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post #1 of 65 Old 02-14-2016, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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2-Channel and Home Theater Integration?

I see that many folks opt to keep their 2-channel and home theater setups separate - and wondering about the various philosophies behind that, while asking for some help and opinions.

I am assembling my first stereo/home theater setup. The majority will be for music, but home theater is in the mix. Alas, I don't initially have the luxury of getting a really nice set of speakers that I can dedicate to just stereo listening, so the speakers will need to be dual purpose stereo and HT. I would imagine this is some of the root of why some keep their systems separate? Just speculating.

Some of my thinking on my setup is to have AV separates. A lot of it will be CD listening so I figured on an arrangement of some sort of transport, a preamp like the Parasound P5 with HT bypass, then into a power amp. I'd like to use balanced connections. No cable runs will be that long, except maybe subwoofer, but I figured to use XLR for all channels anyway, can't hurt, right?

One of the hiccups (?) though, and maybe I'm over-thinking this, is with room correction. My situation is less than optimal as one main (right) speaker will be in a room corner. I know an AVR/Processor will have some sort of EQ, and the pre-amp with HT bypass will allow incorporation of the speakers into the entire system, but UNLESS the music transport goes through the receiver/processor, I'm out of luck on EQ, and concerned about that front right speaker.

Part of the thinking was why use the AV processor if I don't need to? Just an extra device to power up and wear out. -OR- forget about the pre-amp and just go through the processor anyway and get the full benefit of room EQ, etc.

I might just be thinking about this the wrong way, approaching from the wrong angle. I am pretty ignorant, but trying to understand it all - sometimes makes my head spin trying to figure it all out! I've heard and read to not worry about EQ with stereo; compensate with acoustic treatment if/as needed.

Hope I'm making sense and wondering how others have integrated stereo into HT, or why you haven't. maybe some alternatives to consider. Thanks!
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post #2 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
I see that many folks opt to keep their 2-channel and home theater setups separate - and wondering about the various philosophies behind that, while asking for some help and opinions.

I am assembling my first stereo/home theater setup. The majority will be for music, but home theater is in the mix. Alas, I don't initially have the luxury of getting a really nice set of speakers that I can dedicate to just stereo listening, so the speakers will need to be dual purpose stereo and HT. I would imagine this is some of the root of why some keep their systems separate? Just speculating.

Some of my thinking on my setup is to have AV separates. A lot of it will be CD listening so I figured on an arrangement of some sort of transport, a preamp like the Parasound P5 with HT bypass, then into a power amp. I'd like to use balanced connections. No cable runs will be that long, except maybe subwoofer, but I figured to use XLR for all channels anyway, can't hurt, right?

One of the hiccups (?) though, and maybe I'm over-thinking this, is with room correction. My situation is less than optimal as one main (right) speaker will be in a room corner. I know an AVR/Processor will have some sort of EQ, and the pre-amp with HT bypass will allow incorporation of the speakers into the entire system, but UNLESS the music transport goes through the receiver/processor, I'm out of luck on EQ, and concerned about that front right speaker.

Part of the thinking was why use the AV processor if I don't need to? Just an extra device to power up and wear out. -OR- forget about the pre-amp and just go through the processor anyway and get the full benefit of room EQ, etc.

I might just be thinking about this the wrong way, approaching from the wrong angle. I am pretty ignorant, but trying to understand it all - sometimes makes my head spin trying to figure it all out! I've heard and read to not worry about EQ with stereo; compensate with acoustic treatment if/as needed.

Hope I'm making sense and wondering how others have integrated stereo into HT, or why you haven't. maybe some alternatives to consider. Thanks!
I have had a dual system for years. In my case I've always preferred tube preamps for my music. With an amp that has both balanced and rca connections you don't have to box yourself in w/preamps that have HT pass through. When I had my Audio Research SP-16 I used the RCA for the stereo and the balanced for the HT processor. I did it mainly to save on tube life. All I did was flip the switch in the back of the amp. It will give you the flexibility to look at a variety of preamps both tube and solid state.
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post #3 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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One of the amps I'm thinking about does have both balanced and unbalanced inputs but the problem is that all of the components of the system will be enclosed on an AV cabinet (WAF demand) - so two things going against me - heat plus getting to the switches to go between XLR and RCA on the amp would be challenging. I'd guess tube preamps run warm, though probably not as warm as a power amp?

