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single ended vs balanced


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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 Phil P

Phil P

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Posted November 09 2002 - 06:51 PM

Is it really worth paying the extra money to get balanced outputs vs single ended outputs? I've read that it may be worth it if there is a long run of interconnects. Does this mean between the processor and the amplifier or something else?

#2 of 5 James R. Geib

James R. Geib

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Posted November 09 2002 - 11:18 PM

Balanced connections are better for longer cable runs. XLR (balanced) cables are less susceptible to interference due to the design of the balanced circuit. Whether or not it is worth extra money would depend on the equipment and set-up.

Balanced interconnects can be used to connect preamplifiers to amplifiers, cd players to preamplifiers, and for other audio applications where balanced outputs and inputs are available. Generally, higher-end equipment will have both balanced and single-ended (RCA) outputs and inputs.

The audible difference (if one existed for the given set-up) between using balanced connections instead of single-ended connections would be hard to hear for the average person. It would have to be a fairly transparent system.

Just be sure and use good cabling no matter which method you use!
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#3 of 5 Chu Gai

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Posted November 09 2002 - 11:52 PM

It also pays to find out by contacting the manufacturer, if those balanced connections are truly balanced. Some companies stretch the truth with what they considered balanced. I posted a bit on this a while back here and you may find some of the links interesting to study.

#4 of 5 Phil P

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Posted November 10 2002 - 10:19 AM

Thanks, the above information helps.

#5 of 5 Dan Driscoll

Dan Driscoll

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Posted November 11 2002 - 04:19 AM

IMO, for most systems and most people, no, balanced interconnects won't make an audible difference. But in very high end systems or enviroments with lots of interference, they may be helpful. Also, as you already noted, when there are long cable runs between the processor and amp. This is most likely to be the case in custom installations or if you have active speakers.
Dan

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