Is the Schiit Magnius up to the task ???

My sysem has

  • a Simaudio MOON lp5.3 RS phono stage 
    • is has both RCA and XLR outputs
    • it is connected to my Bryston B135 Amp
      • via exceptional single ended IC's
    • NOTE: The amp does not have XLR inputs

But I'm curious to know if the XLR outputs from the LP5.3 will provide any sonic improvement over he RCA outputs.

So I went looking for an active unit to insert between the LP5.3 and the Bryston and stumbled upon the Schiit Magnius Headphone amp

I do not want to use a simple convertor plug 

So My Questions...:

  • is the Magnius up ot the task of providing a "high end" single ended output from its XLR balanced inputs
  • The Freya might be another choice, but the price is getting up there 
  • Or are there any other units I should be looking at - around the same snack bracket i.e. <$500


Many Thanks - Seve


I'm curious to know if the XLR outputs from the LP5.3 will provide any sonic improvement over he RCA outputs.

XLR will only be better if you have a really long run (50 feet) in a noisy environment. 

@russ69 - yep - I already understood that.

But I can't figure out why do so many brands use XLR outputs when their gear is really designed for use in home audio situation there are very few cases where a 50 ft run is actually reqired.

For Example

  • we see many source components (like DAC's) with XLR outputs, where it would be very unusual for them to be located more than a few feet from a preamp of amp.
    • the only two areas I can think of where XLR would be required is:
      • ​​​​​​​From the phono stage to the preamp/amp, assuming the turntable may be located in another room
      • or from the pre-amp to the amp(s), where the amps are located beside the speakers

More questions...

  • Is there any advantage of having the additional voltage of balanced outputs?.
  • do they put more "design effort" into balanced circuitry?
  • If I had an XLR and RCA cable, that were similar electrical attributes
    • wire type and gauge, copper or islver
    • insulation type e.g. Teflon
    • length (i.e. overall resistance)
    • would the XLR perofrm better?

Thanks - Steve



I always use XLR connection if possible even for 3 feet run. IMO, XLR provide more secure connection than RCA. 


I would put my money on your current single-ended setup being better than inserting an active Schiit component for no good reason. Honestly you’d have to put a gun to my head to get me to insert any Schiit into my analog chain.

If you’re concerned that the Simaudio’s balanced out has some magical sonic properties over SE - it might in fact only be using half its circuitry for SE outputs, in which case the balanced outs *might* sound better (maybe). In that case I’d go for a Jensen ISOMax line-level converter (XLR to RCA) before anything else. I’ve used one of these in the other direction - taking a SE phono stage into a balanced headphone amp - and it sounded great; there was distinct sonic advantage over full SE in that particular case, because that headphone amp only used half its circuitry in SE (note: an amp with differential input stage wouldn't have cared whether SE or balanced).

Somebody else can speak the the potential usefulness of simple XLR - RCA adapters (Cardas makes nice ones) in this application, but both the adapters and the Jensen box are handy to have in your audiophile toolkit :)

Audio by Van Alstine makes a single to balanced converter box that is much higher quality than the converter plugs you can buy.

If the itch is unbearable buy a fully balanced amp like one of Ralph's.


I have the very similar Simaudio LP310 and prefer the XLR out to Pass preamp...and also agree XLR often simply provides more solid connection...I would keep the Magnius away from the Sim

Paul McGowan enlightened me about the benefits of XLR some 25 years ago, BUT, the I/Os must be TRUE balanced circuits to enjoy what XLR is capable of.

As to only good for long runs: I compared the exact same manufacturer same run of 0.5m to1.0m XLRs and easily heard the differences



Thanks all for your replies.

I did contact Simaudio and therii opinion was that

while there should be no difference (i.e. if using their gear) there MAY be a small improvements to be had.using the XLR cables.

Since no one was overly enamoured with the Shiit products and since the Simaudio Moon contact does not believe there would be a significant improvement by using XLR cables, I have decided not to proceed. 

The single ended cables I currently have are excellent performers

  • and building a set of XLR cables just to satisfy my own curiosity would take away funds from other possible "projects"

Thanks to all that posted - much appreciated

Regads - Steve