Also really wondering just how important using balanced connections would be. One thing I was considering was, assuming a preamp like the P5, was that I could still use balanced for stereo listening and save some bucks by not buying a processor and getting instead a less expensive receiver with pre-outs and use unbalanced for home theater - the difference between critical and non-critical listening. "Critical" in my case is a term I must use with caution.
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post #4 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
One of the amps I'm thinking about does have both balanced and unbalanced inputs but the problem is that all of the components of the system will be enclosed on an AV cabinet (WAF demand) - so two things going against me - heat plus getting to the switches to go between XLR and RCA on the amp would be challenging. I'd guess tube preamps run warm, though probably not as warm as a power amp?

Also really wondering just how important using balanced connections would be. One thing I was considering was, assuming a preamp like the P5, was that I could still use balanced for stereo listening and save some bucks by not buying a processor and getting instead a less expensive receiver with pre-outs and use unbalanced for home theater - the difference between critical and non-critical listening. "Critical" in my case is a term I must use with caution.
All three of my preamps did not have balanced inputs. These included Prima Luna, Audio Research and my current preamp a Conrad Johnson ET3SE. Balanced cables are not needed for excellent sound. As long as you have adequate ventilation you should have no problem w/tubes. Personally I've always enjoyed the combination of tube gear w/solid state amps. Just something to consider. Take your time demo some gear and maybe take your wife along.
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post #5 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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All three of my preamps did not have balanced inputs. These included Prima Luna, Audio Research and my current preamp a Conrad Johnson ET3SE. Balanced cables are not needed for excellent sound. As long as you have adequate ventilation you should have no problem w/tubes. Personally I've always enjoyed the combination of tube gear w/solid state amps. Just something to consider. Take your time demo some gear and maybe take your wife along.
I am concerned about ventilation, and also concerned that I'm putting too much emphasis on the importance of balanced interconnects.

My problem is that I am fairly limited in what I can demo - so few AV specialists in my area - and my wife HATES going to these places. She is trusting my judgement (and lack of experience ) and I'm limited to visual approvals of pictures from internet websites! She is very much into "hidden" - meaning components go into cabinets and lots of exposed wires could lead to divorce.
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post #6 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post

Also really wondering just how important using balanced connections would be. One thing I was considering was, assuming a preamp like the P5, was that I could still use balanced for stereo listening and save some bucks by not buying a processor and getting instead a less expensive receiver with pre-outs and use unbalanced for home theater - the difference between critical and non-critical listening. "Critical" in my case is a term I must use with caution.
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I am concerned about ventilation, and also concerned that I'm putting too much emphasis on the importance of balanced interconnects.
The entire point and purpose of a balanced interconnection system is immunity to noise from external sources though common-mode rejection. The necessity is dictated by certain specific conditions, the most common of which is a long audio cable run between two different locations that don't share an exactly common ground. Within a cabinet with all equipment plugged into the same power circuit it's unlikely (though possible) that condition would exist. The exception is the introduction of a cable TV box which are notorious for having their ground reference to something outside the house, but that's a problem that can be solved another way.

To make CMR work you have to have a balanced source, twisted pair cable, and balanced input with a high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR). Eliminate one of those elements, and you're automatically back to single-ended (a term I prefer over "unbalanced" because it has less negative connotation). Not all balanced inputs have high CMRR (it's never specified, but needs to be greater than 70dB full band), so some work better than others.

The disadvantage of a balanced interconnect system is the additional circuitry required to pull it off. There are more than twice the active devices in a balanced system. If passive devices are used (transformers), they become high-cost items if equal performance is desired. For example, the balanced line driver/receiver chip set costs under $5 in quantity, a good line transformer (Jensen) is around $100 (you need one at each end of the line).

