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  1. #1

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    Default XLR Balanced, Digital, or analog. Which sounds better?

    Hello All, I purchased a Marantz CD player and a Marantz CD Recorder. They both have XLR Balanced, Digital And analog outlets on the back. The units sound good on analog, but i was wondering, is it worth purchasing XLR patch cables for balanced hookup? Is the sound quality better?
    Thanks for your time!

  2. #2

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    It depends on the individual units and if they're fully balanced or not. Which preamp and amp are you using?

    As for using digital cables, you would need an external DAC to improve on what you're hearing. But if you're currently enjoying the sound, there may be no need for one.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  3. #3

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    Ditto what face said. I use the balanced outputs of my Marantz SACD player, but my preamp and amp are true differential from input to output, so I run my system all balanced.
    Main system: Denon DP-59L | Audio-Technica AT33EV | Marantz Reference Series SA-11S2 | Classé CP-50, modified | Classé CA-300, modified | Classé DR-10, modified | Classé RC-1 | PSB Stratus Gold i's | DIY Balanced AC Power Conditioner with surge/spike suppression | Acoustic Zen and NeoTech cables | Oyaide and Furutech AC power connectors and receptacles | Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme fuses | Dedicated 20A IG AC line

  4. #4

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    I'm running a Marantz SR8500 and a Sunfire 400x7.
    I know the Marantz doesn't have the balanced inputs, but i'm looking to upgrade if the audio quality is better. The CD players are CDR 630 And CDR 631 and sound very good playing cd's in analog.

  5. #5

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    That a nice receiver you have. I'm running an older Marantz SR-19 in my HT system. Its a big heavy unit, with completely separate preamp outs/amp ins for all channels. I am hardpressed to hear a significant difference between it and separates.

    On to the topic, balanced operation came about primarily as a means of eliminating noise pickup in long audio cable runs, and in that application its merits are without argument. When it comes to short runs however, for many people, audible differences between running balanced versus unbalanced connections is a highly subjective matter. Some would argue there is no benefit to using balanced connections for short cable runs.

    This is further complicated by the fact that not all equipment with XLR connections is truly balanced. Some equipment is single ended internally, and manufacturers tack on electronic balanced-to-unbalanced converters on the input and output. This is fine if you have very long cable runs, as you will benefit from the noise-cancelling of the balanced runs, regardless of how it is accomplished. When you use short cable runs with equipment that is not internally balanced, all you’re doing is inserting an extra stage (the balanced/unbalanced converter) in the signal path, with its accompanying distortion, noise, and particular sonic attributes.

    Amp designers Victor Khomenko of Balanced Audio Technology (BAT), and Ralph Karsten of Atma-Sphere Music Systems are both advocates of internally balanced design. Ralph has opined in the past that balanced operation is beneficial in eliminating interconnecting cable artifacts, regardless of cable length, and that internally balanced equipment has inherently lower distortion and noise for a given amount of gain.

    All I can suggest is that you audition both equipment that is internally balanced and single ended, and see for yourself if you can hear a difference. There are very fine examples of amps of both types.
    Main system: Denon DP-59L | Audio-Technica AT33EV | Marantz Reference Series SA-11S2 | Classé CP-50, modified | Classé CA-300, modified | Classé DR-10, modified | Classé RC-1 | PSB Stratus Gold i's | DIY Balanced AC Power Conditioner with surge/spike suppression | Acoustic Zen and NeoTech cables | Oyaide and Furutech AC power connectors and receptacles | Hi-Fi Tuning Supreme fuses | Dedicated 20A IG AC line

  6. #6

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    Default Thanks to all for the advice

    My cable runs are only 2 feet from the cd units to the receiver.
    I guess i'll stick with analog.
    Thanks to all for the info!

  7. #7

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    Great question Pastorfuzz. I just picked up XLR cables myself. After reading Glen b reply I guess I should look into my equip now.

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