Balanced vs unbalanced / Can you mix and match?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by James W. Johnson, Jul 7, 2004.

  1. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    My Aragon Soundstage has balanced outputs but my current Parasound amp does not have balanced inputs. What, if any benefit might I gain if I sold the Parasound and purchased an amp with balanced inputs?

    Secondly my subwoofer amp does have balanced inputs plus its relatively far away from the Pre-amp @ 20' ...would it be ok to use balanced on the subwoofer output and unbalanced on the rest?
     
  2. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If your amp was on one end of the room and your preamp on the other then you might be able to reduce noise induced into the cable if noise were somehow getting in. While a nice feature James, it has its greatest utility in pro applications.
     
  3. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Thanks Chu, I guess I'll just buy whatever subwoofer cable is cheaper. My current cable makes quite abit of noise when I step on it...its just a very inexpensive cable with little or no shielding. I planned on buying something better so this is why I asked.

    Now it wont hurt to run the subwoofer balanced and the other 5 speakers unbalanced will it?
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If you keep stepping on your sub cable (coax type), even if you upgrade so to speak, you'll eventually have this problem again. Is there no way you can reroute the cable (along walls, through walls or floors, etc.) to avoid this James? One thing you can try is to go to a pro audio shop like your local Guitar Center and pick up a high quality, rugged microphone cable and have it terminated in RCA's. Look for the kind that are used on stages where people walk over them all the time. I'd suggest Canare or Mogami but you can defer to their expertise in this area. That would do the trick better I think if you can't avoid stepping on it.
     
  5. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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    Would a guitar cable work? They are already terminated with 1/4" plug which fit right into my EQ and amp.
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You tell me [​IMG]
     
  7. anth_c

    anth_c Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a similar situation with my B&K Reference 50. The amp for my sub is a pro model so I use the balanced connections and unbalanced for all of the other channels. No problems at all.

    I do think there is a certain coolness factor to using all balanced connections...something you can brag to your friends about.
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    There is certainly something to be said about the advantage of using robust XLRs or ¼” connectors as opposed to RCA’s, which are pretty much the bottom feeders of the connector world. Beyond that there is hardly ever a good reason to go balanced in a residential installation, unless you for some reason have very long signal runs or have to run input signals parallel with electrical.

    For one thing, unless your source components all have balanced outputs, their single-ended signal has to be converted to a balanced. That’s just one more thing in the signal path that really isn’t needed.

    As anth noted, there isn't a problem using a mix of balanced and unbalanced outputs, especially if you're mixing mains and subs. Don't think I would do that for the mains, though.

    A decent-quality one should work fine. They routinely get stepped-on, too! [​IMG] I’ve never had any microphonic problems with mine, but then again I made them myself with top-quality Canare star-quad cable.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Also very flexible. The noise that's being heard can be due to a couple of reasons. The stepping can be caused by the movement of parts within the cable which will change the capacitance as well as different layers rubbing against each other causing a piezoelectric effect otherwise known as triboelectric noise. Personally I think turning to the pro-audio area for solutions is a good one as these sorts of problems are routine for these guys. Performance driven and all that.
     

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