I recommend going single-ended whenever possible, and I can assure you, in most situations it's very possible. The most common interconnect issue is hum in the subwoofer. Address that separately, it it happens.

Note in the above I said "twisted pair cable" and not "shielded cable". Most people don't realize the point of a shield. It's an electrostatic and electromagnetic shield that works against capacitive coupling and RF. It has not effect on inductive coupling at all, like what you'd get passing an audio cable near a power transformer. CMRR works when the coupled noise is present and identical on both signal wires, ideally from audio up through RF. That's why we can run audio over hundreds of feet of unshielded twisted pair (UTP, Cat5 for example) without noise issues. But most people use shielded balanced cables, which are fine too.

"Ninety percent of everything is crud." - Theodore Sturgeon

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post #7 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 12:18 PM
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There is no logical reason to think that a two channel system can play music better than a multi-channel system running two channels. You can argue equipment if you like but home theater equipment doesn't fail at reproducing music as well as anything else just because its primary purpose is to reproduce sound tracks. Some of us old timers came to home theater after years or decades of two channel high fidelity. I think some just feel comfortable with the two channel system. I have two two channel systems. One in my exercise room and one in my bedroom which also acts as a home theater. The main system, though, is multi-channel. It outperforms the two channel systems because it has better speakers.
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post #8 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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The entire point and purpose of a balanced interconnection system is immunity to noise from external sources though common-mode rejection. The necessity is dictated by certain specific conditions, the most common of which is a long audio cable run between two different locations that don't share an exactly common ground. Within a cabinet with all equipment plugged into the same power circuit it's unlikely (though possible) that condition would exist. The exception is the introduction of a cable TV box which are notorious for having their ground reference to something outside the house, but that's a problem that can be solved another way.
My likely scenario will be everything connected within the same AV cabinet to the same power distribution device into the wall outlet. Where this won't be the case is probably the power amp that will be on its own 20A circuit and the subwoofer(s) that will be plugged into an entirely different circuit(s) and with cable runs of between 10 and 30+ feet, depending on how I have to do things in the end.

And yes, there is a cable TV box involved with the ground being to a water pipe where the cable splitter is, before entering the house.

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To make CMR work you have to have a balanced source, twisted pair cable, and balanced input with a high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR). Eliminate one of those elements, and you're automatically back to single-ended (a term I prefer over "unbalanced" because it has less negative connotation). Not all balanced inputs have high CMRR (it's never specified, but needs to be greater than 70dB full band), so some work better than others.
So one possible route for my CD music - Transport Device (claiming to be truly balanced) --> Preamp with XLR (but unknown if it meets that high CMRR as you mentioned) --> Differential amplifier - all connected by XLR cables. Seems straight-forward enough, but I guess it really isn't!

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I recommend going single-ended whenever possible, and I can assure you, in most situations it's very possible. The most common interconnect issue is hum in the subwoofer. Address that separately, it it happens.
I'd imagine there is a Jensen transformer solution to this....??
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post #9 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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There is no logical reason to think that a two channel system can play music better than a multi-channel system running two channels. You can argue equipment if you like but home theater equipment doesn't fail at reproducing music as well as anything else just because its primary purpose is to reproduce sound tracks. Some of us old timers came to home theater after years or decades of two channel high fidelity. I think some just feel comfortable with the two channel system. I have two two channel systems. One in my exercise room and one in my bedroom which also acts as a home theater. The main system, though, is multi-channel. It outperforms the two channel systems because it has better speakers.
It's not so much the thinking that a 2-channel will produce superior sound vs. the AV processor - my only thinking on this was to 1) take advantage of a fully balanced stereo system (that is already coming into question) and 2) to not have a need to fire up the AV processor/receiver and simply use the preamp.

