Connect it Phono RS 5P > XLR connects Pro-Ject True Balanced turntables with True Balanced phono preamps via their 5-pin DIN > XLR jacks. A balanced signal originating from a moving coil (MC) phono cartridge remains balanced through the tonearm and over to the 5-pin DIN output jack. This provides you the option of sending that balanced signal on to a phono stage with a standard XLR input. Connect it Phono RS 5P > XLR features pure silver conductors with rhodium-plated carbon-isolated copper connectors and a low capacitance of 71pF (ideal for phono). Standard length is 1.23m (4.04′).

As an example, after you’ve upgraded to an MC cartridge, Connect it Phono RS 5P > XLR carries the balanced signal from turntables like Xtension 9 Evolution & RPM 10 Carbon to phono preamps such as Phono Box DS3 B & Phono Box RS2 (any turntable & preamp combo with 5-pin DIN > standard XLR jacks can be paired with Connect it Phono RS 5P > XLR).

We All Need Balance

Balanced transmission of the phono signal is now available in an unprecedented manner. You no longer need to spend thousands to achieve the measurable quietude afforded by balanced phono. The phono signal coming from your cartridge is not unlike that of the microphone signal: extremely low-level thus requiring unusually-high amplification, making it more susceptible to interference (even more-so in the modern era with electronics abound and with wireless signals running rampant). Since the recording industry uses balanced XLR connections to protect the microphone signal, so too should we with the similarly delicate phono signal.

In the early days of music recording & reproduction, balanced operation was necessary for staving off noise; balanced is how it began. As demand increased for easier, more affordable at-home listening, unbalanced (RCA) connections were developed & implemented for cost-cutting & ease-of-manufacture. For the same reasons, this is the type of connection that was popularized. Few looked back and balanced connection in music reproduction became a thing reserved only for the ‘high-end.’ For Pro-Ject, the question became this: why NOT position our customers to hear the difference.

What Do I Need to Get There?

Simply put, you need an MC phono cartridge, a balanced turntable output, a balanced cable and a phono stage with a corresponding balanced input. MC cartridges are inherently balanced (isolated signal from ground) where their MM counterparts are configured differently; they are grounded internally and should only be used with single-ended (RCA) connection for best performance. We ship most of our turntables with Sumiko MM cartridges and RCA/ground cables so that there’s nothing stopping you from hi-fi out of the box. You can upgrade to the balanced experience when the time is right for you.

Balanced Basics

A balanced circuit at the input-end is a key player. A balanced signal accrues noise just like an unbalanced one, however, how it’s handled by the circuit is where the magic happens. A balanced signal includes positive (+) and negative (-) conductors as well as a grounding conductor (per channel). In terms of electrical polarity, the positive (+) and negative (-) signals are inverted copies of one another, that inversion rendering them electrically different as it pertains the balanced circuit. Interference hits the positive (+) and negative (-) conductors identically so noise artifacts are the same in the eyes of said circuit. “Common-Mode Rejection” is implemented by the balanced circuit’s differential amplifier, cancelling (rejecting) what’s identical (the noise!) and leaving the gate open for what’s different (the inverted positive & negative signals). Then only the negative (-) component is inverted to perfectly match the positive (+) one, increasing signal amplitude sans the noise! The topic of course is highly technical and runs much more deeply than our discussion here permits, but what it amounts to for the listener is more music, less noise. With noise eradicated, expect a new degree of depth to the sound stage (allowing more detail to emerge) and wildly heightened dynamics. Truly your favorite records offer more than meets the ear, and we’re here to deliver the full extent of what you’ve been missing.

Upgrades & Add-Ons…