xlr balanced cables vs RCA cables

MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum

Help Support MartinLogan Audio Owners Forum:

tah800

Active member
Joined
Jul 30, 2008
Messages
31
Reaction score
0
Location
Sussex,New Brunswick Canada
Both my Sunfire Amp and preamp have balanced inputs and outputs. I have some pretty nice RCA cables but some have said that the balanced cable is better. My only interest here is wether or not the balanced sound better. My sales person here says that the balanced are better only if you have long runs. I need less than a meter to get from my preamp to my amp. Would I then just be wasting my money or would it be worth buying the balanced cable. Art:confused:
 

tonepub

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2007
Messages
2,416
Reaction score
2
Location
Portland, Oregon
Both my Sunfire Amp and preamp have balanced inputs and outputs. I have some pretty nice RCA cables but some have said that the balanced cable is better. My only interest here is wether or not the balanced sound better. My sales person here says that the balanced are better only if you have long runs. I need less than a meter to get from my preamp to my amp. Would I then just be wasting my money or would it be worth buying the balanced cable. Art:confused:

for less than a meter, I wouldn't bother if you already have cable you like....
 

C.A.P

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Messages
2,049
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
Im partial to balanced. Less chance for any interference !
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,387
Reaction score
143
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
Im partial to balanced. Less chance for any interference !
Yes, but you have to deal with two grounds, one for positive and another for negative...I just wonder why Conrad Johnson never use balanced connectors in their designs, being one of the best products (if not the best) on the market today. They say single ended is the way to go...it is controversial, some people like balanced, others single ended...I do like balanced in SS and single ended in tube gear...happy listening,
Roberto.
 

Cherian

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
1,214
Reaction score
0
The Sunfire are not a true balanced design. As I understand the design need to be done as true balanced to be of audio benefit.
 

C.A.P

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2005
Messages
2,049
Reaction score
1
Location
Michigan
The Sunfire are not a true balanced design. As I understand the design need to be done as true balanced to be of audio benefit.

This is true. Krell is fully balanced through out !
 

MiTT

Super User
Joined
Jan 4, 2005
Messages
2,960
Reaction score
5
Location
Denver, Colorado
The Sunfire are not a true balanced design. As I understand the design need to be done as true balanced to be of audio benefit.

That's what I was going to add Cherian, but you beat me to it. Balanced cables really don't offer any huge benefit outside of some shielding on extreemly long runs, unless your circuit is fully differential as well. If you are running "real" balanced circuits within your components (like my Esoteric, Aesthetix and Balanced Audio Technology [there's a reason for the name] components) then there is an audible benefit becuause you are transfering the signals in their "native" format. Otherwise all you're doing is running a single ended signal through a different type of connector that adds a shield.
 

OldMonolith

Active member
Joined
Jun 30, 2008
Messages
40
Reaction score
0
Location
TN
Two grounds??? :eek: Where?? :devil: Most balanced interconnect wire has only two wires and a shield. At least in my experience...

I would think the Conrad Johnson line of thinking might be something like...why add a device to change from single ended to balanced, route through a short conductor to the input, where you have to have yet another device to convert balanced back to unbalanced. That could be considered two extra "stages" to minimize noise that may not be a problem to begin with. Sound about right?

But the balanced advocate could answer with...but we can isolate the grounds between devices instead of trying to share it through non-permanent connections...AND....we also have the ability to reject noise if it is present on the input. :rocker: PLUS...we use a better connector too! And...if you need more, we can seperate SHIELDING from audio grounding which so often gets confused! Isn't that all correct thinking??

Can either way be a superior method in all cases? Or would the individual implementation maybe make a big difference?

My thinking for the original question...short jumper and not inherently balanced circuitry, stay with your unbalanced if your happy with them.

OldMonolith
 

danman

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 15, 2008
Messages
142
Reaction score
0
Location
Canada
My system is fully balanced from the CD player to the pre-amp and amp itself. After direct comparison, the balanced had a much better control on the sound. I guess it is a matter of taste.
 

FISH_MAN

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2008
Messages
1,380
Reaction score
1
Location
il
I am by far not an expert but I think that the balanced may need some extra circuitry to make it work. that may be why Conrad may not use it the less in the signal path the better.I have used both and both sound good the balanced may have a slightly stronger sound but that could be the placebo effect on me.I would go with Tonepub on this one if you are less than a meter and have cables you like don't bother.
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,387
Reaction score
143
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
Two grounds??? :eek: Where?? :devil: Most balanced interconnect wire has only two wires and a shield. At least in my experience...

I would think the Conrad Johnson line of thinking might be something like...why add a device to change from single ended to balanced, route through a short conductor to the input, where you have to have yet another device to convert balanced back to unbalanced. That could be considered two extra "stages" to minimize noise that may not be a problem to begin with. Sound about right?

But the balanced advocate could answer with...but we can isolate the grounds between devices instead of trying to share it through non-permanent connections...AND....we also have the ability to reject noise if it is present on the input. :rocker: PLUS...we use a better connector too! And...if you need more, we can seperate SHIELDING from audio grounding which so often gets confused! Isn't that all correct thinking??

Can either way be a superior method in all cases? Or would the individual implementation maybe make a big difference?

My thinking for the original question...short jumper and not inherently balanced circuitry, stay with your unbalanced if your happy with them.

OldMonolith

Hola OldMonolith...yes you are right! what I was trying to explain is..."The problems lie both in the way the inverted part of the balanced signal pair is generated, and the way it's recombined at the far end. As outlined, both involve extra complication in the circuitry, and this can sometimes mean degraded sound quality. Also, regardless of the exact method used to generate the balanced pair of signals, and to reconstruct the original afterwards, the balancing will only extend up to a certain frequency limit - beyond this limit, the signals will no longer be a mirror image of each other, and asymmetry will set in..."...If you like it, then use it...happy listening,
Roberto.
 

adanny

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
130
Reaction score
0
Location
USA
summary: if you are not fully balanced start to finish, it makes no difference for short runs e.g. under 10 feet.

I am in the same quandary. All my sources are inputting digital HDMI signal into a processor, or optical/digital RCA (e.g. Sonos) or audio SACD signal. Sounds like Balanced from the processor to the amplifier is a waste of money in my setup then?
 

roberto

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
3,387
Reaction score
143
Location
San Jose, Costa Rica
summary: if you are not fully balanced start to finish, it makes no difference for short runs e.g. under 10 feet.

I am in the same quandary. All my sources are inputting digital HDMI signal into a processor, or optical/digital RCA (e.g. Sonos) or audio SACD signal. Sounds like Balanced from the processor to the amplifier is a waste of money in my setup then?

Hola...just trust your ears, and choose the one that you liked most!...there are a lot of options with cables and it is very controversial who is right or not...I think that all are right...both are great! both gives me the sense of being there, and also the right size of the instrument(s) Vocal(s). I do like balanced because you can change the cable without making any noise or causing a transient that could burn your power amp (special tube amps suffer with heavy transients). Single ended on the other hand, are very easy to listen and hear the difference between them...just live one week one kind of cable and then change it, your sense will tell you. Our immediate memory only last about 20 seconds who is very skilled. I think that you should make the best contact possible and use good cables at least OFC (oxigen free copper). I wish to all a very happy listening,
Roberto.
 
Top