McCormack ALD Dlx w phono

Hello all-I just purchased a used McCormack ALD Deluxe w phono. It has balanced and rca outputs. Until i get an amp, I am using my old NAD 7100 receiver's amp section for power. I was thinking of going with a used McCormack DNA.5 amp. How much better are the balanced inputs v. the Cardas RCAs? What other amps might be nice in the $500-600 range? What about going with a tube amp? I look forward to your comments.
Hi Tbromgard -

Both the balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) outputs come from the same output-stage amplifiers, so the quality is the same, so to speak. The unbalanced output simply uses 1 amplifier channel - not both. The real question becomes whether or not your amplifier has balanced inputs (the stock DNA-0.5 does not). If it does, I would suggest using the balanced connections. If not, just use the RCA unbalanced output connections. By the way, you may use both sets of outputs at the same time if need be. You could run a powered subwoofer or a remote amplifier in addition to your main amp, for instance.


Steve McCormack
SMc Audio
This is my first post on Audiogon, and its was cool to see the first response from the manufacturer himself-thanks Steve. Your electronics are first rate, and when I have the funds, I intend to have this unit upgraded by McCormack. Please continue to offer improvements and uprades to your older models. Thanks.
Thanks for your kind words, Tbromgard. I hope you enjoy your ALD-1. One small correction - McCormack Audio does not offer upgrades. They are available from SMc Audio - my own business. Check my website at for the details.

Best regards,

Steve McCormack
SMc Audio
What kinds of speakers did you use when designing the ALD-1 with phono? What kind of turntable did you use?
Thanks -Todd.