short speaker cables and long interconnect? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-02-2013, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I am refreshing my home theater after an unfortunate incident.
I have replaced the previous 5 channel amplifier with a upscale stereo amplifier.
Later I will add a 3 channel amplifier for surround duties.

I am also replacing my RCA connections with XLR balanced connections between power and pre amp.

I have 5 1 meter Harmonic Tech Precision and Harmony interconnects for sale if anyone is interested.
3 Harmonic Tech precision, and a pair of Harmony interconnects.

I am considering placing the stereo amplifier close to the speakers within 10 feet of each and running the balanced connectors about 30 feet to the pre amplifier.
It was opposite previous with a long run of speaker and short RCA's to the pre amp.

Is this the preferred method?
Will I notice a difference?
The upgrade to the stereo amplifier has been unbelievable.
I had a Cine Nova Earthquake 5 channel which is replaced with Aragon 8008.
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-02-2013, 09:37 AM
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That is definitely the best way to go. Audio quality is usually better with balanced interconnects (sometimes MUCH better).

The signal-to-noise ratio with balanced cables is ten thousand times as good as with unbalanced (RCA) interconnects.

It is not uncommon, in recording venues, to run a balanced cable over 100 feet from a suspended overhead microphone to the mixing console.

A microphone puts out a much much smaller signal than a line-level signal, so you can see how good a balanced cable is to be noise-free with such a long run.

A 30-foot run with any balanced cable should be absolutely free of any noise or hum and give perfect results.

By the way; it is a total waste of money to buy "premium-quality" balanced interconnects. They won't give you any better quality than the basic cables sold by any pro-audio store as "microphone cables" for $20 or $30 or less.

With unbalanced cables, there are huge differences in performance between various cables, as I have proven many times; but I digress...lol.

I make my own balanced cables with standard AES cable ($1 per foot), and top-quality XLR connectors with gold pins for about $5 each.
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-02-2013, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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With unbalanced cables, there are huge differences in performance between various cables, as I have proven many times; but I digress..

Yes I quite agree.

Why is this not the case with balanced cable?

People are paying 10 and sometimes 100 or 1000 times the cost of basic balanced cable for nothing?
It is not, for nothing with RCA's.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 10:34 AM
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Does your equipment have balanced inputs and outputs? Because if not you are still running an unbalanced system. A simple passive RCA to XLR adapter does not make a balanced cable run. To convert between unbalanced and unbalanced you need either transformers are active powered converters. These components are not cheap, especially good audio transformers.

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post


With unbalanced cables, there are huge differences in performance between various cables, as I have proven many times; but I digress...lol.

Care to show us some test results? At 6 feet just about any shielded cable will work for unbalanced audio, that is they all will sound the same. Now over 6-10 feet, capacitance starts to have an effect on the typically high impedance unbalanced circuits. Balanced systems are typically low impedance.

The only other case where a short 6 foot cable could have an issue with excess capacitance is with older tube equipment that has output impedances over 100k ohms. The Dynaco PAT preamp series was well known for this issue.

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post #6 of 14 Old 06-03-2013, 12:51 PM
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The other issue with cheap, spiral wrap shielded unbalanced cables is that they can become 'microphonic' from the capacitance to the point where you can hear the noise created by running your fingers down the outside of the cable. Of course, on cheap, spiral wrapped microphone cords such as on lavalier mics the issue is much worse.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-08-2013, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I auditioned many RCA cables and all sounded different from each other.
I am now going the balanced route but am wondering if members agree with the previous poster that all XLR's sound the same no matter what brand or cost?
It certainly was not that for the RCA's.

Y or N all balanced speakers sound the same?
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-08-2013, 03:32 PM
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I auditioned a couple of interconnects and found they sounded different as well.

The first set was a pair from Audioquest. They were connected between a Naim CD player and Boulder monoblock amps, which powered Wilson Audio Alexandrias in a 20x31x15 foot acoustically treated room.

The second set was a generic set that came with an Onkyo CD player. They connected the CD player to a Parasound amp, which then fed PSB Synchrony Ones in an untreated room that was 11x13x8 feet.

