLR plugs onto it (connected 1+3 to shield and 2 to +). And now I am sure you will all scream "placebo" and "no controlled blind test"

I have different words in mind when it comes to ignoring the manual. Chapter 19.3 has a big exclamation mark so one can't overlook the important information.

Regards
Matthias Carstens
RME

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MC wrote:

I have different words in mind when it comes to ignoring the manual. Chapter 19.3 has a big exclamation mark so one can't overlook the important information.

Your a feisty admin :-)

However, if the power amp had RCA I would not need any XLR, so the only possible reason I would do this is if I use RCA from the DAC and connect to the XLR on the power amp, which means that it's the amp side that handles the XLR and balancing/unbalancing. I will check with Colin on Nord Acoustivcs though just to make sure.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Haha MC, you made me curious so I looked it up

Spoiler:
The XLR line outputs do not operate servo balanced! When connecting unbalanced equip-ment,  make  sure  pin  3  of  the  XLR  output  is  not  connected.  A  connection  to  ground  might  cause a decreased THD (higher distortion) and increased power consumption!

And yes there is a very big exclamation mark before this text.

So I am afraid that what you call better by a margin, is in fact more distortion...which is not unexpected as we like distortion.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

28 (edited by MagnusH 2019-03-18 11:49:43)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Read my previous post, I don't use XLR on the DAC side. If my amp had RCA in, I would just use RCA - RCA instead.

But just to spell it out: RME DAC -> RCA out -> unbalanced cable -> soldered XLR plug -> power amp

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MagnusH wrote:

Read my previous post, I don't use XLR on the DAC side. If my amp had RCA in, I would just use RCA - RCA instead.

But just to spell it out: RME DAC -> RCA out -> unbalanced cable -> soldered XLR plug -> power amp

Ah ok oops,
my bad.
Cheers

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

vinark wrote:

Ah ok oops,
my bad.
Cheers

No problemo :-)

I just heard from Colin at Nord Acoustics, and on the amp side pin 1 and 3 should be connected, so no need to get the soldering iron again!

31 (edited by Curt962 2019-03-18 15:53:37)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Magnus,

As the Purpose of this Forum is to assist others with Constructive Inputs/Suggestions, let me throw my Hat in the Ring...

"Unruly Trebles" with Proper, Industry Standard Cabling seems indicative of either a Defective Component, or more likely, defective Room Acoustic behavior.

Might I suggest that you STOP with Cabling, and find the source of your Woes. 

(Hint: It's not Cables)

A detailed, Room Acoustic asessment would likely reveal much.   Subsequently, a few well-placed Acoustic Treatments could work Miracles for You.   Pro-Audio has known this for Decades, and a Wise-Man would borrow from that Pool of Experience.

Take a look at this:

https://www.gikacoustics.com/room-eq-wizard-tutorial/

Good Stuff!

Did I mention that R.E.W. is a Free Sftwr download?

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Well, I have 2 cubic meter of stone wool in my room, and I did write the guide for room correction at Roon forum so its safe to say I know REW (and use it): https://community.roonlabs.com/t/a-guid … roon/23800

That does not necessarily mean I listen in a perfect room, but when I switch interconnect, and I get better sound, its very hard to think that the reason is anything other than the cable. And in comparison, the Canare cable had much worse treble, among other things.

But try it yourself, its not like Anticables are terrible expensive. At least in my room and with my equipment, they did a big difference (as would many other good cables I am sure). Not everything "audiophile" is snake oil smile

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Well Magnus,

Clearly You have all the Answers, so move along quietly, to your All-Knowing place.

Surely, there's a Cable Forum that would benefit immensely from your insights.

Sorry Friend.  We Tried.

Move on.

34 (edited by Basken 2019-03-19 16:43:13)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

I know i have engaged in conversations like this one before, regrettably at at times using less than friendly rhetoric - and well .. it's all rather pointless. It is equally unlikely to convince an "audiophile" user that a cable has no sound as it is convincing a "proaudio" user that it has! smile

Historically this has been a technical support forum, and less of a place to share "opinion" but since the new ADI-2 has obvious audiophile appeal, people from both ends of the "spectrum" end up here, and the resulting clash of opinions is as predictable as it is pointless, so perhaps we should all stop trying to lecture each other smile

As for the original subject of this thread, i just checked on my ADI2-Pro, and the XLR connectors insert and detach without the use of excessive force. This is using standard neutrik / mogami cables ..

