New TT : Balanced vs. Unbalanced Connection?

I am in a six-month process of assembling a system will last me for the next 5-10 years. I’m set on the components, so please do not try to talk me out of my selections. My question here is a technical one.

I have purchased a Thorens TD–1601 and a Nagaoka MP–200 cartridge. I am trying to decide on the Integrated amp between Yamaha’s A-S3200 and A-S2200. The key difference for this question being the A-S3200 has two balanced inputs and the A-S2200 has one. I will use the first balanced connection to connect a recently purchased HiFi Rose RS-150b Streamer/DAC.

Now to my real question. The semi-automatic Thorens TD-1601 has both balanced and unbalanced outputs. I am considering buying a Schitt Skoll phono pre which has balanced in-and-out. In that case, I would buy the Yamaha A-S3200, needing two balanced inputs.

So, ASSUMING the phono preamp on the Yamaha A-S2200 is comparable to the Schitt Skoll, will I get markedly better sound by going fully unbalanced, with the Skoll and the much more expensive A-S3200, or unbalanced direct from Thorens TT into the highly regarded phone pre of the A-S2200?

What benefits will I get by going balanced? How much benefit? It is worth the complexity, extra box, cables, $2,000-3,000? I can afford it if much better, but don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. The TT and the integrated will be right next to each other, so distance is not a factor. Or is the A-S3200 that much better? …I like the BIGGER meters.

My current speakers are Paradigm Reference Studio 40 v2, which I love and have two pair, a super sleeper. They are not likely to be changed…one day Fyne Audio.

To reiterate, this is a technical question about the merits of balanced turntable connections. Thanks for the input. I have learned much from this forum over the last few years.



OP here. Lots of good information. Some takeaways:

If I went with the cheaper amp, and only one balanced connection, it might be better used on the TT versus the streamer/DAC.

Will be up to me to know whether to spend the extra dough. I feel like I’d be happier, longer, with A-S3200.

I will need to be patient for a good used deal to come up.

thanks for all the good, helpful input. 

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RCA single ended is just as good  as balanced xlr unless your running long spans of cable 

Your not.  Your probably running one meter so no you do not need 

Xlr connections. Get a Great pair of single ended interconnects and forget about it

Good luck Willy-T


That's even easier, saw it on their website, cool setup. Thanks for the info. However the combo of my Lyra Kleos and Stellar phono stage as stated earlier makes it very unlikely I will ever go that route. I like my system as is and am winding down on the many upgrades and tweaks done over the last 4 years in my house of stereo. I really enjoy spending most of my time listening to music now instead of trying to improve the sound.


my comment was stepping up from your existing phono amp.

If you're playing the long game-$2K+ will get something that will take advantage of future table/cart changes.