Please I need help on how I would connect a Monoprice 887 THX AMP to a 3.5mm jack with balanced audio

What cables would I need to get balanced audio from the back of the Monoprice 887 THX? From my understanding, there is the 2 XLR balanced input and RCA input, and to my understanding, RCA is never balanced. So can I just get a dual XLR to a 3.5mm jack and I’ll be fine or do I need something extra?

Not sure what you mean… the back of the unit has XLR inputs for connecting a balanced DAC. Don’t need an adapter, but xlr female/male (like a mirocophone cable). If no balanced DAC, then the RCAs…

“Get audio out” seems you mean from the front… which means a balanced headphone cable to the phones (?) or am I just terribly confused ?

So I do indeed need a DAC because RCA is not balanced?

Sorry I thought you had a DAC. What source are you trying to amplify? Straight from a computer? (In which case the soudcard is a DAC…). Don’t think you can connect balanced.

You don’t really need to… I wouldn’t think… but I’d totally stick with the Atom if you are not going with a balanced DAC.

(You said you had a JDS Labs Atom, yes?)

oh sorry I just realized that I deleted the headphones and amp I had, I have a M570 connected to a JDS labs atom. And what I’m trying to achieve is to get these headphones on balanced audio through the 887 to my sound card (AE-5) and my question was do I need something else besides the amp to get balanced audio. And to my understanding so far is that I need the AMP and a balanced DAC which I can connect to my sound card via optical?

Well… yeah, you can’t connect the computer directly to the balanced amp “balanced”… as far as I know; I don’t think an adapter would be safe even; but I’ll let others fill in that detail. Basically no advantage to doing it that way even if you can, safely, though.

an optical connection to a balanced DAC would work; this would bypass your sound card. Then balanced cables between the DAC and the 887. Then to use the more powerful XLR output from the amp, need an XLR /balanced cable for the headphones.

Honestly it seems like trouble and expense for those ‘phones… keeping it all single ended, the Atom would be more powerful than the 887, and be fine. Unless you have ground loop problems (hum or noise) from the single ended connection to the amp, there’s no real advantage to using balanced.

What phones?


Oh sorry. I have another question does it matter if I used the Optical or Digital coaxial to 3.5mm, would there be a difference and if so what? What would be the most simple way to connect the DAC to sound card?

This is the sound card that I would connect it to.image

I don’t think it matters whether you use optical or coax… maybe someone else can chime in.

Also not familiar with the sound card and how that exactly works, perhaps one of the gamer guys can chime in on that. I think the external DAC will just bypass what’s in the sound card either way (? — not 100% on this). Looks to me like optical is easy though.

And I’ll stop talking about it after this — I understand the heart wants what it wants — but I don’t get why you want a balanced connection here at all, truth. I don’t see it why it would help.

The 887 isn’t really a balanced Amp, so there isn’t a big win in connecting it balanced vs RCA.
You can use the balanced headphone out with either input.
You can either connect to the sound card using a 3.5 to dual RCA connector and not use an additional DAC.
Or you can buy a DAC with a balanced output (starting at about ~$200) and connect it to either USB, Optical or Coax, though most motherboards/soundcards don’t have a Coax out.

Personally I’d use USB which would entirely bypass the SoundCard.
If coax is an option, it’s generally a better option than optical, because it relies less on cable quality.
Optical is however fine, and it’s preferable if you get noise via the other two outputs.

Personally unless you need the extra power I think the Atom is a better amp than the 887 or any of the THX amps, but YMMV.

1 Like

… and I don’t think the M570s need extra power over the Atom…

Mind you, I am someone with the 887 and an Atom (and a Liquid Spark)… so I understand… the extra power from the XLR output might be helpful for some headphones, if you’re looking to buy more power hungry sets in the future. But…

Most headphones are perfectly fine with the SE Atom; if no balanced/XLR cable, the Atom SE has more power than the 887 SE.

In those cases the 887 is just a very expensive pass through box.