All the best,
Rune / FishCorp

https://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

:: Producer / Engineer / Synth-whisperer @ FishCorp
:: RayDAT > 2 x ADI-8 QS | AES+SPDIF > ADI-2 Pro

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Basken wrote:

It is equally unlikely to convince an "audiophile" user that a cable has no sound as it is convincing a "proaudio" user that it has! smile

Funny you should mention that, because that's exactly the "motto" of Anticables (hence their names): to make cables that don't have any sound.

Cables never add sound quality, they only subtract, and in this case, and with my equipment and in my room, the cheaper Canare cable subtracted more than the RCA Anticables I had since before. Other system and ears might find other results.

However, I have a hard time accepting opinions based on speculations, like someone saying A sound better or equally good as B, without having tested B, especially when I myself have tested both A and B.

Besides, its hard to find more different cables than Canare and Anticables 3.2: one is quad format, other is single (very thin) wire, one is heavily isolated, other is not isolated, one is copper, the other is a silver/gold alloy. It would actually be strange if they sounded exactly the same.

36 (edited by N00b 2019-03-20 09:17:50)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

The sound of cables... roll roll roll

A myth that is hard to prove when you put away psychoacoustic bias...

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/testing … hs.486598/

ADI-2 DAC - Neumann KH 310 A monitors

37 (edited by vinark 2019-03-20 11:08:48)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

If you read this you will be pretty ****don't know how to call it*** to claim you CAN here a difference.
Especially something like The highs being less edgy with the better cable.
If your own theory would be true, that cables have no sound but can substract, then the less edgy would be worse, since it took edge away.
I am not trying to argue, really! Thing is as an audio creator (musician, producer, technician etc), we create the things you are listening for (space edge pace etc etc) So we don't think it is something magical. A performance can be magical, a room can have certain quality, plugins too, hardware fx and most important Microphones and their placement.
If I would make a list of importance it would be something like>>>
Performer>>>instrument>>>Mic placement>>>Room>>>Mic and from here onvery  down hill >>>Mic preamp >>>Converter >>>working cables.
If you have special requirements like must be very noise free, you need a silent studio a low noise mic and a low noise preamp in that sequence again. The -100, -110, -120db  converter is of no consequence and yes if it is a long mic cable a properly shielded one.
Cheers!!!!
Oh and as a listener I would say...Your Mood>>>Level/volume>>>>Speakers>>>speaker placement/room, nothing more.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

You guys would also hear a difference, its not very subtle, at least not in my room and my system. Besides, different cables also measure differently, for example silver plated copper usually has a raised treble compared to solid copper cables.

To put it in context: the difference between Canare cable and cable from Anticables was bigger than the difference between my old DAC (Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital on battery) and the RME ADI-2 DAC from a pure sound quality perspective.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

If the difference is not subtle something is wrong with one of them and maybe your amp. Current devices should not react to cables. Maybe vintage (tube devices) where impedance matters a lot could. Like some vintage mics respond to the impedance of the mic preamp.

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

40 (edited by Curt962 2019-03-20 18:34:54)

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

You Know Magnus,

Forum Members such as "Vinark" are suggesting that something is amiss in your Set Up.   I would not argue with their asessments, as it seems quite likely that something IS askew in your setup.

Further, I've found that it's quite possible to implement different DAC filters, and then apply an incorrect EQ Correction.  I just did it!

That'll give you some "Unruly Trebles" !!!

(SD Sharp Filter with NOS EQ)  :0

Possible Feature Request for the ADI-2.  Perhaps an Automated means of applying a specified/user defined EQ when other than the default DAC Filter has been loaded in Set Up.  *Sample Rate dependent.

Curt

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

Subtle might mean different things depending on who you ask, but the difference between the cables was easily heard. And nothing askew with my setup now, it was before though but fixed with a cable-swap :-)

My signal chain is: computer -> toslink -> RME ADI-2 DAC (battery powered) -> 2 * Nord One MKII mono amps -> Volent VL-2 Paragon speakers.

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

MagnusH wrote:

Subtle might mean different things depending on who you ask, but the difference between the cables was easily heard. And nothing askew with my setup now, it was before though but fixed with a cable-swap :-)

My signal chain is: computer -> toslink -> RME ADI-2 DAC (battery powered) -> 2 * Nord One MKII mono amps -> Volent VL-2 Paragon speakers.

With such a set I can understand you are not going to connect them with 3$ cables, even if that would sound the same and for you it does not.
Happy listening!

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: XLR cables for this DAC

*** Me presses "LIKE" on previous post ***