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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeffrey Chin, May 22, 2002.
any sonic differences btwn XLR vs RCA for 1.0m length?
Why not do the experiment for yourself?
Get two pairs of matching interconnects, balanced and single-ended.
Switch between the two, with levels matched and see if you can hear a difference.
If you can, and you prefer XLR go that route.
From a technical perspective, balanced has an edge -- but given the short distance you're talking about running, the edge is basically a specs edge.
OTOH, as much as you're obsessing over it, maybe you should just get the balanced connections and be done with it.
I'd bet on balanced over single-ended any day of the week, any length.
I now use 1.5m length balanced cables between my Krell HTS2 and Krell KAV-500, and I heard a huge difference over the single-ended interconnects I had before. Not a "listen closely and you may be able to tell" difference, but a HUGE difference. Krell uses truly balanced XLR jacks, which as John will tell you, effectively requires twice the amount of circuitry.
I've heard both extremes.
Without differential circuitry (which is what balanced is) on both ends, the gains are going to be minimal.
On short runs, it really will depend -- personally, I haven't heard large differences until I've stretched out to 3m or more.
I've heard major differences over runs as short as 1 foot.
FWIW, I had a hum that was in my 2 channel system that would not go away until I finally used 1.5M balanced interconnects. As John said the benefits are greater for longer lengths. Good Luck!
The balanced connection will be louder, so that will seem like it sounds better. Just as DTS is louder than DD, therefore most people think DTS sounds better- if you take the time to match the levels you are most likely not going to be able to tell the difference.
The nice thing about balanced connections are:
1. the XLR connector itself is a good, solid connector
2. the signal is louder to drowned out noise
3. it also phases out noise
The way noise is canceled out is that the signal is sent across two cables, but the polarity is reversed on one of them. the cable acts an antenna of sorts picking noise and interference- the longer it is the more noise it picks up- a one meter cable with a good shield won't pick up hardly anything. But for long runs some noise will be picked up. On the receiving end of the balanced cable the polarity gets reversed back- this doubles the "good" signal while putting the noise out of polarity with itself and it then gets phased out.
It would be much easier to explain if I could draw a picture!
So in your case with top dollar components and good cables, an un-balanced connection should sound just as good.
But if you are a true audiophile, then just do what makes you feel better. That's what makes it fun!
I've had this discussion with Jeff elsewhere