Balanced vs Unbalanced - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok so I am confused. I have been told that the balanced lines excel when the distance between the amp/preamp is considerable. But I have also been told that for short hookups, say 2-3 feet, that unbalanced lines are just fine. I have noticed that some higher end pre/pro amps do not have balanced out jacks, such as some of the NAD lines.


Comments/recommendations appreciated.

Tim in Houston
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post #2 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 03:06 PM
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Almost all pre-amps and amps that offer balanced connections are "fake". They take a single-ended line level source and split it to XLR right at the connection terminal. As such, there is little benefit to using XLR connections with these "fake" balanced components, except in the rare occasion where you need to run 50Ft+.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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So if the source had balanced out, would it be better? Although I dont recaal any processor/preamps having balanced inputs to them . And what about optical sources to the pre/pro? Would that make balanced outputs better?

Tim in Houston
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post #4 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 05:42 PM
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Most sources with balanced outputs are fake, as well. Denon has a processor with true balanced inputs.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 05:51 PM
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Is it really correct to call a balanced connection fake as long as it's balanced? It does what it's advertised to do...reject common noise, right?

Seems more correct to note that you can't assume the internals are balanced just because the connections are.

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post #6 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Almost all pre-amps and amps that offer balanced connections are "fake". They take a single-ended line level source and split it to XLR right at the connection terminal. As such, there is little benefit to using XLR connections with these "fake" balanced components, except in the rare occasion where you need to run 50Ft+.

Your statement is very much in error...

As a concrete example I have a Denon 4308Ci. It is single ended (RCA) on the sub out. If I go to my Crown's RCA in I have ground induced noise. If I convert over to XLR and then to go to XLR on the Crown: Dead quiet. It's a problem that is solved with a balanced CONNECTION. The amp and source don't to be full blown fully differential designs.

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #7 of 19 Old 08-11-2012, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Your statement is very much in error...
As a concrete example I have a Denon 4308Ci. It is single ended (RCA) on the sub out. If I go to my Crown's RCA in I have ground induced noise. If I convert over to XLR and then to go to XLR on the Crown: Dead quiet. It's a problem that is solved with a balanced CONNECTION. The amp and source don't to be full blown fully differential designs.

My statement was not in error. You have a ground loop hum. The OP does not. Hence the benefit of him using such connections is suspect in benefit.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 12:14 AM
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Well, not to pick a fight, but I think it's a distortion of reality to call the balanced inputs and outputs fake, as long as they implement the circuitry needed for common noise rejections.

Saying a product as balanced inputs and/or outputs, IMO, does not imply a promise of the internal circuits being balanced. Maybe you honestly feel it does, but I would not make such an assumption.

Also, someone has a long tow to hoe to prove that a processor with a balanced "topology" actually can make an audible difference. But that's another debate, I guess.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Well, not to pick a fight, but I think it's a distortion of reality to call the balanced inputs and outputs fake,

If I put these on the pre-amp outputs of my receiver, can I now tell everyone my receiver is "balanced"? Of course not.
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as long as they implement the circuitry needed for common noise rejections.

It's not "circuitry" in most of these products with XLR, it's a simply wiring change which is the equivalent of the adapter linked above.

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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Saying a product as balanced inputs and/or outputs, IMO, does not imply a promise of the internal circuits being balanced. Maybe you honestly feel it does, but I would not make such an assumption.

That was my entire point. VERY few products with balanced connection have balanced topology. In other words, you can get the same effect by using the adapter I linked above. If that helps your situation in regards to noise rejection, that is a good thing. But there is no guaranty.
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Also, someone has a long tow to hoe to prove that a processor with a balanced "topology" actually can make an audible difference. But that's another debate, I guess.

Indeed, a different discussion.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

It's not "circuitry" in most of these products with XLR, it's a simply wiring change which is the equivalent of the adapter linked above.
That was my entire point. VERY few products with balanced connection have balanced topology.

You are moving the goal posts. Not once prior did you mention "topology." Yes, very few components incorporate a true differential topology. But no matter how you want to argue otherwise, many components do incorporate true balanced inputs/outputs. As long as they utilize active positive and negative leads at equal impedance about the ground, the inputs/outputs, themselves, are balanced.

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post #11 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

You are moving the goal posts. Not once prior did you mention "topology." Yes, very few components incorporate a true differential topology. But no matter how you want to argue otherwise, many components do incorporate true balanced inputs/outputs. As long as they utilize active positive and negative leads at equal impedance about the ground, the inputs/outputs, themselves, are balanced.
AJ

Read my first post in this thread. I specifically mentioned how most components take a single ended signal, and convert it to XLR at the terminals, i.e. fake topology.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

Read my first post in this thread. I specifically mentioned how most components take a single ended signal, and convert it to XLR at the terminals, i.e. fake topology.

Your insistent use of the word "fake" is really unnecessary. A component with balanced inputs/outputs is balanced at those inputs/outputs because the circuitry at those inputs/outputs is differential, bar none. The full circuit topology of the component may or may not be differential -- it usually is not. But you act as if a component with balanced inputs/outputs but not full differential topology is some sort of attempt at deception.

AJ
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 09:00 AM
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Balanced is better, not to be confused with beta is better.smile.gif I just purchased my first truly balanced processor, and it has a much better noise floor and is cleaner than unbalanced RCAs. Even my sub, seems to play an octave deeper.
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

But you act as if a component with balanced inputs/outputs but not full differential topology is some sort of attempt at deception.
AJ

It may not be deception on the parts of CE manufacturers, but it certainly generates a lot of confusion.

As far as my use of the term "fake"... Do we consider breasts with silicone implants "real" or "fake"?
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

It may not be deception on the parts of CE manufacturers, but it certainly generates a lot of confusion.
As far as my use of the term "fake"... Do we consider breasts with silicone implants "real" or "fake"?

Silicone breat are real fake.biggrin.gif
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 01:02 PM
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So you want these people to call their XLR connectors, with the appropriate circuitry to invert the signal as needed and such to call the inputs...what? Unbalanced?

You confuse me.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam S View Post

As far as my use of the term "fake"... Do we consider breasts with silicone implants "real" or "fake"?

If the body of the breast contains an implant, that does not make the nipple "fake." And the same is true of balanced XLR inputs/outputs, even on a component without full differential topology.

AJ
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 05:00 PM
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So the nipple in a breast enhancement is like the tip of the XLR connector in these inverted connector back planes.

Mike Miles

ICR [ Sales Consulting and Small Part-Time AV shop, very small...  ]

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post #19 of 19 Old 08-12-2012, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Is it really correct to call a balanced connection fake as long as it's balanced? It does what it's advertised to do...reject common noise, right?
Seems more correct to note that you can't assume the internals are balanced just because the connections are.

Me too. IDK for sure but I don't think pro analog equipment is internally balanced, generally speaking.
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