Balanced vs. Single Ended


#1

Ted & Paul: Is it correct to assume that if we forget about capacitance and radiated/propagated noise on 1m Interconnects (and the +6dB gain), there is not a huge reason for why selecting the DS XLR over the RCA output?

The reason for asking is that my preamp is not fully balanced on its input and output stage and they advice using RCA for both.

The output contains a line driver Line Driver so it may be that I run my amps in single ended also, because I am a bit skeptic to the principle and quality of this line driver from a high end perspective. The remaining parts of the circuit is built with 24off discrete components.

I would expect the input to have a similar Line receiver (my guess is this one Line receiver).


#2

I’m not Ted or Paul, but I like to give my 2 cents. Once I was puzzeling with the same question. I had a not fully balanced pre Marantz. I could not hear a difference between RCA and XLR. But with a Classe pre which is fully balanced the difference was quite clear.

At the moment I use a single ended pre with great sound. The 6db is not a problem in my opinion because you will increase the volume. So the signal in the interconnect will be 6db stronger. I quess the stronger the signal the smaller the influence of noise.


#3
Frode said Ted & Paul: Is it correct to assume that if we forget about capacitance and radiated/propagated noise on 1m Interconnects (and the +6dB gain), there is not a huge reason for why selecting the DS XLR over the RCA output?

The reason for asking is that my preamp is not fully balanced on its input and output stage and they advice using RCA for both.

The output contains a line driver Line Driver so it may be that I run my amps in single ended also, because I am a bit skeptic to the principle and quality of this line driver from a high end perspective. The remaining parts of the circuit is built with 24off discrete components.

I would expect the input to have a similar Line receiver (my guess is this one Line receiver).


As far as capacitance and EMI are concerned 1m isn’t very long. But ground loops may be biggest reason that balanced interconnects may be helpful, but they may or may not be a problem in a given system. (That’s a lot of "may"s :) )

I know other manufacturers that don’t “believe” in balanced topologies, they believe that a product is built to a certain price point and that they can get more sound quality by using the budget some other way than a balanced design. In an ideal system that well may be true. In the case of the DS everything is balanced by nature so there’s essentially no cost differential to providing balanced outs. There may be a small difference in sound quality between balanced and unbalanced output on the DS, but you are correct that the sound quality of the line receiver may be an overriding concern.


#4

Hi All in PSA land,

Can someone confirm the wiring for the balanced outputs on the DS as I see on Wikki that there are two possibilities, one USA and one European. I couldn’t find anything in the manual or on the DS case which describes the pin connections. On my amp and also my cdp the pin configuration is stated. I’m thinking about using the balanced o/p from DS to my amp to provide extra gain.

Cheers Frank


#5

Howdy

Pin 2 +

Pin 3 -

Pin 1 Gnd

Shield Gnd


#6
Ted Smith said Howdy

Pin 2 +

Pin 3 -

Pin 1 Gnd

Shield Gnd


Hi Ted,

thank you. This appears to be what is commonly called European wiring. I’m having an issue with low volume when connecting the DS direct to the amplifier. If I want to avail the extra 6Db gain of the balanced outputs do I need to run balanced throughout the chain from cdp>DS>Power amplifier or should I just run XLR from DS>Power amp? I suspect the latter however I’d appreciate confirmation.

also the balanced output of the cdp is USA based, e.g. Pin1 Gnd/Shild Gnd, Pin2 Cold (neg -) and Pin3 Hot(+). The manual recommends changing the pin connections to suit each end to ensure signal phase is maintained - even though I may not need to connect the cdp>DS in XLR connections I’d appreciate confirmation that each plug of the cable should be connected to fit the component connection. E.g CDP/USA > cable > DS/EUR. I do notice that the DS has phase adjustment so Would I be correct in thinking I can keep all plugs wired to one configuration and then just “flip” the phase to correct?

Im not worried about noise rejection/cancellation I’m just looking for extra gain.

Regards. Frank


#7

On the DS the polarity invert button (mislabeled “phase”) is “clean”: with DSD all you need to do is invert the bits. Note that it’s value is stored separately for each input so you should probably select each input and set it all at once to avoid confusion.

Whether the digital input to the DS is balanced or not doesn’t matter as far as gain. (Unless I misunderstood your question.) It’s only the analog output of the DS to the amp or preamp that needs to be balanced to get the extra 6dB of gain.

With digital AES/EBU, S/PDIF (and TOSLink for that matter) the polarity just doesn’t matter - the protocol only pays attention to whether something changes, not the value to which it changes.


#8

Just adding to the theme of “it depends on the equipment”, I’ve had my DS running direct to Classe Omega amp (and Apogee Duetta Signatures) using high-grade single-ended interconnects - Jena Labs Symphony, for a 10-ft. run. It sounded much better than the Analysis Audio Big Silver Ovals the Jena Labs replaced - clean, detailed, and balanced.

I recently experimented with using the DS’ balanced outputs, and found that a whole new world of depth opened up, even with an inexpensive XLR interconnect. Apparently the Classe is designed for balanced operation, as it sounds better than it ever did using RCAs, and the extra 6dB doesn’t hurt, since I have no preamp. The IC I’m using is soon to be replaced with Kimber Kable Select 1121, which are on the way, so that should correct the bass emphasis I’m getting from the cheapies, but otherwise even they sound very good.