RE the balanced part as it pertains to stereo - I could get an AVR/Pro that does all this (meaning it's got balanced inputs and outputs - but is it truly balanced?) and skip the preamp. But they are pricey. Like the Marantz 8802 at $4000.00. -OR- a much less expensive receiver/processor in the $2000 range (that isn't part of the stereo listening equation), plus a $1,000 preamp like the Parasound P5 with HT bypass to allow the speaker integration. But my big concern here is a loss of room EQ for stereo listening unless I go through the processor.

And part of why I'm here is to determine if I should just simply not worry about the whole XLR thing, as it may just simply be appealing as I am a newbie! Just go RCA and call it day?
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post #10 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:03 PM
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My likely scenario will be everything connected within the same AV cabinet to the same power distribution device into the wall outlet. Where this won't be the case is probably the power amp that will be on its own 20A circuit and the subwoofer(s) that will be plugged into an entirely different circuit(s) and with cable runs of between 10 and 30+ feet, depending on how I have to do things in the end.
If I may ask, why the distance to the power amp?
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And yes, there is a cable TV box involved with the ground being to a water pipe where the cable splitter is, before entering the house.
If it's really grounded that way, it should not be a problem.

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So one possible route for my CD music - Transport Device (claiming to be truly balanced) --> Preamp with XLR (but unknown if it meets that high CMRR as you mentioned) --> Differential amplifier - all connected by XLR cables. Seems straight-forward enough, but I guess it really isn't!
ok...but since it's all together in the same location, there's no real need to balance. Aren't you connecting the transport to the processor via some digital pipe? HDMI, coax or optical?

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I'd imagine there is a Jensen transformer solution to this....??
Sure, but probably not necessary for just the sub. Lots of solutions are available.

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post #11 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:06 PM
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Well, depending upon your available budget there's a great option for a crisp and clean setup: Anthem AVM60 pre-pro and 2 Anthem amps. Get the multi-channel power amp for all but the main L-R speakers and a separate 2-channel amp for those. It would toggle easily between everything up to 11.2 surround or 7.2.4 Atmos and 2.1 stereo, has XLR balanced outputs and with trigger control for on/off the bigger amp wouldn't even turn on for 2.1 if setup right. It (the AVM60) is really good for 2.1 stereo even to the discerning ear.

System includes KEF R500 floor standing, R200C center, R100 surrounds, SVS SB2000 subwoofer, NAD T758 receiver, Pro-Ject RPM1 turntable w/ Sumiko Pearl cartridge, Bluesound Vault, Sony BDP-S480 BlueRay player, Samsung UN55JU6500F 4K LED TV, KEF M500 headphones, Sony CDP-CE500 CD changer, MCS System cassette deck. The last 2 items are dust collectors but will work if asked.
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post #12 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:16 PM
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It's not so much the thinking that a 2-channel will produce superior sound vs. the AV processor - my only thinking on this was to 1) take advantage of a fully balanced stereo system (that is already coming into question) and 2) to not have a need to fire up the AV processor/receiver and simply use the preamp.

RE the balanced part as it pertains to stereo - I could get an AVR/Pro that does all this (meaning it's got balanced inputs and outputs - but is it truly balanced?) and skip the preamp. But they are pricey. Like the Marantz 8802 at $4000.00. -OR- a much less expensive receiver/processor in the $2000 range (that isn't part of the stereo listening equation), plus a $1,000 preamp like the Parasound P5 with HT bypass to allow the speaker integration. But my big concern here is a loss of room EQ for stereo listening unless I go through the processor.

And part of why I'm here is to determine if I should just simply not worry about the whole XLR thing, as it may just simply be appealing as I am a newbie! Just go RCA and call it day?
If there's no noise issue, there's no audible improvement using balanced interconnects. Whereas, room EQ is almost always clearly audible.

