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Jan. 2018
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DIN vs RCA connectors - technical advantage?

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  • DIN vs RCA connectors - technical advantage?

    From a scientific point of view, are there any electromechanical advantages to DIN over RCA or vice-versa?

    {Moderator's comment: at audio frequency or radio frequencies?}

  • #2
    DIN and balanced DIN?

    Originally posted by Zemlya View Post
    From a scientific point of view, are there any electromechanical advantages to DIN over RCA or vice-versa?

    {Moderator's comment: at audio frequency or radio frequencies?}
    Usually DIN output voltage is higher.. and it always comes with a shielded Twisted pair cable. from understanding, DIN / balanced are usually meant for user who are running longer length of cable between units.. the twisted pair cable enhance common-mode noise rejection... etc

    Most would infer that the Balanced output gives more dynamic of the music playback.. better sound better soundstage better detail better transparency better

    anw, i will keen to try both..

    Comment


    • #3
      DIN or XLR - clarify please

      Are you referring to DIN, as used by Naim and DNM, or XLR, often used on professional gear ?

      Comment


      • #4
        RCA, TNC etc.

        Both are compromised connectors for consumer electronics. The DIN system has many advantages for domestic use, but the more cumbersome RCA plugs won the day. The RCA plug particularly is pressed to serve in circumstances when it's use is far from ideal.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCA_connector

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIN_connector

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_plug

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XLR_connector

        Although a radio frequency plug, the TNC would be the better option, if a single unbalanced audio cable with connectors was wanted.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TNC_connector

        Balanced systems are probably over complex and unnecessary for the short cable runs used in domestic equipment

        It seems though that domestic audio is stuck with RCA - a plug designed to be very cheap, but now grossly over-engineered and still no better for it.

        {Moderator's comment: I think you'll find that the TNC connector is both balanced and extremely difficult to source. Our B&K test box has it as a balanced input. It's also very very fiddly to wire. RCA is extremely easy.}

        Comment


        • #5
          TNC or not TNC

          {Moderator's comment: I think you'll find that the TNC connector is both balanced and extremely difficult to source. Our B&K test box has it as a balanced input. It's also very very fiddly to wire. RCA is extremely easy.}
          Are we talking about the same thing? You can get them anywhere.

          http://uk.rs-online.com/web/c/?searc...c+plug&sra=oss

          And look at the PDF with the fitting instructions. One central conductor. One screen. Unbalanced.

          I think you need a crimping tool to fit them.

          Comment


          • #6
            DIN = a better design

            Originally posted by Zemlya View Post
            From a scientific point of view, are there any electromechanical advantages to DIN over RCA or vice-versa?
            At audio frequencies, a resounding yes in favour of DIN.

            The contact pressure is significantly greater, resulting in better consistency and reliability.

            Also, the contacts are self-cleaning. The wiper scrapes the outside of the pin during insertion which removes any contamination to a safe area above the contact point.

            The metallic ring surrounding the pins prevents them from being touched by greasy fingers during normal use.

            All told, a far more intelligently designed system.

            Comment


            • #7
              TNC better option?

              Originally posted by Labarum View Post
              Although a radio frequency plug, the TNC would be the better option
              Why would you prefer the rare TNC to the very common BNC? At audio frequencies? A BNC doesn't occupy that much more panel area than an RCA phono

              Originally posted by Moderator View Post
              Moderator's comment: I think you'll find that the TNC connector is both balanced...
              The TNC is a two pole (pin & screen) connector, very similar to BNC but threaded instead of bayonets. If balanced, this implies that the screen is not connected to the equipment ground but is effectively one of the legs of the balanced line. I believe this approach is common in decent test equipment to prevent ground loop problems.

              Given that BNC is considered good to over 10GHz, TNC seems a rather odd choice...

              Comment


              • #8
                DIN at audio frequencies

                Originally posted by Zemlya View Post
                From a scientific point of view, are there any electromechanical advantages to DIN over RCA or vice-versa?

                {Moderator's comment: at audio frequency or radio frequencies?}
                Audio frequencies. I am referring to DIN, not XLR.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Connector craziness

                  Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                  Given that BNC is considered good to over 10GHz, TNC seems a rather odd choice...
                  I've used both BNC and TNC connectors in laboratories and just plucked TNC out as an example of a well made plug that would work in the domestic audio market in preference to RCA.

                  Is BNC (or TNC) ever used in pro-audio stuff, or is it always XLR? [Edit: or 1/4 inch jack?]

                  For those not familiar with these components TNC and BNC are very similar. TNC have a threaded lock requiring many turns to lock, BNC has a bayonet lock, so a quarter turn does it.

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BNC_connector

                  In the back of my mind I have the thought that there are some expensive domestic preamps that use TNC for the phono (RIAA) input. Is that right?

                  But, as I said, the industry is in a rut - RCA for audio at various levels, S/PDIF, and even Composite Video. It's crazy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    BNC and sending digital

                    Originally posted by Labarum View Post
                    Is BNC (or TNC) ever used in pro-audio stuff, or is it always XLR? [Edit: or 1/4 inch jack?]
                    I don't think I've ever seen a TNC in angry use.

