balanced or unbalanced cable for stuio monitor? - AVS Forum

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enuff4life's Avatar enuff4life
11:50 AM Liked: 10
post #1 of 12
07-08-2014 | Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2007
my current setup is

Computer source -> Presonus audiobox -> JBL lsr2310 Sub -> JBL lsr305 monitors

Do I must have balanced cable for this setup? Would I hear difference between balanced and unbalanced cables? the wires are running short ~3ft for home studio
Bill Fitzmaurice's Avatar Bill Fitzmaurice
11:58 AM Liked: 1684
post #2 of 12
07-08-2014 | Posts: 10,214
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Even in short lengths you should use balanced connections when you have the option, as they increase headroom by 6dB, and eliminate the possibility of ground loop noise. In a perfect world there would be no such thing as unbalanced.
http://www.rane.com/note110.html
enuff4life's Avatar enuff4life
07:42 PM Liked: 10
post #3 of 12
07-08-2014 | Posts: 15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Even in short lengths you should use balanced connections when you have the option, as they increase headroom by 6dB, and eliminate the possibility of ground loop noise. In a perfect world there would be no such thing as unbalanced.
http://www.rane.com/note110.html
Would 1/4 balanced with two strip to xlr cable be work out ok?
Bill Fitzmaurice's Avatar Bill Fitzmaurice
07:50 PM Liked: 1684
post #4 of 12
07-08-2014 | Posts: 10,214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enuff4life View Post
Would 1/4 balanced with two strip to xlr cable be work out ok?
Balanced is balanced. The only difference between TRS 1/4" and XLR is the connector.
DonH50's Avatar DonH50
06:49 AM Liked: 295
post #5 of 12
07-09-2014 | Posts: 6,350
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Note while the benefits Bill stated of balanced are generally true, they do not necessarily increase headroom by 6 dB (depends on the circuit design), and do not always break ground loops (though most designs give you the option of doing so). Most designs will improve SNR by 3 - 6 dB compared to their single-ended inputs, and do allow you to lift the ground at one end to break a loop.

That said, I agree with Bill there is really no drawback to using balanced if you have the means, and 1/4" TRS and XLR are the same electrically (XLR has more positive capture mechanically but the signal pins aren't much better than using TRS at line levels).

I do not know what you mean by "two strip". A balanced cable with two conductors surrounded by a shield in one is better than two independent coax cables.
epepin's Avatar epepin
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post #6 of 12
07-09-2014 | Posts: 37
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For subs, does balanced v unbalanced make more or less of a difference? Would you suggest only considering options with balanced input? Or is the LFE channel something else entirely?
DonH50's Avatar DonH50
08:53 AM Liked: 295
post #7 of 12
07-09-2014 | Posts: 6,350
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I would say the same except that in practice subs tend to be connected by longer runs, and often plugged into a different outlet, so balanced may benefit more in those situations. However, many people run subs with single-ended cables without problem. I would not use the word "only". I would use balanced if available but would not base my decision solely, or even primarily, on that feature.

Handwaving explanation: The low frequency effects (LFE) channel is specific to movies that use the ".1" channel and it is sent to the subwoofer by default. Most AVRs incorporate bass management that can route the LFE content to the L/R speakers if they are set to "large" (rarely recommended as most speakers of any size benefit from having the sub handle the LF signals). Bass management will also usually send LF content below the crossover setting from all other sources (CDs, streaming music, record players, etc.) to the sub. Note the LFE crossover setting and main crossover setting may be different in your AVR; some combine the two into one global setting, some do not.

YMMV - Don
Bill Fitzmaurice's Avatar Bill Fitzmaurice
12:39 PM Liked: 1684
post #8 of 12
07-09-2014 | Posts: 10,214
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epepin View Post
For subs, does balanced v unbalanced make more or less of a difference? Would you suggest only considering options with balanced input? Or is the LFE channel something else entirely?
Because of the distances involved between a typical AVR and the sub amps this is where balanced would be of most benefit, to eliminate the possibility of a ground loop. But balanced AVR sends and sub inputs are exceedingly rare. Not the least bit coincidental is that ground loop noise is the number one issue facing AVR/sub owners. The subwoofer forum abounds with threads asking how to fix it.
epepin's Avatar epepin
10:25 PM Liked: 11
post #9 of 12
07-20-2014 | Posts: 37
Joined: Jun 2014
Sorry to revive and oldish thread. I know a simple XLR-RCA adapter would permit a balanced signal to travel from an XLR output to an RCA input on a sub, but is there some sort of powered adapter or some such thing that would complete the balanced transmission over the long distance and offer an RCA for a short line to the sub? Would this even help with ground loop noise? Thanks.
Marc Wielage's Avatar Marc Wielage
10:51 PM Liked: 125
post #10 of 12
07-20-2014 | Posts: 458
Joined: Jul 2000
I'd vote for balanced as well if you have the choice.

If you're converting from unbalanced, then going to a balanced line and converting back to unbalanced, you're going to lose most of the advantages in going all balanced.
LeightonBeck's Avatar LeightonBeck
04:56 AM Liked: 19
post #11 of 12
07-21-2014 | Posts: 44
Joined: Jan 2014
Quote:
is there some sort of powered adapter or some such thing that would complete the balanced transmission
I use one of these : http://artproaudio.com/artcessories/.../cleanbox_pro/

and one of these: http://artproaudio.com/artcessories/...s/product/dti/

although in your case one of these would be good too.: http://artproaudio.com/artcessories/...uct/av_direct/

These are handy little problem solvers that don't cost much. You can get cheaper no brand or Berhinger models. Radial make the best with transformers similar to those found in MC phono preamps.

I converted my entire systems over to balanced cabling over a period of 4-5 years using these boxes as temporary solutions while slowly upgrading various components to have balanced I/O .
DonH50's Avatar DonH50
06:27 AM Liked: 295
post #12 of 12
07-21-2014 | Posts: 6,350
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You could also use a passive transformer. Plenty of them around from <$50 (Radio Shack) to >$1200 (Jensen and a few others).

As a class many of these devices are called direct, direct interface, or DI boxes.

HTH - Don

edit: Just caught that one of the Art devices in LeightonBeck's post above is a transformer DI box, too.
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