Balanced Connection Advantages?


#1

I recently got a Rogue Audio Pharaoh integrated amp that has balanced connections and I’m wondering about the advantages of balanced from PWD MkII. Also curious if anyone has experience with Darwin Cables.

Thanks,

Mike


#2

All things being equal (such as quality of the interconnect, the equipment being truly balanced, etc.), balanced is generally preferred to single ended (RCA) since balanced cables allow for rejection of some common mode noise (e.g., RF interference gets picked up by both sides but they’re opposite in sign so they cancel). Balanced cables will typically also sound louder. I run balanced from my PWD (now a Direct Stream) into my Rogue Athena preamp and from there to my PS Audio Classic 250. I would not swear that it makes a huge difference but then I’ve never done a test with truly comparable interconnects. You’re probably better off with a good pair of single ended than a so-so pair of balanced interconnects.

Don’t know anything about Darwin Cables. Like the name, though.


#3

Another thing I like about using balanced cables is the secure connection they make to the equipment.

T


#4

Except for the benefit in long cable runs, the real issue is internally balanced circuitry reducing noise floors.

Thinking differential, two signal paths per channel design.

Without that design feature throughout, not all that much difference, IMHO.


#5

As @audiobill suggests, you will only get common mode noise rejection if your equipment path is balanced thru its entirety. The XLR connectors are a nice feature as well. However, there is extra circuitry required to maintain 2 signals per channel and to execute common mode rejection function. The extra circuitry adds expense and is extra length in the signal path. There is nothing wrong with single ended RCA design for short lengths.


#6
stereophilus said As @audiobill suggests, you will only get common mode noise rejection if your equipment path is balanced thru its entirety. The XLR connectors are a nice feature as well. However, there is extra circuitry required to maintain 2 signals per channel and to execute common mode rejection function. The extra circuitry adds expense and is extra length in the signal path. There is nothing wrong with single ended RCA design for short lengths.
+1

For less than 10 ft I’d rather have a cleaner path with single ended.


#7

And just to confuse matters - I didn’t get rid of the residual hum in my system until all of the inputs to my preamp and amps were balanced.


#8

My ‘biggest’ concern with singled ended are the RCA connectors. They are quick and easy but the mating metal surfaces are not as consistent nor as ‘large’ as the XLR design. Which is in part why XLRs are used in professional setups. They are much less susceptible to a variety of problems (vibration, durability, etc.), not to mention where balanced runs excel (long runs, CMNR, etc)

And not all balanced circuits are inherently more complex, and thus more expensive. However that is usually the case (with the exception of using OP Amps) due to designers using 2 ‘identical’ circuits, (with one inverted). The circlotron circuit is an inherently balanced amplification stage which is somewhat ‘tricky’ but quite elegant. And it is ONLY a balanced circuit, which means it doesn’t easily ‘accommodate’ singled ended inputs nor outputs, unless you want to use transformer(s) which kind defeats much of the circuits niftyness. But for SS (vs tubes) the circuit is WAY less complex than using two amplifier stages to achieve a balanced stage of amplification.

Just some thoughts.

JJ


#9

The primary reason BAT components are so expensive, and so good is that you’re buying twice as much very high quality circuitry.

AR reference series too.


#10

Hmmm. If done properly, balanced is always better than single ended and it really shouldn’t take too much more circuitry to accomplish. Any true differential input amplifier circuit, or transformer coupled circuit, takes advantage of common mode rejection, which is what balanced brings to the table.

For my money, even for a short run, I always go balanced.smiley-music005_gif


#11

I have seen long balanced runs mentioned in this thread so will ask my question here. Will a PerfectWave push signal over a 50’ balanced cable? I have my front end equipment in the back of my room and amps in the front. Want to use PerfectWave without preamp directly into amp. So a couple of questions, first will it work? Second, will it do any damage to the PerfectWave over time? Third, when I upgrade to the DirectStream, will it function within the system properly?

hope this was the correct place to post my questions.

drdk


#12
drdk said

I have seen long balanced runs mentioned in this thread so will ask my question here. Will a PerfectWave push signal over a 50’ balanced cable? I have my front end equipment in the back of my room and amps in the front. Want to use PerfectWave without preamp directly into amp. So a couple of questions, first will it work? Second, will it do any damage to the PerfectWave over time? Third, when I upgrade to the DirectStream, will it function within the system properly?

hope this was the correct place to post my questions.

drdk


50’ is a very long run. The answer is very probably yes, the PWD will push the signal over this distance, and balanced signal will definitely be preferred. But, over this distance, impedance and capacitance are your enemies, so choose your cable carefully, or even better, use a good preamp.

#13

Agreed. I have exactly a 50’ run of balanced cable in my listening room and while I do use a preamp, I can easily switch to direct and it sounds fantastic. So, no worries at all.


#14

Thanks Paul. Do you have a preferred balanced cable? Or is that a topic you prefer to avoid? I’m currently using Monoprice and I’m sure there is better. At 50’ it could become an expensive exercise in trial and error.


#15

I suggest having Redco or ProAudioLA (there are others) build some cables for you. Or build your own.

A nice choice is Mogami 2549 Balanced Mic Neglex Cable. A 50 foot run with Neutrik Gold XLRs is around $70 per cable. Excellent stuff.

(For the digital side of things Mogami 3173 AES/EBU 110 Ohm is a great digital AES/EBU interconnect, roughly $100 for 50 feet - if you ever consider going this route instead.)


#16
drdk said Thanks Paul. Do you have a preferred balanced cable? Or is that a topic you prefer to avoid? I'm currently using Monoprice and I'm sure there is better. At 50' it could become an expensive exercise in trial and error.
Oh absolutely, my favorite cables are from MG Audio . They are nothing short of amazing. We use them on the Music Room One and all the shows we go to, the reviewers we visit (if they'll let us). They aren't cheap but they aren't expensive either. I prefer the silvers to the coppers but either is just excellent. Highly recommended.105_gif

#17

Thanks everyone for the information. Now to decide about $$$. The home made option is appealing and certainly cost effective.

drdk


#18

Consider:

If Mogami 2549 can get the delicate little signals from a high end microphone to a microphone pre to record the albums you listen to, it can easily handle the vastly more robust signal from a DAC to your preamp. :slight_smile: A 50 foot run is trivial for this cable.

If nothing else, it is inexpensive in comparison to “reference” cables. I suggest trying trying these or similar to learn if there is a substantial improvement over the Monoprice cables you are using. If you are a spec sort of hobbyist, you can find all the specs for these and other high end pro cables on line. They push all the correct buttons - but for the high boutique prices.


#19

I see Neutrik has several XLR connectors. Suggestions? I’m going to follow your advice with the mic cable.

Thanks for all the followup

drdk


#20

The options are mind numbing, yes? :)

I have used a lot of Neutrik NC#MXX-B. Very nice construction and feel, gold pins, etc. click

Please report back and let us know how you like your new cables. Relatively few have setups like yours.