                    BNC is used extensively in digital audio kit in places where AES/EBU isn't appropriate - clocks & the like and is the de facto standard for video.

                    It's interesting to note that if you want to send a digital audio signal a long way, it's better to do it on 75Ω video cable than standard XLR-terminated 110Ω balanced cable using one of these at either end.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      DIN and composite cables

                      DIN plugs have the great advantage that they can carry multi-channel audio.

                      A three pin DIN plug will enable a single composite cable to carry a stereo signal; and a five pin DIN allows that in both directions so an analogue tape deck can be connected to a control amp (a pre-amp) with one cable. With RCA terminated cables two or four separate leads are needed.

                      Jack plugs (1/4 inch or miniature) can also bear two channel stereo, but not more. For years I had a Sony Walkman Pro connected to an integrated amp with two miniature jack to phono (pair) leads.

                      Those days are gone.

                      AV amps have many tens of RCA sockets on the back - it just gets more crazy all the time. The SCART plugs will carry RGB and composite video as well as two channel stereo, but SCART never caught on in USA, so the video was coupled with three RCA plugs for REd, Green and Blue, and two more for the audio. Sheer Madness!

                      A single HDMI plug will carry all that data in the digital domain.

                      Loudspeaker plugs are another issue. The DIN loudspeaker plug is a poor affair and will not make a decent connection for good speakers.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIN_con...aker_connector

                      The Speakon will handle the current but became common only in Pro Studios.

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakon_connector

                      Home speakers settled on the 4mm banana plug and the crude binding post. All of this multiplies further the wires and plugs needed in a domestic audio or AV setup.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The daftness of DIN

                        Originally posted by Labarum View Post
                        .... Loudspeaker plugs are another issue. The DIN loudspeaker plug is a poor affair and will not make a decent connection for good speakers...
                        It's all very well to be dismissive of the phono plug and say that technically the DIN plug is superior (previous posts) but have you actually tried to solder a DIN plug? It's challenging. It needs a fine-tip iron, good eyesight, a steady hand, thin solder and much attention. And if it's a multi-way DIN (example, L-R tape in/out) that soldering nightmare has to be repeated five times.

                        In my humble opinion, the DIN plug was a daft idea from the start. Too many pins crammed in too small a space; totally unsuitable for DIY preparation. The number of times in my Quad 33 days that I made a mess of wiring a DIN plug is a memory still with me! The phono plug is vastly more user friendly.

                        Best of all perhaps is the XLR. Rugged, multi-pinned, pins always protected by the metal body. But functionally no benefit over the phono. And much, much bigger.
                        Alan A. Shaw
                        Designer, owner
                        Harbeth Audio UK

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Phono v. BNC

                          Originally posted by A.S. View Post
                          It's all very well to be dismissive of the phono plug...
                          OK, but I'm still wondering why we adopted the RCA phono rather than the BNC which, in many respects, is the perfect connector. The argument, originally, was that the phono was significantly cheaper. Today, an "audiophile" phono lead costs 20 and up (and up and up) while you can buy a BNC lead (good for 2GHz) for under a tenner.

                          It's not logical, captain.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BNC - another cold sweat connector ....

                            Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                            OK, but I'm still wondering why we adopted the RCA phono rather than the BNC which, in many respects, is the perfect connector. The argument, originally, was that the phono was significantly cheaper. Today, an "audiophile" phono lead costs 20 and up (and up and up) while you can buy a BNC lead (good for 2GHz) for under a tenner.

                            It's not logical, captain.
                            Bridge to engine room .... OK Scottie, buying an off-the-shelf BCN lead is one matter. But have you actually tried to assemble/solder a BNC connector yourself at your own pace let alone under Klingon attack? No strands of braid? No worry about the ridiculously small clearances between the metal parts (conductor, braid, case)? No observation that if you twist the cable/connector this way or that the signal comes or goes? No cold sweats at 4am that you really should disassemble to see if there is a potential or actual short circuit?

                            Oh, and BTW: Mod1 was wrong about TNC being balanced etc.. What he meant was BNT - yes, you'll never have heard of it. That is balanced, is used on our B&K equipment and the fear that it's not correctly assembled never leaves you ....... Just try and buy one.

                            My advice is stick with phono!
                            Alan A. Shaw
                            Designer, owner
                            Harbeth Audio UK

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              RCA - cheap

                              Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                              OK, but I'm still wondering why we adopted the RCA phono rather than the BNC which, in many respects, is the perfect connector . . . It's not logical, captain.
                              Correct. The RCA plug started out as a very cheap component to enable a turntable to be plugged into the back of a radio.

                              If I remember correctly the Mullard Book that set out classic designs for DIY valve audio designs - the 3.3, 5.10 and 5.20 - all specifies Belling Lee Coax connectors.(TV Coax) Now they are cheap, easy to fit, maintain the right impedance and don't connect the signal before the ground (earth).

                              RCA won.

                              The future?

                              Active speakers with internal DACs connecting wirelessly or on a Thunderbolt/Lightpeak optical cable.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunderbolt_(interface))

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