Don't know if it means much, so this is just an anecdote. I've spent a career with pro audio, and balanced connections. I've designed balanced/differential circuits and manufactured them. I've never found a balanced topology that passed audio better than the single-ended solution, given the absences of a noise issue. To construct a transformerless high CMRR input, there are only a couple of options. One is the monolithic solution, great CMRR, decent cost, etc., but some people don't like ICs. There's the op-amp solutions, fair CMRR unless you hand-tweak, medium cost, and the option of hand-picking components. But no advantages in CMRR over monolithic. All discrete...very expensive, must hand-pick everything, and generally accept a bit less CMRR. No cost or performance advantages, only the impression that "discrete is better", which is unproven (actually, not provable in most cases). Hybrid solutions, where there is a gain block plus outboard components...costly, somewhat better audio performance, no CMRR advantages. Fully Balanced topology: yikes, expensive! Especially if done right. Transformer in/out: several performance advantages because it's not only balanced, but actually fully floating. The main problem is cost, good transformers are not cheap.

In the end, I've tried them all, and generally settle on single-ended designs if at all possible. You get the highest possible audio performance at the lowest cost. If you need noise immunity, the monolithic products are the best performance/cost trade off. I'd never pay $4K for a balanced device, though, just because it's balanced.

And, if there's a ground loop problem, solve that rather than band-aid it with a balanced interconnect.

"Ninety percent of everything is crud." - Theodore Sturgeon
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post #13 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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If I may ask, why the distance to the power amp?

If it's really grounded that way, it should not be a problem.


ok...but since it's all together in the same location, there's no real need to balance. Aren't you connecting the transport to the processor via some digital pipe? HDMI, coax or optical?

Sure, but probably not necessary for just the sub. Lots of solutions are available.
Sorry for the unclear language!

So that should be - the power amp will be on it's own 20Amp circuit but within the same AV cabinet and all of the interconnects between amp and receiver and/or preamp would be no more than 2-3 feet. Where the distance comes into play is with the subwoofer from the receiver/preamp - due to room restraints and space limitations - any subwoofer will need to be placed on one of two (or both) perpendicular walls relative to the way where the rest of the AV gear and L/R/C speakers will reside. Depending on how this was done, I may end up going into walls, up them, and over the ceiling, and back down for upwards of 30+ feet of run worst case scenario. PLUS they would be plugged into totally different outlets FWIW.

As somewhat of a side track - I've heard both ways - that amps should be pugged into their own separate outlets, but that doing so introduces the possibility of groudloop hum because of being son a ground with possibly different potential than the ground where the other components reside. Do I have that right?

Yes - the cable box, at least visually, really is grounded that way. So maybe not a problem....

I could connect the transport to either a processor or preamp by digital - I know optical at least is not affected by potential hum issues. But then this defeats the point of analog sound, right? Or not?
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post #14 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
It's not so much the thinking that a 2-channel will produce superior sound vs. the AV processor - my only thinking on this was to 1) take advantage of a fully balanced stereo system (that is already coming into question) and 2) to not have a need to fire up the AV processor/receiver and simply use the preamp.

RE the balanced part as it pertains to stereo - I could get an AVR/Pro that does all this (meaning it's got balanced inputs and outputs - but is it truly balanced?) and skip the preamp. But they are pricey. Like the Marantz 8802 at $4000.00. -OR- a much less expensive receiver/processor in the $2000 range (that isn't part of the stereo listening equation), plus a $1,000 preamp like the Parasound P5 with HT bypass to allow the speaker integration. But my big concern here is a loss of room EQ for stereo listening unless I go through the processor.

And part of why I'm here is to determine if I should just simply not worry about the whole XLR thing, as it may just simply be appealing as I am a newbie! Just go RCA and call it day?
Balanced transmission lines are important over long cable runs (say 200 feet or more.) They have no meaningful impact in home audio. This is perhaps one of the last things you should consider in choosing equipment. But I'm not going to go to war with the marketers.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
Well, depending upon your available budget there's a great option for a crisp and clean setup: Anthem AVM60 pre-pro and 2 Anthem amps. Get the multi-channel power amp for all but the main L-R speakers and a separate 2-channel amp for those. It would toggle easily between everything up to 11.2 surround or 7.2.4 Atmos and 2.1 stereo, has XLR balanced outputs and with trigger control for on/off the bigger amp wouldn't even turn on for 2.1 if setup right. It (the AVM60) is really good for 2.1 stereo even to the discerning ear.
Thanks Ken. The AVM60 is actually one of the pre/pros I'm considering. I've heard very good things about ARC, and it has almost all of the features I'd like. The only thing it lacks is balanced inputs (that I may really not need), and no composite inputs. Yes, I still have a LD player I'd like to use. But, that's not going to make or break the deal in a selection. Also considering the Marantz 7702mkII. The one that DOES have all the features I want is the Integra 60.7, but I'm concerned with reliability issues.