The two interconnects sounded vastly different, especially in the bass.

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post #9 of 14 Old 06-09-2013, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

I auditioned a couple of interconnects and found they sounded different as well.

The first set was a pair from Audioquest. They were connected between a Naim CD player and Boulder monoblock amps, which powered Wilson Audio Alexandrias in a 20x31x15 foot acoustically treated room.

The second set was a generic set that came with an Onkyo CD player. They connected the CD player to a Parasound amp, which then fed PSB Synchrony Ones in an untreated room that was 11x13x8 feet.

The two interconnects sounded vastly different, especially in the bass.

Placebo effect! You knew which cables you had connected and so the more expensive cables sounded better.

Your comment about bass is even more revealing. The first thing to go in a so called "bad" interconnect with excessive capacitance is the highs. The lower frequency bass is immune from any attenuation by capacitance in any 6-12 foot RCA cable. (of course someone could come up with a scenario where it does, but I am keeping this limited to practical audio equipment.)

Care to try this test through a spectrum analyzer with storage and compare the two in a subtractive difference mode?

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post #10 of 14 Old 06-09-2013, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi2000 View Post

I auditioned many RCA cables and all sounded different from each other.
I am now going the balanced route but am wondering if members agree with the previous poster that all XLR's sound the same no matter what brand or cost?
It certainly was not that for the RCA's.

Y or N all balanced speakers sound the same?
If you were trying different unbalanced cables at the 30 foot length you noted in your first post, I can see where you could hear some differences, specifically in HF rolloff and hum. At 6 feet, I don't find any reason for a difference.

And as I said before, does your gear support balanced interconnections in BOTH ENDS? Because if not, then you still have an unbalanced cable. XLR connectors alone do not dictate a balanced interface. And I have seen some cheap pro gear as well as high end consumer gear made in tiny garage operations that use XLR connectors but with an unbalanced driver. Fooled you. The manufactures know many audiophiles don't know the technical difference so they slap an XLR connector on the unit and call it balanced.

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post #11 of 14 Old 06-09-2013, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Placebo effect! You knew which cables you had connected and so the more expensive cables sounded better.

Your comment about bass is even more revealing. The first thing to go in a so called "bad" interconnect with excessive capacitance is the highs. The lower frequency bass is immune from any attenuation by capacitance in any 6-12 foot RCA cable. (of course someone could come up with a scenario where it does, but I am keeping this limited to practical audio equipment.)

Care to try this test through a spectrum analyzer with storage and compare the two in a subtractive difference mode?

Good lord, man, you wouldn't know satire if it introduced itself to you at a party. You really think I seriously compared two sets of interconnects by listening to two entirely different systems in two entirely different rooms? Do you think "Airplane The Movie" is a disaster thriller meant to be taken seriously? biggrin.gif

I was making a point that people make silly claims without doing properly controlled tests all the time.

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-10-2013, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Good lord, man, you wouldn't know satire if it introduced itself to you at a party. You really think I seriously compared two sets of interconnects by listening to two entirely different systems in two entirely different rooms? Do you think "Airplane The Movie" is a disaster thriller meant to be taken seriously? biggrin.gif

I was making a point that people make silly claims without doing properly controlled tests all the time.

I'm an aspie. Slow to catch onto satire. rolleyes.gif

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post #13 of 14 Old 06-11-2013, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Glimmie said
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And as I said before, does your gear support balanced interconnections in BOTH ENDS?

Yes
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-12-2013, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by kiwi2000 View Post


I am considering placing the stereo amplifier close to the speakers within 10 feet of each and running the balanced connectors about 30 feet to the pre amplifier.
It was opposite previous with a long run of speaker and short RCA's to the pre amp.

Is this the preferred method?

You don't say what your speakers are, but if you use proper gauge speaker cable either option will be equally effective.
Quote:
Will I notice a difference?

In a good listening test, probably not.
Quote:
The upgrade to the stereo amplifier has been unbelievable.
I had a Cine Nova Earthquake 5 channel which is replaced with Aragon 8008.

In a good listening test, probably not. Very few audiophiles do good listening tests.
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