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Hello everyone. As a relative newcomer and novice to turntables and equipment I am after some advice.

 

Over the past 12 months I have gradually been building up a half-decent set-up, beginning with fairly rubbish equipment and slowly upgrading/replacing one bit at a time as-and-when I can afford it. I am aware that any set-up is only as good as its weakest link, and as a result a lot of my equipment is currently under-utilised, but eventually I hope to replace the last of the sub-standard components and finally have something putting out some acceptable sounds.

 

Until recently I have been using the following:

 

-          Pro-Ject RPM 1 Carbon turntable

-          Ortofon 2M Red cartridge

-          Pro-Ject Phono Box MM pre-amp

-          Basic interconnect that came with the turntable

 

Initially I was running this through an all-in-one 5.1 home cinema system (the Sony BDV-N5200W). However a bit of remodelling in the house now means I can no longer use this for my amp and speakers. Instead I have managed to get hold of the following which I intend to use as a short-to-medium term measure:

 

-          Tannoy Reveal 5a active monitors

 

These mitigate my immediate need for an amp and will allow me to play music via the Tannoys until I’m in a position to get an amp and better set of speakers. The Tannoys have a XLR and 0.25 inch TRS phone connector combo jack for their input.

 

My question is relating to the cabling. I’m going to have to go from the phono output of the pre-amp to either the XLR or phone connector jack. Bearing in mind the current set-up, is there any significant benefit to be had by using the  XLR input over the phone jack? I’m going to need them to be about 3-4m long. Under the circumstances does this cable need to be balanced or will unbalanced suffice? Is it worth me forking out for high-end cables at this point (presumably also needing to upgrade the interconnect too) or will this be quite a significant expenditure for a very modest increase with the current set-up? Would I be better off just getting cheap cable and investing the money in the “amp-and-speakers” pot?

 

My instinct is to get a pair of “basic” balanced cables with phono and XLR connectors – but I would welcome any and all opinions and advice. Please do feel free to correct any misconceptions I may have demonstrated in the above post – I’m reading around a lot but still feeling my way!

 

Thanks very much for your help!

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I'm of the opinion that any well made cable designed for your application will sound just as good as the high end stuff. I'm sure someone else can comment on XLR connections, I've never tried them. But if you stick with standard RCA, Emotiva makes nice interconnects that are high quality, but very reasonably priced. Blue Jeans Cables are nice too, but in my case they were so stiff and heavy that they were a bit tough to connect with my preamp and position it the way I wanted. Either way, I would definitely want to put more of my money into records or better components rather than spend crazy amounts on cables. Just my two cents.

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XLR is for balanced inputs where there are effectively 2 alternating signal lines and a ground and RCA connections have one signal line and one ground so if you have a device that has RCA outputs it's pointless plugging it into a balanced XLR input unless you have to becasue that's the only input choice you have. If you do have to it's easy to buy phono RCA to XLR cables or even make them yourself.

The biggest issue you are going to have is the distance you are running so good quality cables are the only requirement here.

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Thank you both. I've been doing a little searching in the meantime and I've come across something called a pseudo-balanced cable, which I've read is the best solution running between unbalanced and balanced devices. Is that actually the case? I've seen a lot of marketing fluff, but little of it backed up.

 

What should I be looking for in a good cable under the circumstances?

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Looking around at what's on the market place, it seemed reasonable. The company looks professional and reputable, as much as you can ever tell from a website, and the price wasn't breaking the bank so I thought it was worth taking a chance on them. Hopefully they'll do me proud for a year or two before I upgrade to an amp and better speakers.

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