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Does it degrade sound quality to connect a REL high level to the speaker terminals instead of the amplifier?

The below text is a transcript of the video.

This is a great question, and before I jump into the answer, it’ll be bisected a little bit. Here’s the only caveat. If you have a high-end amplifier, a balanced differential amplifier, which is a very different way of generating the signal don’t do this. A balanced differential amplifier doesn’t have a traditional ground.

It has two hots, one going out one going in. Again, one’s positive, one’s negative in polarity, and you could do damage. However, with the other 85% of the world, which has all the conventional class AB amplifiers class D receivers, all of that is fine. So here’s what you do. Why do we use high level? We use the high level connection because what we’re trying to get out of it is the closest thing to what your speaker sees.

Right? So start with the source, whether you’re streaming, whether you’re using, you know, an old school CD player or CD transport like I do you’ve got the source, you’ve got those cables you’ve got in the case of a high-end system, perhaps preamp and amplifier. Maybe it’s a receiver, but all of those things in the aggregate are what actually drives your speakers.

So now let’s jump back to the question. So now what we’ve tried to do is give you everything that will precondition. When I say precondition, I mean the dynamic signature. A small, not great power supplied receiver may not have the big dynamics that big separates would have, right? So when you listen to exactly the same subwoofer on the system with big high, current monoblocks, and you listen to it on an inexpensive little $500 receiver, the thing you’ll notice right away is whether there’s a subwoofer there or not

there’s so much more jump there’s so much more dynamics to it. That’s what we want to build forward. So let’s take it to the next step. What is left, but for the speaker cable, right? So we’ve gone through all of that stuff, the preamplifier to the power amplifier and the speaker cable that runs to your speakers has its own effect, especially if you’re talking about a high end system.

So I actually think it’s a really clever way to do it and I’ll explain the best way to do it is to actually wind up with stereo pairs of RELs. Because otherwise you’ve got a really tricky bit of wire extension. Think about this. You’ve got a speaker here, you’ve got a speaker here. All’s going well. John says, hey you can hook up to the speakers and it’s arguably an upgrade, right?

Because now we’ve inculcated the signature of the speaker wire. This is exactly what your speakers are seeing and receiving. So now we hook up our high-level cables to that one for the right one for the left. It all works great or it doesn’t work great if you have, if you’re trying to do it with a single sub you’re now need to extend the wire

for whichever channel that is. If the REL is closest to your right speaker, great I get it. Then you’ll need to run a wire 8, 10 feet over to your left speaker and run it up the stand and connect it that way if it’s a stand mounted speaker. So it gets a little bit weird when you’re trying to make due with a single REL but with a with a stereo pair of speakers and you’re trying to do it, but yes, you absolutely can do it and it actually is a form of an upgrade by doing so, because now you’ve got the entire system. Whatever’s being fed to your speakers is now absolutely what’s being fed us. So great question. Thank you. By the way, guys either write into this if you’re watching this on YouTube or reach out to contact [email protected], if you have any questions we’re here to serve. We try to make this really accessible and fun and answer all those questions that are kind of populated around. Don’t think there are any stupid questions there never are.


April 14, 2022 - Posted in: Q & A With John Hunter