Single ended to XLR adapter

Does it make sense to use a single ended to XLR adapter? Just Purchased JC-1 amps and have heard they sound best with XLR. My pre amp (Supratek)is not balanced and Im wondering if it makes sense to get an adapter and utilize the XLR inputs on the parasound JC 1s. I realize this is not true balanced.

I believe Parasound states that there is no difference in sonics from using either one.............
Braro, what you purpose will actually harm the quality.

Converting RCA to XLR by adaptor alone (as opposed to doing it via TRUE balanced circuit) only adds another connector between your interconnect cable and the input stage of the Parasound.

Adaptors make sense when you own an expensive interconnect cable and opt for adaptor in place of paying for re termination or replacing with a whole new cable.
If I'm not mistaken the Parasound's are not true balanced designs anyway. It should only make a negative difference.
Bignerd 100- Thats what I thought also. But many Jc-1 owners swear they sound much better with balanced connection. Bob Crump of CTC builders (one of the JC1 designers) also claims they do sound better balanced. I guess what Im getting at is; If the JC1s are not a true balanced design yet they supposedly sound much better using the XLR inputs then could it just be a matter of better quality parts being used for the XLR inputs (or something along those lines) and not have anything to do with true balanced design? This is why Im wondering maybe in this case using the XLR adapters may be advantageous.

I agree with Albertporter that adding adaptors simpy adds more connection points (and opportunity for degradation).

That said, if it were me, I'd have to know just to satisfy my own curiousity.

If you want to do a cheap experiment, go to Markertek ( and purchase a set of interconnects that have RCAs on one end, and XLRs on the other. A pair will set you back about $15. The connectors are fairly high quality--they appear to be Canare and the cable itself is probably Belden.

I was using this from my Marantz SA 8260 SACD player to feed my balance input on my BAT VK3i pre-amp until I built my own custom interconnects. Truth to be told, I couldn't discern a difference of any significance, but my ears are 43 years old.
Even if it is a "pseudo-balanced" setup, it very easily could sound better balanced. I really doubt that is has anything to do with the actual connector used. But if it also has RCA connectors in addition to the XLRs, I do not think it will help matters any to muck around with adaptors. Unless, as Albert said, you just happen to have a really good set of XLR cables sitting around, not being used.

Hey, my ears are older, and Albert's older stiil................
Bravo, I was entertaining myself by reading the replies of the your local “audio glitz intelligencia” and was laughing. The Balanced and Purist make wonderful adaptors that have no sonic affect, however, to experiment with adaptors in your case is like water the room flowers when the entire house on fire. I do not wonder what have made to you look for the “ornamentations” to your JC-1 but I rather wonder what made you to get this amp in the first pace. What kind sick and twisted vision of music/sound you have that convinced you once to bring that Parasound’s frequency pusher in your home? (Actually I know the answer…) I do not think you need any adapters; instead you should invest some time to educate yourself about what purpose, goals and abilities of sound reproduction might be. Really, in your case Audio will start from getting rid of that Moronic JC-1 amplifier.
I have a similar problem: BAT VK 200 amp w/balanced inputs connected with RCA cables via XLR adaptors, connected to a single ended Joule Electra LA 150 preamp.

My previous setup was all balanced/XLR (BAT amp to a BAT VK 30 balanced pre). Even though I'm no longer connected via balanced cables, my sound via my new Joule Electra pre far surpasses my previous balanced setup (BAT to BAT).

Has anyone tried using cables that are single ended on one end and balanced on the other? I don't see many options via the used market on the Gon, however, I would think it would be an improvement over using an XLR adaptor. I don't know the answer, but maybe others have experience or input regarding this subject. It has to be a common problem.
“...but my ears are 43 years old.”

You child, you! What are you doing visiting adult sites like Audiogon? Go do your homework.
XLR-RCA-XLR-RCA-XLR-RCA...why, you’ll go blind or get hairy palms if you keep that up.

Now that the children have left the far as the question posed above: I have used RCA-to-XLR adapters to connect an ARC SP-8 (only RCA) and Pass X-600s (only XLR, fully balanced design) for a brief time. (Previously, my preamp was a Pass X-1, a balanced design.) The sound was different because of introducing a tube unit into the system but the Pass amps still played like gangbusters. I guess it’ll come down to whether one is pleased with the sound they are getting. It does seem logical though, that the more “links” you have in any connection, the more chance of some sound degradation.

By the way guys, this “tube thing” is rather nice. I almost have the courage to try it also at the amp end. (Sorry for the brief hijack, Braro.)

RBES so eloquently masters the art of communication by stating...well...I could cut and paste it here but go up and read's really kind of funny...while you're at his other threads...they are even better!!

but anyhow

Per the Audiogon Forum Guidelines.


Posts that are condescending of a person or their system.


Answers that directly benefit the person asking the question, but also benefit future visitors with similar questions. Answers that describe the specific experiences that you are using to draw the conclusions you are drawing. Answers that provide technical details, including the source of these details. Posts that encourage and educate new comers to this hobby.

Naughty Naughty Rbes...tsk tsk.

Do we need to put you in the "time out" corner?
I'd probably skip the adapters and just get a cable with RCA/XLR terminations.

I use RCA-to-XLR cables between my Yamaha C80 preamp and Levinson #23 amp and they work fine.

Just have to save up now for that ML26 pre...
Whoaru99 - Great Idea. A buddy of mine just suggested it also. I will try it. After I get the cable I will report back any difference in sound quality. So far the single ended connection is sounding pretty darned good.

Just wanted to give an update for whoever is interested. I bought the Cardas RCA to XLR adapters and am now using the XLR inputs on the Parasound JC-1s. The results are quite good. A dramatic improvement IMO. The main improvements I hear are blacker background, more detail, better image focus and improved dynamics. Hope this helps other JC-1 owners that don't have a balanced pre.
I also use Cardas RCA XLR adapters for a similar situation. Both my CDP and amplifier sound better utilizing the XLR output and input respectively even though I am unbalamced with the Preamp. My gain for one thing is greater and I have a better impedence ratio with my preamp. My CDP and amp are GamuT. The Cardas adapters probably cause no degradation. They are exceptionally well made. The ear has to be the test. What sounds the best is the only thing that counts. I will leave exact science to the lab. By the way I tried an expensive CD mat in my CDP which got rave reviews with multiple reasons why it sounded much better. After convinced that was the case and trying many CDs with the mat, I took the mat off the CDs and I am thrilled with the new life in my recordings without it! Maybe I'll try the mat on my DVDs. I will not disclose the name of the product because it might be doing wonders for somebody else!