The balanced outputs are better/different. Not quite a fair assessment as the ICs are different as well. Was using Silnote Morpheus Reference SE. A very good value I feel. First used them with Genesis M60 tube monos that only had SE RCA inputs. Then just acquired Oasis S200M SS monos (200W class A) which have both inputs and as the PS DS recommends Balanced XLR, I wanted to try that way. In searching the forums you all have been talking about the Belden Iconoclast, so Hanson was nice enough to send me a demo pair. I only needed a 1 meter pair, but I think I got 2 meter pair. They look very well made although a bit stiff to handle and with the extra length a bit clumsy to hook up. So I am dealing with three changes to my system: amps, cable brand and cable type. All I can say is that each change improved the system to my liking.
The class A power took control of the Genesis 5.2 speakers and once I dialed them in with proper bass setting, the whole sound stage became much more cohesive. Integration of the drivers now seems like one driver or no drivers. Speakers started to disappear. With the addition of the ICs, everything became smoother without losing any top end (more liquid) without losing any detail. Female voices became a little more chesty and the breath between notes more natural. Acoustic guitar was sitting right in front of me. Segovia was actually giving me lessons(LOL). The sound was bigger, but not artificial. I am not sure if these demos have been played before, I’ll have to check as I feel everything in electronics seems to have a break in period or at least a settle in period. Violin from Rachel Podger is not quite as edgy although when I played, it was always edgy so that sounds more normal to me. However the violin had more weight to it with the Iconoclasts. Trumpet of Miles or Botti was super smooth and tone was right on. Sax in the City files were live. Best sax I have heard in my system in my room. Coltrane too.
Is this where to stop for a while? Maybe. I am curious about the cables Paul mentioned and also Siltech Classic 770i.
BTW, this all started when I was really thinking about new speakers. Then I will need new speaker wire 'cause I use Genesis wire that Gary developed due to his speakers having powered servo bass and so the synergy needed to be just so.
Anyway, I hope this helps some of you and I would be happy to try to answer your questions and if you have compared other ICs (xld) with the Iconoclasts, like Siltech or other, I would love to hear it.