My current thinking on power amps is due to limited space, and having to use an enclosed cabinet, plus budget, so thinking about a Class D amp like D-Sonic.
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post #16 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:31 PM
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I am also crazy about exposed wires and even more anal about ventilation within an enclosed cabinet. This is the setup I went with for our ongoing build. They are awesome!

http://www.acinfinity.com/quiet-cabinet-fans/
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post #17 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Balanced transmission lines are important over long cable runs (say 200 feet or more.) They have no meaningful impact in home audio. This is perhaps one of the last things you should consider in choosing equipment. But I'm not going to go to war with the marketers.
I hear that! And that is where I must overcome the forces of personal ignorance vs. marketing - am I making a problem for myself just to have something "cool" that will fix the problem? Maybe! And that is why I am seeking the experience of others here - to identify possible flaws in my thinking and planning.

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Originally Posted by jaddie View Post
If there's no noise issue, there's no audible improvement using balanced interconnects. Whereas, room EQ is almost always clearly audible.

Don't know if it means much, so this is just an anecdote. I've spent a career with pro audio, and balanced connections. I've designed balanced/differential circuits and manufactured them. I've never found a balanced topology that passed audio better than the single-ended solution, given the absences of a noise issue. To construct a transformerless high CMRR input, there are only a couple of options. One is the monolithic solution, great CMRR, decent cost, etc., but some people don't like ICs. There's the op-amp solutions, fair CMRR unless you hand-tweak, medium cost, and the option of hand-picking components. But no advantages in CMRR over monolithic. All discrete...very expensive, must hand-pick everything, and generally accept a bit less CMRR. No cost or performance advantages, only the impression that "discrete is better", which is unproven (actually, not provable in most cases). Hybrid solutions, where there is a gain block plus outboard components...costly, somewhat better audio performance, no CMRR advantages. Fully Balanced topology: yikes, expensive! Especially if done right. Transformer in/out: several performance advantages because it's not only balanced, but actually fully floating. The main problem is cost, good transformers are not cheap.

In the end, I've tried them all, and generally settle on single-ended designs if at all possible. You get the highest possible audio performance at the lowest cost. If you need noise immunity, the monolithic products are the best performance/cost trade off. I'd never pay $4K for a balanced device, though, just because it's balanced.

And, if there's a ground loop problem, solve that rather than band-aid it with a balanced interconnect.
Thank you for all of this! It really does help. There is no substitute for informed decision making, and I am getting an education! I'd much rather rely on the good knowledge and assistance of the members of this board than a salesman that probably does not know as much and that possibly has the motives in the sales process! Id' like to think otherwise, but....
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post #18 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by IntricateAshton View Post
I am also crazy about exposed wires and even more anal about ventilation within an enclosed cabinet. This is the setup I went with for our ongoing build. They are awesome!

http://www.acinfinity.com/quiet-cabinet-fans/
Yes! I've got that link for study, thank you!
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post #19 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 01:53 PM
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Obviously I'm not worried enough about esoteric connection solutions based on this thread.

Here's a link that unmuddies this for us mere mortals:

http://www.chord.co.uk/help-and-information/xlr-vs-rca/
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post #20 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Obviously I'm not worried enough about esoteric connection solutions based on this thread.

