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  1. #1
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    Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    I've been enjoying the Reference DAC I purchased from Mike for close to 8 months. I couldn't be happier with it!

    I have, however, jumped at a chance to purchase a pair of used Avantgarde Duo Mezzos from Mike and now I'm thinking through the proper amp for this speaker. I've been using an ARC Ref 75SE for my Zu Definitions Mk 4's...really a perfect balance for my varied musical tastes; however, I'm fairly confident that this amp will not be the "perfect" match for the Mezzos. I certainly don't expect them to be bad, just not the final word. Low noise SET options seem to be the preferred amp pairing with these speakers.

    Which brings me to my question: how do those of you using a Ref or Select DAC convert XLR output to RCA's? Without knowing much more, I'm a little concerned with just using an XLR to RCA adaptor. Shorting pin 3 to ground *could* be an issue in some cases. MSB has this as an option which is ridiculously expensive for what it is at $1995!!!


    Jensen has the following option for $299. Thoughts?

    https://www.jensen-transformers.com/product/pc-2xr/
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Room: 22' W x 26.5' L x 10' H. Constructed with double drywall with acoustic glue between sheets. Drywall isolated from studs and joists using IsoMax Isolation Clips.
    Room Treatments: Mix of GIK Acoustics Bass Traps, 244 panels with scatter plates and 242 panels with scatter plates
    Digital Files Handling: NAS -> Roonserver on CAPSv3 - i7 quad-core powered by Uptone Linear PS.
    Power Conditioning: Equi=Tech 2RQ Balanced Isolation Transformer, PS Audio Premier.
    Front End: MSB Reference DAC (Femto 77, Preamp Module, Renderv2)
    Amplifier: Audio Research Reference 75 SE
    Speakers: Zu Definitions Mk4
    Video: Oppo BD-103 BR Player, JVC RS67U projector, 133" diagonal Da-Lite Cinema Contour Fixed Frame screen.

  2. #2

    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    ridiculously expensive rca output preamp....its a steal.....those crap adaptors, now there's some overpriced crap....

  3. #3
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    My suggestion is a VAC 200iQ for your Avantgardeís. Dead quiet. Very warm and SET like. Has XLR inputs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    ARC 75 SE is a darn good amp. Based on my listening experience AG - ARC is not the best combo. Viva, VAC, DAG play very nicely with the AGs.
    _______________

    Mike

  5. #5
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Jensen transformers are excellent (which is why I used the in the D100) but will not have perfect signal fidelity as it performs the XLR to RCA conversion.

    The best option for you will likely depend upon the XLR output wiring configuration. For example, if the cold pin can be left floating without any problems, then using an XLR to RCA cable/converter that floats cold is probably the least expensive and highest quality option. However if the cold pin must have a load, then you will need to carefully consider your options.

    Picking up a MSB RCA output module might be the choice of least resistance and greatest peace of mind.

    Looking at all of the available options, I went with an Emotiva XSP-1 for RCA <> XLR conversion as it had the best measurements I could find for faithful signal fidelity and maximum compatibility.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, & more.

  6. #6
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    My suggestion is a VAC 200iQ for your Avantgarde’s. Dead quiet. Very warm and SET like. Has XLR inputs.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The 200iQ is definitely on my radar; however, I do need to be able to convert to RCA to evaluate the low powered SET options regardless. With a speaker like this, I need to have relatively high confidence that I mated the right amp and for that I need to be able to convert the MSB's balanced signal to a single-ended signal.

    I've owned (and used on my Definitions) Coincident Frankenstein MkII 300B's (very nice and surprisingly powerful), Audion Black Shadows 845's (great match with Defs), Audion Golden Dragons Parallel 300B (beautiful with Druid V's, but flaccid with the Definitions...fell asleep too often while listening. lol). I don't think either Audion would work with the AG's since I had some issues with noise with the lower sensitive Definitions. The Frankensteins were reasonably quiet and might work.

    Currently the possibilities I'm considering are: VAC 200iQ, Luxman MQ-30, Canary M80 300B monos, and The Wooden Amp that @joeid raves about. I would prefer a stereo amp, rather than mono's, but the ultimate aspects I need to consider are quality and low noise. I am open to other options as well, but realize that there will be a limit to what I can listen to.

