XLR Balanced Jacks

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Robert_Lamb, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. Robert_Lamb

    Robert_Lamb Stunt Coordinator

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    Can someone tell me the value of XLR Balanced Jacks? Are they worthwhile to get for the money?
     
  2. Arthur Vino

    Arthur Vino Stunt Coordinator

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  3. Jagan Seshadri

    Jagan Seshadri Supporting Actor

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    XLR balanced cabling is for maintaining signal integrity over long cable runs. Hundreds of feet. If you are not running your cables that far, you probably don't need your cabling to be XLR balanced.

    -JNS
     
  4. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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    Go to a musical instruments store, one that sells guitars and keyboards and the like. They will make you XLR cables in whatever lengths you want, for a fraction of what you will pay in a hi-fi store.

    Wayne
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I take it by your post that you're perhaps thinking about components that have XLR connections or just want to find out a bit more about them.

    As far as a connector goes, the XLR is superior to any RCA connector out there. The XLR is more robustly built, it latches, and makes for a very secure connection.
    The XLR input/output is a balanced connection and this makes for reduced noise pickup in interconnects between components. Now if noise is being transmitted by one of your components, say the preamp, then XLR will do nothing to eliminate or minimize that noise. For that matter, neither will an RCA. One needs to pay particular attention though when a manufacturer especially in consumer audio puts an XLR connection on their unit. Some do not employ fully balanced differential circuitry which tends to negate some of the benefits of the XLR.
    Now even those people who use RCA's still have a way of achieving improved immunity to noise pickup. One can purchase isolation transformer devices that sit between the two components. These are available from a few sources such as Jensen Transformers and a product called the EbTech Hum Eliminator. For people who've got a particularly nasty EMI that's making it's way into their cables, these approaches can be very effective.

    You may find the following two links of interest as they delve a bit more into balanced connectors and touch upon things like ground loops.
    http://www.rane.com/note110.html
    http://www.rane.com/note151.html

    As in so many things in life, audio can be about adopting an approach, a design philosophy if you will. For people looking to monoblock their entire setup and keep the amps right next to the speakers, they'll have to run long lengths of interconnects. In situations such as that, it makes sense to give some serious thoughts to XLR. Some people want to take a prophylactic view towards matters and they search products that have inherant benefits when it comes to dealing with picking up extraneous noise.

    If you see yourself running short interconnects, then it's really a 6 of one 1/2 dozen of the other as to which way you go. If you're running or going to be running long lengths, then more serious consideration should be given towards XLR.

    Pricewise, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the cabling can be. Of course, if you buy some of the audiophile labled stuff, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock!
     
  6. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    The jacks themselves are sturdy and latching as mentioned, so if you have the opportunity to use them, pay a couple dollars more for those jacks. That being said, buying fully-balanced cables can provide better noise rejection IF the units that you are connecting both use real balanced circuitry, otherwise this provides no benefit other than more sturdy connections. Some units just have the jacks, but aren't using balanced circuitry, so any noise-rejection advantage is eliminated.
     
  7. Robert_Lamb

    Robert_Lamb Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of the replies. I am thinking about purchasing an Anthem AV-20 and wanted to see if it was worth while trying to exploit the balanced outputs. I have about a 1-2 foot cable run and I don't have a noise issue today.

    I was also trying to figure out if this feature is really a differentiator compared to the Aragon Stage One. It doesn't appear that this is a worthwhile difference in my case.

    I appreciate the transformer idea for isolation. Again, I don't have a noise issue so it probably isn't worthwhile as simplicity is great as long as you can get away with it.

    Most amps don't have XLR connections. I am looking for a 7 channel amp so I can biamp my front mains and single amp the other channels in my 5.1 system (possibly use all 7 channels later when I upgrade to 7.1). I was surprised that the matching amp for the Anthem didn't have XLR connections. You had to purchase an upper end amp and they didn't have a 7 channel amp with these types of connectors.
     

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