Here's a link that unmuddies this for us mere mortals:

http://www.chord.co.uk/help-and-information/xlr-vs-rca/
The last place you want to get equipment advice is from an equipment manufacturer.
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
The last place you want to get equipment advice is from an equipment manufacturer.
A manufacturer that makes XLR and RCA?

I'd think they'd push the more expensive XLR stuff rather than say "it depends" on your application.
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post #22 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post

Here's a link that unmuddies this for us mere mortals:

http://www.chord.co.uk/help-and-information/xlr-vs-rca/
From that website:

"So with any system that has both XLR and RCA connections, we would recommend that you try both connections and decide for yourself which is the better sounding connection for you. This is also something that your dealer will be happy to advise you on."

Seems like a no-brainer! I suppose it could not hurt to invest in a few cables and just see what happens. I've never had a cable conversation with my dealer, but I have noted they certainly use XLR cables in many of their demo applications on equipment that from what I'm garnering is not truly differential in design.
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
Yes! I've got that link for study, thank you!
A couple of quiet computer fans eg Scythe and a simple 12V power supply that triggers from your 12V trigger will undoubtedly be cheaper. If any of the gear in the cabinet has fans for cooling, then you'll need to determine where to place the extraction fans to allow for correct airflow. Middle Atlantic have a comprehensive cooling guide (Thermal Management Guide) for equipment in racks which translates quite well to most other cabinets as the principles are the same. As you're trying to extract heat from the gear, think about how you're going to direct the airflow in, past the gear, and out as effectively as possible. A little thought equity can bring significant gains and maybe save money.

I'll just add a +1 to jaddies posts especially around balanced connections in a domestic system: they're not necessary and add no benefit. I don't even bother using balanced to the myriad pro amps I run in my system. I will disagree on hybrids. My standard line level gain block is an opamp with a buffer, that with sufficient bias and heatsinking, can drive just about anything, including all my headphones with all noise and distortion in the -120dBV region and adds only a couple of $ to the cost of the opamp. For amusement's sake, next I'm going to do the same balanced with an OPA1632.

That Chord page is drivel.
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post #24 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
There is no logical reason to think that a two channel system can play music better than a multi-channel system running two channels. You can argue equipment if you like but home theater equipment doesn't fail at reproducing music as well as anything else just because its primary purpose is to reproduce sound tracks. Some of us old timers came to home theater after years or decades of two channel high fidelity. I think some just feel comfortable with the two channel system. I have two two channel systems. One in my exercise room and one in my bedroom which also acts as a home theater. The main system, though, is multi-channel. It outperforms the two channel systems because it has better speakers.
In most threads you will find this one and only simple and correct answer to the problem, which easily gets ignored by everyone else, because it does not fit in with current popular ideas of how things are.

Part from no potential improvement in sound quality, it will be impossible to integrate and calibrate the subwoofer/bass-system properly if you do not have processing to do crossover and delay adjustments.

I am Øyvind Kvålsvoll, owner and founder of Kvålsvoll Design.
If you have never heard about me or my products or my sound, you are most likely new to audio, or simply ignorant and uninformed.
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
A couple of quiet computer fans eg Scythe and a simple 12V power supply that triggers from your 12V trigger will undoubtedly be cheaper. If any of the gear in the cabinet has fans for cooling, then you'll need to determine where to place the extraction fans to allow for correct airflow. Middle Atlantic have a comprehensive cooling guide (Thermal Management Guide) for equipment in racks which translates quite well to most other cabinets as the principles are the same. As you're trying to extract heat from the gear, think about how you're going to direct the airflow in, past the gear, and out as effectively as possible. A little thought equity can bring significant gains and maybe save money.
They've got a lot of good guides there at Middle Atlantic! Thanks for pointing them out!

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Originally Posted by Okv View Post
Part from no potential improvement in sound quality, it will be impossible to integrate and calibrate the subwoofer/bass-system properly if you do not have processing to do crossover and delay adjustments.
And that was one of my concerned attempting to do this without a processor and just relying on a preamp.

