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Thread: Balanced or unbalanced that is the question?

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    Senior Member srm51555's Avatar
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    Balanced or unbalanced that is the question?

    After switching cd players during my DYI M2 listening evaluations this weekend I started thinking more about balanced circuits into the Crown DCi. I know the ground is used to prevent picking up other signals on long runs and it gives the ability for bands to swap live. With those two things in mind it shouldn't make a difference in a home setting, but does it? If you have some experience please share you thoughts.

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    Senior Member audiomagnate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by srm51555 View Post
    After switching cd players during my DYI M2 listening evaluations this weekend I started thinking more about balanced circuits into the Crown DCi. I know the ground is used to prevent picking up other signals on long runs and it gives the ability for bands to swap live. With those two things in mind it shouldn't make a difference in a home setting, but does it? If you have some experience please share you thoughts.
    I've worked in live sound and recording studios have some balanced equipment I'm using right now. There's certainly nothing wrong with going balanced, and I'm listening to a balanced rig right now, but my answer to your question is still "No, it doesn't make a difference."

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    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    In home situation it is more a matter of level matching and gain chain than anything else.
    If you want to plug an unbalanced source into a balanced amplifier then you should follow Hypex' advice on how to wire you cable.
    Here is a ready made cable that would fit the bill (contrary to 99% of those you will find elsewhere, which are unbalanced all the way), but pricey: http://benchmarkmedia.com/collection...-adapter-cable

    The easiest solution is to build you own with a good balanced cable, with the benefit of being able to choose exactly the length you need.

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    Senior Member martin2395's Avatar
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    My ears tell me that gear that is fully balanced, not just converted from SE to BAL through an IC tend to sound better when connected through XLR. For example Krell or Mark Levinson gear seemed to benefit from a balanced connection.
    I also prefer XLR to RCA by a wide margin due to mechanical reasons - XLR's are much more rugged, have a lock mechanism and the cold and hot connection is made simultaneously.
    Unplugging RCA cables, even accidentaly with the amps turned on can easily cost you a heart attack or blown drivers / amp

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    Senior Member srm51555's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the replies. The setup that I'm using right now has unbalanced from the CD player to the amp. Then a jumper was added from the ground and negative per the DCi manual. I will be building a more permanent set once I have some time.

    Thanks,
    Scott

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    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    If you are not into cable DIY then simply buy Benchmark's RCA/XLR adapter and call it done.

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    Senior Member srm51555's Avatar
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    The DCi has perminant install screw terminals for inputs. I took single rca, cut in half, spliced the wires, and screwed them into the unit. It works for now, but want something with an exact length as you suggested.

    Thanks,
    Scott

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    Senior Member pos's Avatar
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    Then take a balanced cable, an RCA connector, and solder both the shield and white wire to the RCA "-" (ring), and the red wire to the RCA "+" (tip).
    Then on the amplifier side connect as usual: shield to ground, white wire to "-", and red wire to "+"

    This is the recommended way of doing these types of connection, and will preserve many of the benefits of a balanced connection (CMR).

    If you don't want to solder the RCA then buy some of these:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/391137181816...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
    (I must confess this is what I did )

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    Senior Member martin2395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pos View Post
    If you are not into cable DIY then simply buy Benchmark's RCA/XLR adapter and call it done.
    I can only second that, just don't use Neutrik (or any cheap) PA XLR-RCA adaptors. They are junk - low quality contacts and wiring.

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    Senior Member ivica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martin2395 View Post
    My ears tell me that gear that is fully balanced, not just converted from SE to BAL through an IC tend to sound better when connected through XLR. For example Krell or Mark Levinson gear seemed to benefit from a balanced connection.
    I also prefer XLR to RCA by a wide margin due to mechanical reasons - XLR's are much more rugged, have a lock mechanism and the cold and hot connection is made simultaneously.
    Unplugging RCA cables, even accidentaly with the amps turned on can easily cost you a heart attack or blown drivers / amp
    Hi,
    Firstly I want to say that I have no large experience in using balanced interface.
    From the technical point of view, balanced source with the PROPER HQ audio transformer, and input device with the proper audio transformer seems to me to be good solution, but the price of such transformers are quite high for the home listening solution. Using active" differential " source driver, and appropriated active "differential" input device means that a kind of very high quality amplifiers has to be applied on the either side. I can imagine that such solution is cheaper then the transformer solution, but I can not imagine why to use it at home, where the interconnection cables are usually short, so there is less interference then in pro applicatin, where audio interconnection cables are much longer. So the amout of money that is going to be spent for balanced HQ devices, may be can be spent for better audio source (pre amp, amp, speakers, ...)

    Regards
    Ivica

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    Senior Member Odd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pos View Post
    In home situation it is more a matter of level matching and gain chain than anything else.
    If you want to plug an unbalanced source into a balanced amplifier then you should follow Hypex' advice on how to wire you cable.
    Here is a ready made cable that would fit the bill (contrary to 99% of those you will find elsewhere, which are unbalanced all the way), but pricey: http://benchmarkmedia.com/collection...-adapter-cable

    The easiest solution is to build you own with a good balanced cable, with the benefit of being able to choose exactly the length you need.
    This will work on most devices, but not older JBL devices.

    Name:  XLR JBL.jpg
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    43XX (2235-2123-2450-2405-CC 3155)5235-4412-4406-4401-L250-18Ti-L40-S109 Aquarius lV-C38 (030) 305P MkII

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    Quote Originally Posted by srm51555 View Post
    After switching cd players during my DYI M2 listening evaluations this weekend I started thinking more about balanced circuits into the Crown DCi. I know the ground is used to prevent picking up other signals on long runs and it gives the ability for bands to swap live. With those two things in mind it shouldn't make a difference in a home setting, but does it? If you have some experience please share you thoughts.
    I owned high end audio stores for over 40 years so I worked with many brands and models. Assuming that the XLR jacks are connected to a true balanced signal path, I have generally found them audibly superior. Not all are, some components are faux balanced with single ended circuits with what amounts to an XLR adapter jack on the back panel. I find that I often hear more low level detail with balanced equipment because the noise floor can be lower than single ended. In my current system, it turns out that my plasma TV radiates a lot of electromagnetic interference (EMI). I did not discover this initially because I only listened to my system balanced. When I switched a power amp into the system that only had RCA inputs I was forced to track down the source of this very obvious and annoying noise.

    Also the XLR connector itself has far more integrity as they usually lock in place. Although I still prefer to power my equipment down when switching cables, as you point out it is reasonably safe to disconnect or reconnect XLR cables while equipment is live since hot(s) and ground are broken simultaneously. Try this with an RCA cable and one would be highly likely to damage their amp or speakers.

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    Balanced Line Technologies

    See the paper from Douglas Self:

    http://www.douglas-self.com/ampins/b...d/balanced.htm

    regards
    Ruediger

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    Senior Member srm51555's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the info. Ill be ordering some of the connects pos has posted tomorrow and building some up.

    Thanks,
    Scott

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