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Schiit Skoll Balanced Phono Stage Review

Rate this phono stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 6 4.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 6.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 78 55.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 47 33.6%

  • Total voters
    140
Is there any record player now with a balanced output interface?

There are others but here are a few:​

Pro-Ject X1 B and X2 B,​

THORENS TD 1601,​

THORENS TD 550,​

From Audiogon


lewm​


12,590 posts
11-23-2023 at 12:46am
A turntable is a passive device. It has nothing to do with signal processing or amplification. Same goes for a tonearm. If you want to operate in balanced mode, you simply connect your cartridge to any suitable phono stage that incorporates balanced circuitry. Nearly all cartridges can deliver a balanced signal, if connected to a balanced phono stage such that the “ground” pins from the cartridge carry instead the negative phase of the signal. By convention the “hot” pins carry the positive phase. Positive goes to pin 2 of an XLR. Negative phase to pin3. Pin 1 is for chassis ground but the phono signal floats.
imhififan's avatar

imhififan​


2,141 posts
11-24-2023 at 02:01pm
MC cartridge and almost all MM and MI cartridge except those wired its negative to ground are balanced device. If you’re looking for a turntable with cartridge and XLR connection for under a grand, just shop for a turntable and cartridge that is within 1k budget and rewire the phono connection to XLR cable.
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lewm​


12,590 posts
11-23-2023 at 01:13pm
So, if you already own a balanced phono stage, you would remove the RCA plugs from your phono cables. Then solder the bare lead that was connected to the center plug of the RCE to pin2 of an XLR. The bare lead that was connected to the outer barrel or ground of the RCA would connect to pin3 of the XLR. If the RCA cable has a shield, connect the shield to pin1. It is best if your RCA uses separate conductors for hot and ground where ground is distinct from the shield. This scenario holds where the cable runs direct from the cartridge pins or from a DIN plug or from an outboard box.
 
I heard mine for an hour and it was returned. Lch noise very clearly audible on MM settings. I mostly use headphones so the setup and records need to be near darn perfect. Folks who don't hear it must have either inefficient speakers or there is a new batch of reworked PCB's in the wild....or they run MC carts.

It is not humming as such but it's more of HF garbage comparable to hearing noise from SMPS or cheap LED bulbs. Other phono pre-amps were dead quiet on the same turntable and power strip so the issue was clearly the Skoll. On higher gain setting it was unusable due to Lch noise.
Major disappointment because the Rch didn't have any issues, which to me means that the design is somehow flawed and Schiit calling it 'physics' is simply being rude when the cheapest single/dual op-amp chinese phono can be dead quiet.

Wait for Skoll 2. I'm done with the brand for good, it's in the name.
 
Last edited:
I am returning my Skoll. I'm disappointed with the unit I received.


  1. Alarming on/off popping sound from my speakers even if my pre-amp is turned off. The only way to prevent the popping is to turn of my amps first which does not work for my setup.
  2. Excessive speaker cone movement. I don't know what causes this but it seems like it would damage my speakers long term. This seems unacceptable given that using the same source (vinyl record, turntable, cartridge etc) with my other two phono stages I see only normal speaker cone vibration.
  3. Sound stage is sounds smaller and less out in my space compared with my Creek Audio OBH 15 Mk 2. Obviously subjective, would need tools to make sure it's not just level matching given the differences between phono stages.
  4. High-pass / LF filter cuts out way too much bass, I saw this in Amir's review, but it was still shocking to realize how much is removed. It isn't a rumble filter, it's more of a dramatic HP filter at ~100 Hz. Unusable.

Testing done on a MMF 5.1 SE w/ Hana SL cartridge.
 
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