View Full Version : Balanced XLR or RCA Unbalanced?
02-25-2007, 10:14 PM
I currently run RCA unbalanced and I am a believer in K.I.S.S.
Can anyone explain the added plus [end result, sound wise] that I would hear from a balanced system?
More wires = more of a fractioned system to me.
Can anybody convince me otherwise?
02-25-2007, 10:22 PM
Though I cannot speak from personal experience, it is my understanding that the benefit of XLR interconnects is minimal. In many cases I've read, listeners were not able to detect an audible difference.
The difference, however, is said to be more apparent over long distances. If you have runs of cable over the typical length in stereo of home theater applications, you may notice minor improvements. This would be most applicable in more commercial uses, such as sound production and stage equipment.
02-25-2007, 10:56 PM
A balanced circuit has an actual ground wire, most rca the ground shares with the negative wire so noise gets introduced. The end result of running balanced is a lower noise floor, the gear I run balanced has no noise, when you put your ear to the speaker it is dead silent.
Being able to have long runs is a bonus you get.
02-25-2007, 11:14 PM
The end result of running balanced is a lower noise floor, the gear I run balanced has no noise, when you put your ear to the speaker it is dead silent.
No noise at all when there is supposed to be none is a godsend to me. That is an understatement.
What might it do to normal listening levels all the way up to performance levels? [end result...sound wise?]
02-25-2007, 11:29 PM
Well, I ran unbalanced for years and had very enjoyable systems. So I am certainly not saying only running balanced is the way to go.
First you need gear that works well with each other.
My experience with a fully balanced circuit is the background is blacker on good recordings, when listening to low level detail at low gain you can hear the tones, although if there is tape hiss, you are still going to hear that, its on the disc. As you increase gain the noise from an RCA connect gets covered up and well, you can't hear it so who cares, some audio nuts I suppose. Gear really can't improve an audio signal, it can only leave it alone or degrade it, I believe running a balanced circuit when you can is a step in the right direction. The noise is there but the balanced lines cancel it out.
02-26-2007, 06:06 PM
I just looked into this last night because I had the same question.
Basically, balanced connections flip the polarity on the signal, send it down two wires, then SUBTRACT the result at the other end which gives the same original signal MINUS the noise that effected it along the way. Pretty clever.
RCA is just a wire with a shield.
Ive heard no sonic difference between XLR and RCA..
I will say that I do enjoy the locking feature on XLR vs. RCA...
02-26-2007, 07:50 PM
In the pro audio world, I think XLR produces less noise than RCA. I might be wrong, though.
07-09-2007, 07:08 PM
Thanks all for your input. Can one modify a RCA type connection and make it into a XLR connection on a typical amplifier? Not the connector itself, I'm just saying that if you leave the existing connection there, drill a new hole somewhere on the backplate of both components and add the ground connection through a separate connection. Can it be done without extensive circuitry modifications to the pre/amp/sub?
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