Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In Old Pickup Truck, Cruising Hickville
    Posts
    651

    Does anyone run balanced cables?

    My Adcom pre-amp is dying a slow painful death. The left channel is getting weaker and weaker. I'm thinking about getting the new Emotiva XSP-1 when it comes out. It supports balanced inputs and outputs. Now my question, since I use blue jeans cables (from the CD to the Preamp) and (From the Pre-amp to my XPA-2) I'm now sure what balanced will get me.

    For example, with out the blue jeans cables, the system is too bright. Wouldn't that be the same with the balanced cables as well? (In other words, the additional capacitance of the blue jeans mellows out the sound--which would be gone with the balanced cables??)

    Thanks,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  2. #2
    Ajani
    Guest
    I'd suggest trying the XSP-1 with the XPA-2 and your Blue Jeans to see if you are happy with the sound... Balanced may or may not yield an improvement (especially as the XPA-2 is not a fully balanced designed).... I have both Balanced and RCA cables... I generally stick with the RCA (not that I've noticed significant difference apart from volume between the two cables)...

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127
    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    My Adcom pre-amp is dying a slow painful death. The left channel is getting weaker and weaker. I'm thinking about getting the new Emotiva XSP-1 when it comes out. It supports balanced inputs and outputs. Now my question, since I use blue jeans cables (from the CD to the Preamp) and (From the Pre-amp to my XPA-2) I'm now sure what balanced will get me.

    For example, with out the blue jeans cables, the system is too bright. Wouldn't that be the same with the balanced cables as well? (In other words, the additional capacitance of the blue jeans mellows out the sound--which would be gone with the balanced cables??)

    Thanks,
    Stan
    The principal advantage of balanced cable is that it provides much better noise (EMI/RFI) rejection tha unbalanced; this is especially significant over longer runs. Of course, to work the output of the source and the input of the target both have to be balanced, (it isn't necessary that all the internal circuitry balanced).

    But apart from that, if the internal circuit of the source and/or target is fully balanced, then in principle balanced should sound better because there are fewer components, i.e. to create the balanced from single-ended and/or combine the balanced to single-ended. However this is in principle only and "actual results may vary". The only way to know is to try it.

  4. #4
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    The principal advantage of balanced cable is that it provides much better noise (EMI/RFI) rejection tha unbalanced; this is especially significant over longer runs. Of course, to work the output of the source and the input of the target both have to be balanced, (it isn't necessary that all the internal circuitry balanced).

    But apart from that, if the internal circuit of the source and/or target is fully balanced, then in principle balanced should sound better because there are fewer components, i.e. to create the balanced from single-ended and/or combine the balanced to single-ended. However this is in principle only and "actual results may vary". The only way to know is to try it.
    What if you can't hear any noise? My system is dead quiet with the volume off ... OK, seriously if I turn the volume up to max (no music playing), I don't hear any noise even with my ear up against the speakers... So what benefit should I get from Balanced connections?


    EDIT: Spoke too soon, I can't hear the faintest hiss with my ear pressed up against the tweeter at full voume...
    Last edited by Ajani; 04-27-2010 at 10:06 AM.

  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127
    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    What if you can't hear any noise? My system is dead quiet with the volume off ... OK, seriously if I turn the volume up to max (no music playing), I don't hear any noise even with my ear up against the speakers... So what benefit should I get from Balanced connections?


    EDIT: Spoke too soon, I can't hear the faintest hiss with my ear pressed up against the tweeter at full voume...
    Well OK, but I believe the pundits would say that EMI/RFI are themselves far out side the directly audible range, however they effect the audible sound quality of especially digital components and switching amplfiers.

  6. #6
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Well OK, but I believe the pundits would say that EMI/RFI are themselves far out side the directly audible range, however they effect the audible sound quality of especially digital components and switching amplfiers.
    OK, so it might be inaudible noise affecting audible music... Hmmm.... I'll need to do some research on this topic... I've heard EMI/RFI mentioned as contributing to noise before... Hopefully when I upgrade Cables (and speakers), I'll be able to hear some difference....

  7. #7
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In Old Pickup Truck, Cruising Hickville
    Posts
    651
    That helps to know that you guys don't run balanced. Hopefully with the new pre-amp they will provide balanced cables. I'd love to just hear what they sound like.

    And great simple advice: try them out and see what you like.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  8. #8
    Charm Thai™
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    865
    You're going from Adcom to Emotiva?, yuck...but that's a totally different conversation, lol!

    I ran balanced cables from cd dac to preamp to amp and the only thing i noticed was a slight difference in volume. I had to turn it up a tad to get the same volume as the unbalanced connections. The cable runs were short and I never really noticed any noise problems to begin with so i wasn't surprised when i couldn't distinguish any differences.

    The amp and dac are fully balanced designs but the preamp is not so I was not running a truly balanced system from end to end.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Mount Vernon, Ohio
    Posts
    72
    As mentioned above, the cable run is only "balanced" if everything in the chain is balanced. The reason I say this is because it's important to note that running balanced signal throughout your system won't clean EMI/RFI related noise from the signal. It's about rejecting interference in the cable runs themselves, which can only happen if the entire circuit is balanced. This is very important in pro applications as long cable runs are fairly common. You may have 48 or more channels of signal running 150-200 feet, and at that point they might as well be a radio antenna. You'll get noise from radio stations, passing cb radios, florescent lights, wireless systems, and all kinds of other stuff. Interestingly it's generally accepted in the pro audio world that the geometry of balanced cables (standard accross all cables - not proprietary magic pixie dust) contributes to noise rejection, but in home audio people will call that idea snake oil...

