XLR vs RCA Which is better and Why ?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chip E, Sep 26, 2002.

  1. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Since i've ordered a Ref50 - Ref200.5 combo and the Ref50 has balanced in's & out's, i would like to know which termination is preferred by most people in the know. I'd like to know what the difference is between the two terminations, how small or big those differences could be and lastly, since the Ref50 has the option, which should i get ? Thanks.
     
  2. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Chip,
    XLR Connectors and cables are common in the broadcast/pro industry to reduce electrical interference because of longer cable runs. The connectors/pins are very sturdy too. If the gear has em on ins and outs, I'd say go for it.
    If gear has only XLR on one end and RCA on the other, it doesnt work and RCA to RCA is the path. Here's what XLR looks like (scroll down)
    Glossary of Connectors
     
  3. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    If both units are going to have XLR's & RCA's, go with the XLR. 'IF' there's any noise, there'll be a reduction in picking it up.
    The XLR is a better connector than an RCA. It latches, and in general it's capable of taking more abuse. Morever, the input/output is balanced which makes for reduced noise pickup in interconnects between components.
    The XLR connector has 3 pins and this allows them to be used with balanced circuity. The balanced circuits themselves may, or may not have transformers which can be effective in cancelling or severely reducing EMI and noise.
    We'd all be better off if the RCA wasn't so prevalent but from a manufacturing point, it's damned cheap.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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  5. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Chip, I would concur that a good quality XLR cable will generally preform better for the reasons noted above. I also prefer to go the extra step of overkill when I make cables and use a shielded design so that the chance of picking up noise is minimized to the greatest degree. The longer the run, the more reason to use XLR. I also don't what impact it has only the sound (I'll let the theorists debate that), but the std. output levels in balanced connections is more than in unbalanced. I've used the same cable for balanced and unbalanced designs on the same equipment and done comparisons and the balanced on what I tried sounded more open and dynamic for whatever reason.
     
  6. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    I just spoke to Jerry in tech support from B&K. Anyone that has delt with B&K over the phone generally knows Jerry. He's like the maytag man, lol, been there forever. No cheese here. They used a fully balanced design utilizing a "differntial circuit". Top shelf. He went on to tell me that on short runs you won't hear a difference between XLR's & RCA's. There was enough people that wanted balanced outputs and they could put them on the Pre for a reasonable amount of money so, they did it. Having heard this and with help from you guy's, i'm going to buy cables with XLR terminations. Thanks!
     
  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    I think that's a great way to go Chip. Now you know what's funny? You take a good connector like the XLR and price it. Then let's say you're looking at some highly regarded RCA like the WBT's. It just goes to show you that price isn't everything. Someone once told me that the RCA connector is a turd, and if you gold plate it and add locking features, you'll have a gold plated locking turd.
    You'll find Markertek (sp?) to have good quality XLR connections. And if you haven't taken the time to read those two links, all I can say is they're chock-full of good information. None of dat white-paper sh*t.
     
  8. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chip, so what happened to the Denon AVR-5803? I thought you didn't like B&K after the problems you had with the AVR 307. [​IMG]
     
  10. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    Slightly off topic, but...
    What kills me about RCA’s is that the industry just keeps using them o v e r and o v e r again. [​IMG] The component video standard – three RCA cables carrying individual signals – is about the dumbest thing I have ever seen. There are any number of multi-pin connector standards that could have been used off-the-shelf. Or invent a new one. Geez.
    Okay, I feel better now.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  11. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    I was aggrevated, yes. I miss the sweet smooth sound though.. The Ref50 will have all the goods the Denon has that i want anyway. Seperates pal, seperates ! [​IMG]
     
  12. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    You might want to ask B&K to better define what they're calling balanced. I'm reading what you wrote as B&K's response and I'm interpreting that as they're saying that that the signal is balanced. Out of curiousity do you know if the interface itself is balanced? If so, I believe that means that impedence of both both lines is the same with respect to the ground. See if you can get them to elaborate a bit.
     
  13. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Chu,

    From what i was told over the phone, the design is of a fully balanced nature utilizing differential circuitry. I'm not exactly adept in this area but i was assurred by Jerry (@B&K) that this is a true balanced design through & through.
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    well next time you talk to Jerry, ask him if the interface itself is balanced. what that means is that each of the signals, with respect to ground, has the same impedence. This way whatever the noise voltage is in one line is exactly the same as in the other line. Hence once it gets into the differential amplifier, these common-mode noise voltages are rejected. Otherwise, what will happen is that the two noise voltages will be be different and then this difference will also be amplified as well as the signal.
     

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