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Upgrading to Genelec 8030c, wondering if my unbakanced setup would damage speakers.


New Member
Jun 4, 2024
Hi, sorry if this has been asked before but i’m a total newb.

I'm currently using a Schiit Modi 3e DAC and a Little Dot MK IV headphone amp to listen to my Sennheiser HD650 headphones, sourcing audio from my MacBook Pro. Most of the time, I connect this setup to AudioEngine A5 speakers using RCA cables while working at my desk. I'm considering upgrading my speakers to Genelec 8030C, which only accepts XLR inputs. Unfortunately, the Genelec G3, which accepts RCA inputs, is not available in my country.

I don't plan to replace my entire DAC/AMP setup until I can afford to do so in the future. I am thinking of using an XLR-to-RCA cable to connect the Genelec 8030C to my current setup (MacBook Pro -> DAC -> Amp -> Genelec & HD650) to avoid constantly swapping cables between the speakers and headphones. Is this advisable? Is it gonna sound like shit? Would this damage the Genelec speakers? Or is my only option to change to another DAC that supports XLR output, like the Schiit Modius? (I'm also thinking about upgrading to the Schiit Ragnarok 2 when I can afford to, but upgrading the speakers is first priority)
With an unbalanced signal into an balanced input, you get most of the benefits of a balanced connection. (The other way around can be tricky.)

I didn't check the specs for your equipment but the one thing to watch-out for is input sensitivity on the monitiors. "Pro" Line Level is higher than "consumer" line level and you might not have enough signal to max-out Genelecs. These levels are rather loosely controlled... But usually the output is high enough (maximum higher than the "line level" standards) and the input is sensitive enough (minimum lower than the "line level" standards) and everything works fine together.
Is this advisable?
No, but only because you lose some of the benefit of a balanced connection.
Is it gonna sound like shit?
Genelecs sound awesome (have some 4030s on my desk, very similar) and they're great. The RCA connection won't hurt fidelity appreciably unless you have some truly wild and crazy interference in your room.
Would this damage the Genelec speakers?
I think you'd have to do some really goofy stuff with the gain setting on the Genelecs and maxing out your DAC to even risk damaging them. Even then I'm not sure you could wreck them, they have a reputation for being "bulletproof".

Oh, and welcome to ASR! I think you'll be really happy with the 8030s, my only advice for now is you should start saving up for a sub to complement them. Definitely a higher priority than a new DAC. I got a used one for $125 locally and it really fills in the bass. There are not many things that all (most?) audiophiles agree make a "night and day" difference, but a properly integrated sub is one of them. :)
I'd personally get some rca splitters (or a switch box) out of the dac and send one set to the Gens and another to the little dot. I'd keep the LD out of the chain to the monitors.

Edit. Maybe not actually, the modi doesn't have volume control does it? So you'd use the LD amp as a volume control.
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Ohhh that’s a great idea. I found an rca switch box online with a volume control knob maybe that would work.
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