I think I'm getting my answers and direction. SLOWLY, things are starting to make sense....
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post #26 of 65 Old 02-15-2016, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
. I will disagree on hybrids. My standard line level gain block is an opamp with a buffer, that with sufficient bias and heatsinking, can drive just about anything, including all my headphones with all noise and distortion in the -120dBV region and adds only a couple of $ to the cost of the opamp. For amusement's sake, next I'm going to do the same balanced with an OPA1632.
I was referring to the fact that you can't do any better with a hybrid design as far as CMRR goes, and probably worse than the monolithics because it's so hard to get resistor match tight enough to do a good IN-amp. Yes, output drive capability, no contest on that. Back in the day I did a lot with the 990. They'd drive anything, and were very stable. Still got a few around here. Great for mic preamps too.
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That Chord page is drivel.
Yeah, lots wrong there for sure.

"Ninety percent of everything is crud." - Theodore Sturgeon
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post #27 of 65 Old 02-16-2016, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
From that website:

"So with any system that has both XLR and RCA connections, we would recommend that you try both connections and decide for yourself which is the better sounding connection for you. This is also something that your dealer will be happy to advise you on."

Seems like a no-brainer! I suppose it could not hurt to invest in a few cables and just see what happens. I've never had a cable conversation with my dealer, but I have noted they certainly use XLR cables in many of their demo applications on equipment that from what I'm garnering is not truly differential in design.
As long as you understand that a sighted comparison (one with bias) will not provide meaningful results and the manufacturer knows that. He knows you will prefer the sound of the balanced cable because you prefer the concept. Bias controlled testing has shown that, generally speaking, wires have nothing at all to do with sound quality. The last place to get audio advice is from an audio manufacturer.
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post #28 of 65 Old 02-16-2016, 05:40 AM
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Another issue with the Chord site:

Quote:
Originally Posted by chord
There is an important point here though. XLR connections often carry a higher voltage signal then RCA connections, up to 4 volts against typically the 2 volts on an RCA connection. So if for instance you were connecting a CD player with XLR connection to an amplifier with RCA connection, you may well find that the extra signal strength will overdrive the RCA input on the amplifier. The problem being that this will give you very little control over the volume and can lead to harsh and fatiguing sound.
The difference between 2V and 4V is 6dB, not really a lot. But there are several ways to connect a balanced output to a single-ended input, depending on the type of balanced output. The usual type is a differential output, both signal lines are driven from amplifier outputs. When connecting that to an unbalanced input you use only one signal line (+) and ground, leaving the - line unconnected. That also reduces the balanced output level by 6dB, thus eliminating the level difference Chord cites. The other method is to connect the - output to ground, and then us + and ground for the single-ended input. That works only for transformer outputs (in fact it's necessary) and "special", compensating differential outputs, and results in the full balanced voltage being delivered to the single-ended input. So there is no universal XLR > RCA cable, you have to know what kind of output you're dealing with.

However, this assumes "consumer" signal levels at both RCA and XLR outputs. Many balanced systems are designed to work at "pro" audio levels which are 14dB higher than consumer, creating another issue of level incompatibility that's much more serious.

So, I have to agree with FMW:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
The last place to get audio advice is from an audio manufacturer.
Correct.

"Ninety percent of everything is crud." - Theodore Sturgeon
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post #29 of 65 Old 02-16-2016, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Okv View Post
In most threads you will find this one and only simple and correct answer to the problem, which easily gets ignored by everyone else, because it does not fit in with current popular ideas of how things are.

Part from no potential improvement in sound quality, it will be impossible to integrate and calibrate the subwoofer/bass-system properly if you do not have processing to do crossover and delay adjustments.
I disagree. I've been quite successful for years integrating and calibrating my subwoofers manually. Room calibration software is convenient but it doesn't always produce the best results nor is it necessary to produce the best results.
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post #30 of 65 Old 02-16-2016, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post



That Chord page is drivel.
And yet you agree with their implication that using balanced cables for short consumer runs might not provide any sonic benefit.

The last thing someone new to audio should fret about is esoteric cables IMHO.
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