Balanced or unbalanced for very short run between preamp and amp?

I’m waiting on delivery of a new pair of M700s to put with my existing SGCD. Connecting them will be the first opportunity I’ve ever had to utilize balanced cables if I want.

I know the preferred amp setup is to place them near the speakers, with longer interconnects than speaker cables, but my room won’t allow that. Consequently, my cable runs from preamp to amps will never exceed a half-meter, if that much. So my question is with such a short cable length is there still an advantage to going balanced, whether in sound quality or any other performance criteria?

In my experience yes.

Care to describe the advantage you’ve experienced? Sorry, I should have included that request in my original post.

Using balanced cables with true balanced equipment is typically the best; lower noise, more transparent sound.

1 Like

Sure, the soundstage just seemed to open up and everything was more relaxed and at ease. It’s kind of like looking through a mosquito net and then having it removed.


With true balanced gear, even running short runs, balanced is VERY recommended. Common mode rej might not be as relevant, but the 6db boost you get over SE is.


I have both, from Iconoclast. My amp/preamp are dead quiet.
In my case, RCA sounds better. I don’t see any value in the extra gain. I adjust the volume control.
As usual, it depends on your setup and I would suggest you ignore sweeping statements and judge for yourself.


Exactly, which is why I couched my comment with “typically.” :slight_smile:

If your system is already dead quiet, and you have sufficient gain for your needs, the extra 6dB does not matter.

1 Like

Is there anything else than balanced…?

1 Like

Same setup into Klipsch RF7-III’s when I went to balanced from admittedly lesser quality RCA I liked the soundstage better especially and the sound generally seemed cleaner. Dead quiet with either. Now with Focal 948’s it’s same but better.


One day maybe…there could be something better…

Hi aiki14…I have Focal 948s as well…and find that with balanced
there is so much more 3d imaging and width, depth to the soundstage
as well as verticality.

How long have you had your 948s ?

About 6 weeks so still in the Honeymoon phase! Agree with all of your points, seeing same thing


Aiki you hit the Focal sweet spot…the 948 is an amazing speaker


Those Focals look like nice speakers.


I have enjoyed mine for about 2 years…can’t say enough for them…

If you don’t need the 6 dB gain boost single-ended (RCA) could offer better SQ. Even “true balanced” interconnect schemes are never perfectly balanced (inverted and non-inverted signals are not identical). Plus you’re going through more electronics/transformers, etc. with balanced.

Gotta say I am quite happy so far. I think these will be in the family for a while!

1 Like

The transparency of these 948s is amazing…
Also the fast response to transient attacks and decays…
So blessed to have these ladies sing their Arias for me!!