Talk to me about balanced-output phono stages

So I’m at the point of considering a change-around of how my system is physically located.

My current stage is the very lovely Lehmann Silver Cube - £4K’s worth of class-A, zero-feedback, foo-component, minimalist layout, external PSU German logic and attention to detail. It’s highly flexible and configurable, including a resistive-loading bay into which I can drop any R I fancy. There is absolutely nothing I dislike about it, nor any shortcoming my ears are able to detect.

All it lacks is balanced outputs, which ordinarily wouldn’t matter in the slightest, but I want to push the stage about 4.5m away from the amp, and at that length, with the stage not being a voltage monster, and the cables running close to assorted EMI sources, I’d prefer that to run through balanced cabling.

What I don’t want is a shedload of valves, otherwise, ideas and suggestions of new toys up to ~£5K to waste money on would be appreciated. I do like an engaging and propulsive sort of a sound, so reticent, rose-tinted, warm and woolly need not apply…

I think you can order a Vida with xlr output.

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It’s a line output, so that should be ok over 5m shouldn’t it? Not as if it’s phono level. If you like what you have, try it before you spunk £5k elsewhere!

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I thought a phono is exactly what he’s talking about, no?

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No idea if its any good, well out of my experience range but looks nice


That is sold Rob.

I posted the wrong link, now updated.

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It’s a phono stage, so its output is line level.

I’m sure Paul must know someone who is competent enough to construct a shielded cable :thinking:


This looks to be a great choice.
Good price, quality kit.

I understand. I was thinking of it being lower level, carry on…


The boy’s an idiot, best not to acknowledge him, it just encourages more of the same.


With part exchange. And dealer discount? :nerd_face:

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Shame, because an Aesthetix Rhea would slap most things this side of a Cocosan build.

There is also a Avid Pulsare 2 in Audiomarkt at £3389.

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I had one of these when I was in full hifi mode.

I thought it was great, I was however fussy on cartridge choice requiring low impedance I think.

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Obviously coco is the answer. Wouldn’t balanced outputs need 2 power supplies? Just in case?

Pete’s far too busy, I can’t afford what such a thing would be worth, and the floorboards in this old house couldn’t take the weight; it would also dramatically outclass all of the rest of the system.

Annoyingly, the only two I like the idea of so far are the Rhea (valves :poop: but at least they’re relatively long-lived, widely-available 9-pin stuff, and no accursed valve rectification), and the BMC (will destroy your system and itself if your tonearm and cart are not wired in JUST SO, and will require me to basically rewire the entire tonearm…).

To re-iterate for the comprehensionally-challenged: yes, the line output should comfortably drive 5m of coax; what it won’t drive is my OCD, not indefinitely…

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As much mocking as this may produce, a Cyrus Phono Signature with extra power supply foo might fit the bill?

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It is something I would take the time to listen to if I could get one on demo.

Actually, you’ve reminded me - I might have a Pro-ject Phono-box RS and battery supply tucked-away somewhere - it couldn’t hold a candle to the Lehmann, but it would let me side-by-side the different cable options, see if it’s worth the faff. Only downside, the battery pack will be LONG dead…