    I have a spare set of Valvet A4 monos which are class A biased SS amps at 50w/ch...probably 22w/ch into an 18 ohm load. These can serve as a backup and change of pace amps. They are a little sweet of neutral, have real "grip", and nice detail/textures. They are not the equivalent of my ARC Ref 75SE, but they are reasonably close enough and long term more reliable than a tube amp...so nice backup/change of pace amp.
    Room: 22' W x 26.5' L x 10' H. Constructed with double drywall with acoustic glue between sheets. Drywall isolated from studs and joists using IsoMax Isolation Clips.
    Room Treatments: Mix of GIK Acoustics Bass Traps, 244 panels with scatter plates and 242 panels with scatter plates
    Digital Files Handling: NAS -> Roonserver on CAPSv3 - i7 quad-core powered by Uptone Linear PS.
    Power Conditioning: Equi=Tech 2RQ Balanced Isolation Transformer, PS Audio Premier.
    Front End: MSB Reference DAC (Femto 77, Preamp Module, Renderv2)
    Amplifier: Audio Research Reference 75 SE
    Speakers: Zu Definitions Mk4
    Video: Oppo BD-103 BR Player, JVC RS67U projector, 133" diagonal Da-Lite Cinema Contour Fixed Frame screen.

  7. #7
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Germanboxers View Post
    The 200iQ is definitely on my radar; however, I do need to be able to convert to RCA to evaluate the low powered SET options regardless. With a speaker like this, I need to have relatively high confidence that I mated the right amp and for that I need to be able to convert the MSB's balanced signal to a single-ended signal.

    I've owned (and used on my Definitions) Coincident Frankenstein MkII 300B's (very nice and surprisingly powerful), Audion Black Shadows 845's (great match with Defs), Audion Golden Dragons Parallel 300B (beautiful with Druid V's, but flaccid with the Definitions...fell asleep too often while listening. lol). I don't think either Audion would work with the AG's since I had some issues with noise with the lower sensitive Definitions. The Frankensteins were reasonably quiet and might work.

    Currently the possibilities I'm considering are: VAC 200iQ, Luxman MQ-30, Canary M80 300B monos, and The Wooden Amp that @joeid raves about. I would prefer a stereo amp, rather than mono's, but the ultimate aspects I need to consider are quality and low noise. I am open to other options as well, but realize that there will be a limit to what I can listen to.

    I have a spare set of Valvet A4 monos which are class A biased SS amps at 50w/ch...probably 22w/ch into an 18 ohm load. These can serve as a backup and change of pace amps. They are a little sweet of neutral, have real "grip", and nice detail/textures. They are not the equivalent of my ARC Ref 75SE, but they are reasonably close enough and long term more reliable than a tube amp...so nice backup/change of pace amp.
    Letís chat today. Itís not an issue. MSB now makes an RCA output module which plugs into the side of the XLR Preamp module and you slide both back in to the DAC. I have one since we are constantly rotating between Viva SET amps and SS/PP XLR amps and it works great. Here is a photo (you can see on the left side the connector bar).

    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  8. #8
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Joeinid has AG's and has tried several different amps with varying degrees of satisfaction.
    Many of which have XLR inputs.
    Perhaps PM him for suggestions.
    R.E. the Jensen Xfrms, many manufacturers use them in their products to do the conversion. Can't go wrong for the price to get you up and running.
    Usually available on FleaBay at a reasonable price and can easily resell when it's no longer needed.
    Congrats on the AG purchase and on the path to a world class system.
    My System:
    Lumin A-1
    Joule Electra LA150 Signature Plus
    Pass XA30.5
    Vapor Audio Cirrus Monitors
    18" Open Baffle Subs
    Cables: Teo Splash, Kubala Sosna, Cerious Tech, Fusion Audio.
    Two dedicated 20 Amp circuits. Shunyata Hydra. EP2050
    DIY bass traps and custom curved diffusors.

  9. #9
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by NekoAudio View Post
    Jensen transformers are excellent (which is why I used the in the D100) but will not have perfect signal fidelity as it performs the XLR to RCA conversion.

    The best option for you will likely depend upon the XLR output wiring configuration. For example, if the cold pin can be left floating without any problems, then using an XLR to RCA cable/converter that floats cold is probably the least expensive and highest quality option. However if the cold pin must have a load, then you will need to carefully consider your options.

    Picking up a MSB RCA output module might be the choice of least resistance and greatest peace of mind.

    Looking at all of the available options, I went with an Emotiva XSP-1 for RCA <> XLR conversion as it had the best measurements I could find for faithful signal fidelity and maximum compatibility.
    Thanks Neko. To the bold text above, MSB actually recommend those XLR to RCA adapter for the Ref and Select DACS as the most pure conversion (see quoted text below)
    XLR to RCA Adapters