    In home audio you rarely see interconnects run more than 9-12 feet, and it's usually even less, so it isn't as necessary. I'd wager that the audible noise most people get is either from a ground loop (also a major headache in the pro arena) or a noisy amp. Now, if you live in the shadow of some radio station's transmitter or in an otherwise "noisy" environment, it might make more of a difference. I don't see balanced vs. unbalanced as a huge deal for most people, although if you have balanced outputs on your gear it probably makes sense to spend the few extra bucks to use balanced cables as they usually aren't that much extra once you're buying decent cables anyway.

    Some other practical cabling tips that are common in pro audio that apply to the home audio arena - and would probably make a bigger difference than running balanced interconnects:

    1. Keep cable runs as short as possible - especially speaker cables
    2. Try not to have excess speaker cable as they are the biggest noise offenders, and if you do have excess NEVER coil them up. It looks nice and neat but there's nothing like a big copper coil to amplify noise.
    3. Don't run speaker cables parallel to power cords unless they are more than 4ft apart if you don't like 60hz hum, and if they must cross do it at a perpendicular angle. Some people search endlessly for a ground loop problem when the noise is just being picked up by the speaker cables.
    Tim Evans
    East Street Audio
    Onix, Melody, & ACA

  10. #10
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    Go for a Tube or Hybrid preamp Stan, you won't be sorry. I think going from an Adcom to an Emotiva Pre is a lateral move at best!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  11. #11
    Ajani
    Guest
    Gents, remember that he's merely looking to a replace a dying preamp, not upgrading... Also , the current Emotiva Pre (USP1) should be a lateral move from his Adcom... The upcoming pre should be a bit of a step up.... A tube/hybrid pre at the same price (approx $800) for the upcoming XSP-1 would probably give a different (but not necesarily better) sound...

    If he has just one or two sources (capable of driving an amp directly) I'd probably suggest checking out a Passive Pre... Creek and Channel Islands have some well regarded ones in his price range...

  12. #12
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Posts
    5,421
    I would go the used route like an AR LS -7 preamp or something similar. Also look for a Van Alstine T-8, T-7 or Ultra.

    Here's a used T-7 with factory warranty for $795.

    http://www.avahifi.com/index.php?opt...43872bd4965c64
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
    Cables- Cardas, Silnote, BJC
    Velodyne CHT 8 sub

  13. #13
    Ajani
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I would go the used route like an AR LS -7 preamp or something similar. Also look for a Van Alstine T-8, T-7 or Ultra.

    Here's a used T-7 with factory warranty for $795.

    http://www.avahifi.com/index.php?opt...43872bd4965c64
    Good point... if he goes used then he could certainly get a nice tube pre under $800...

  14. #14
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oaktown!
    Posts
    1,774
    Just heard from a manufacturer that w/ the XLR balanced there is a 25% improvement to the sound in their fully balanced system. The cable run is about 2ft. I'm waiting to hear this compared to the RCA outputs.

    but what you all think?

  15. #15
    Forum Regular
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Mount Vernon, Ohio
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    Just heard from a manufacturer that w/ the XLR balanced there is a 25% improvement to the sound in their fully balanced system. The cable run is about 2ft. I'm waiting to hear this compared to the RCA outputs.

    but what you all think?
    I think I would call shenanigans. What manufacturer?
    Tim Evans
    East Street Audio
    Onix, Melody, & ACA

  16. #16
    Suspended atomicAdam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Oaktown!
    Posts
    1,774
    Quote Originally Posted by woofersus
    I think I would call shenanigans. What manufacturer?
    I'm still waiting to find out if I agree - but so far I saw the XLR are louder for sure. But...Not sure. You know, it all depends on what RCA cables were used, and if the sound made them happy or not.

    25% is like saying, hey, we've got 25% more happiness, but how happy is happy? Anyways...

  17. #17
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    London, Ontario
    Posts
    8,127
    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    I'm still waiting to find out if I agree - but so far I saw the XLR are louder for sure. But...Not sure. You know, it all depends on what RCA cables were used, and if the sound made them happy or not.

    25% is like saying, hey, we've got 25% more happiness, but how happy is happy? Anyways...
    Yeah, a statement like "25% better" is highly subjective and unverifiable. I doubt it: I certainly haven't heard that much difference between balanced and single-ended, though what somebody else experiances it might depend on circumstance. The 6 dB additional gain using balanced ICs on a balanced -to- balanced system is a fact, of course.
    Last edited by Feanor; 05-11-2010 at 08:51 AM.

  18. #18
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,462
    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    Just heard from a manufacturer that w/ the XLR balanced there is a 25% improvement to the sound in their fully balanced system.
    Twenty-five percent improvement in and determined by exactly what?

    rw

  19. #19
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    In Old Pickup Truck, Cruising Hickville
    Posts
    651
    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I would go the used route like an AR LS -7 preamp or something similar. Also look for a Van Alstine T-8, T-7 or Ultra.

    Here's a used T-7 with factory warranty for $795.

    http://www.avahifi.com/index.php?opt...43872bd4965c64

    I must be too late, the link is dead. Thanks for thinking of me though. My current pre-amp is still limping along, and I use the balance knob to help out the dying channel. My next purchase is Corning 703 sound absorption boards.

    I've been really recently hurt by older equipment, so I'm trying to stay away from them for now. That's why I'm into new these days.

    I'll check back in a few months (if my bonus comes through) and I'll seek your expert help.

    Thanks again.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •