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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I know I asked this before but What is the advantage to a balanced processor if the amps are close to the source???


I called Lexicon tech.support and they told me if my amps where close(within 3ft not 12 ft) that there is no advantage to the balanced outputs!!


Any input on this??????


Will I really hear a difference???


Thanks



Larry Kosova
 

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Balanced interconnects will reduce line noise for longer runs. But if the analog stage in the preamp and the full signal path in the amp are differential then certain types of errors throughout the signal processing can also be reduced. I know the Theta Casablanca analog sections and the Dreadnaught amps are fully differential, since there is a lengthy interview with the Theta designers on this subject accessable from their website. I do not know about hte MC-12's analog section, or what amp you are using. Some amps use balanced interconnects, but are not internally differential for the full signal path.
 

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Amps do not have to be internally differential to take full advantage of balanced connections. It's arguable that the way many differential amps are designed are both technically detrimental and more costly, so it's not worth it. The point of balanced connections is to get your signal from the prepro to the amp with as little damage as possible, such as hum and noise due to ground loops and interference.


If you're not experiencing any problems with single-ended connections right now, then you probably don't really need balanced connections.


Your MC-12 can be upgraded to balanced later for a slightly higher price than the retail difference.


--Andre
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess what I am asking is ,has anyone listened to (a/b) both versions and said,wow the balanced is so much better!


Is there a audible difference or is it a preceived(placebo effect) difference?


Larry Kosova
 

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Larry,


On the MC-12, the balanced output drivers are designed primarily to get your signal to the amps in as clean a fashion as possible. Beyond eliminating outside influences, the balanced outputs have no advantages on the MC-12. Both the balanced and single-ended outputs of the MC-12 are fed the same signals --- the summed output of the dual-differential DACs. Think of the balanced outputs on an MC-12 (or any well-designed balanced prepro for that matter) as having extra protection from external noise and ground loops for transporting your prepro output signals to the amp.


Whether they make a big difference or not depends on:


1. The electric environment your equipment is in --- is it prone to ground loops, EM noise, etc.


2. How well-designed your amps' balanced inputs are.


Balanced outputs can only preserve audio quality, and not improve it beyond what it is. Having said that, there are many circumstances which will not preserve audio quality, and the balanced outputs can provide what is effectively an improvement by eliminating those things that reduce audio quality.


--Andre
 

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another feature of the differntial connection, besides the ability to cancel out signal/ground noise pick up is the larger signal to noise ratio due to the larger signal voltage.
 

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In this same vein of thought-then if I have active speakers in my surround 7.1 system, having each speaker internally amped, then the Balanced is the only way to go?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Bone
In this same vein of thought-then if I have active speakers in my surround 7.1 system, having each speaker internally amped, then the Balanced is the only way to go?
Protecting longer runs of line-level interconnects from interference is one of the traditional advantages of balanced cabling, and since you're running cables to speakers at the other end of the room--well, Balanced may not be the only way to go, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.


Cheers,

Philip Brandes
 

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A cautionary tale...


I would advise anyone considering any pre/pro with balanced outs to make sure that the amps (or active speakers) they plan to use will "play nicely" with the balanced outs from the pre/pro.


I have a Lexicon MC-12B coupled with some rather expensive (and highly regarded) boutique balanced amps and I'm getting 60+ dB of hiss through the speakers regardless of settings because the amps handle the audio/chassis ground differently than the balanced "spec" way to do it. Short of having the amp redesigned/rebuilt (or trying to return them), I'm at a loss as to what to do--between the pre/pro and the amps, I have over $25K invested and this sucks.


I'm sure 90% of the time pairing balanced components is not an issue--the fact that not everyone plays from the same rule book makes the 10% a real PITA.
 

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amillians,


I'm having exactly the same problem as you. With my new MC12B connected via the balanced outs to my high quality amps, I get a loud hiss through my speakers. Switching to single ended connections eliminates the problem. I did not have this problem using my Proceed AVP and Melos preamp with these amps. I suspect there is no solution.


I'm waiting to hear back from Lex. on what I might do. One customer support person at Lex. said that the balanced outs are designed for 'professional' amps. I pointed out that this is a consumer product, that my amps have worked fine w/balanced connections to other preamps, and that I would not have paid for the balanced option had I known this. Thusfar, Lex. customer support has been very responsive though I was supposed to hear back last week about the hiss issue. We'll see. It seems there is something non-standard about the balanced signal the Lex. outputs.
 

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To all who are having troubles with their balanced connections... you might want to try reversing pin 2 and pin 3 on one end of your balanced cables. Depending on the manufacturer, when the item was produced, and where it was made, items can be pin 2 hot or pin 3 hot. Its a royal pain sometimes getting the pin-out correct on balanced gear (Welcome to the world of professional audio where the first thing to learn is how to use your soldering iron... unfortunately it is next to impossible to find cables that are pre-wired with pin 2 and pin 3 swapped).


Also, a poor implementation of a balanced signal is detrimental to the sound quality. In balanced designs where transformers are used, poor implementation or cheaper parts (which is not uncommon in lesser models), balanced will save you the aforementioned grounding problems but can make the sound flat and thin... you run into this problem a lot in recording gear and often-times its better to use single ended. Also, I have seen numerous consumer products that offer "balanced" inputs but don't adhere to the +4 db standard.
 

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Alex,

"I'm sure 90% of the time pairing balanced components is not an issue--the fact that not everyone plays from the same rule book makes the 10% a real PITA."


If this is any comfort for your troubles, the figure seems to be 50/50 in the pro world how well balanced components play with each other. Pin-1 problems are rife there as well, so it's not just consumer products that have issues like yours. Can you use the single-ended inputs?


Referencing another post, the official standard is that pin 2 is positive, and pin 3 is negative. Technically both are hot. However, some manufacturers use one only, and that's where switching pins 2 and 3 may help, otherwise only your polarity will be flipped. Markertek sells XLR polarity flipping devices that swap pins 2 and 3, so you don't have to make a special cable. Or you can just make your own flipper by making a short piece of cable that flips pins 2 and 3.


--Andre
 
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