    A pair of inline XLR to RCA adapters for use when a single-ended connection is needed. This is a set of adapters perfectly matched to work with an MSB DAC without altering or effecting the analog signal in anyway. These adapters achieve peak performance by moving the conversion circuitry out of the DAC and away from the sensitive output circuitry. These adapters allow you to keep the analog signal as a balanced connection for as far as desired before converting to a single-ended signal.
    Dimensions: 2in x 2in x 6in (5cm x 5cm x 15cm) Weight: 1.8lbs (0.8kgs)
    Only for use with MSB Reference and Select DAC.
    Based on the limited explanation from MSB, I'd guess that the cold leg needs a load and that is why they recommend their external transformer to convert? The price is outrageous for what it is and I have a hard time believing that MSB's transformer for this conversion is significantly better than Jensen's.
    Room: 22' W x 26.5' L x 10' H. Constructed with double drywall with acoustic glue between sheets. Drywall isolated from studs and joists using IsoMax Isolation Clips.
    Room Treatments: Mix of GIK Acoustics Bass Traps, 244 panels with scatter plates and 242 panels with scatter plates
    Digital Files Handling: NAS -> Roonserver on CAPSv3 - i7 quad-core powered by Uptone Linear PS.
    Power Conditioning: Equi=Tech 2RQ Balanced Isolation Transformer, PS Audio Premier.
    Front End: MSB Reference DAC (Femto 77, Preamp Module, Renderv2)
    Amplifier: Audio Research Reference 75 SE
    Speakers: Zu Definitions Mk4
    Video: Oppo BD-103 BR Player, JVC RS67U projector, 133" diagonal Da-Lite Cinema Contour Fixed Frame screen.

  10. #10
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Mike to the rescue again.
    My System:
    Lumin A-1
    Joule Electra LA150 Signature Plus
    Pass XA30.5
    Vapor Audio Cirrus Monitors
    18" Open Baffle Subs
    Cables: Teo Splash, Kubala Sosna, Cerious Tech, Fusion Audio.
    Two dedicated 20 Amp circuits. Shunyata Hydra. EP2050
    DIY bass traps and custom curved diffusors.

  11. #11
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Letís chat today. Itís not an issue. MSB now makes an RCA output module which plugs into the side of the XLR Preamp module and you slide both back in to the DAC. I have one since we are constantly rotating between Viva SET amps and SS/PP XLR amps and it works great. Here is a photo (you can see on the left side the connector bar).

    Mike I'll give you a call today. I was originally thinking that was what I needed, however, the red text below from their adcopy suggests that owners pay more for their external adapters for "maximum performance".

    Isolated RCA Analog Output

    Provides a second isolated XLR analog output. This module is an isolated copy of the primary analog outputs with higher output impedance. If primary RCA outputs are needed, MSB recommends using the XLR to RCA adapters to achieve maximum performance. This module is only intended as a secondary output.
    Requires the Preamp Output Module.
    MSRP $1,590.00
    Room: 22' W x 26.5' L x 10' H. Constructed with double drywall with acoustic glue between sheets. Drywall isolated from studs and joists using IsoMax Isolation Clips.
    Room Treatments: Mix of GIK Acoustics Bass Traps, 244 panels with scatter plates and 242 panels with scatter plates
    Digital Files Handling: NAS -> Roonserver on CAPSv3 - i7 quad-core powered by Uptone Linear PS.
    Power Conditioning: Equi=Tech 2RQ Balanced Isolation Transformer, PS Audio Premier.
    Front End: MSB Reference DAC (Femto 77, Preamp Module, Renderv2)
    Amplifier: Audio Research Reference 75 SE
    Speakers: Zu Definitions Mk4
    Video: Oppo BD-103 BR Player, JVC RS67U projector, 133" diagonal Da-Lite Cinema Contour Fixed Frame screen.

  12. #12
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Germanboxers View Post
    Mike I'll give you a call today. I was originally thinking that was what I needed, however, the red text below from their adcopy suggests that owners pay more for their external adapters for "maximum performance".

    [/RIGHT]
    Yes, but I believe the standard output module and full blown preamp module are treated differently. I will find out.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  13. #13
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    Re: Question: MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

    Quote Originally Posted by Germanboxers View Post
    Based on the limited explanation from MSB, I'd guess that the cold leg needs a load and that is why they recommend their external transformer to convert? The price is outrageous for what it is and I have a hard time believing that MSB's transformer for this conversion is significantly better than Jensen's.
    I'd only be speculation on my part to guess as to why they are recommending their adapters over other options. But using a transformer is an easy way to convert when the cold pin needs a load and cannot be left floating or shorted. If you're curious, you can review the data sheets for Jensen output transformers, such as their line-level output transformers, on their web site.
    Neko Audio
    Authorized Dealer: AC Infinity, Acoustic Zen, APC, Audeze, Bryston, Devialet, Dirac, Elite HTS, Fortress Seating, JVC, LG, LUMIN, Magico, Ortofon, Prism Sound, RME, Samsung, STAX, Trinnov, & more.

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Question:  MSB Reference DAC - XLR to RCA output.

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