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‘Unbalanced is Best'? a comparison of balanced and unbalanced

Discussion in 'audio' started by duckworp, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. duckworp

    duckworp pfm Member

    PS. I asked Tony to take down the third thread as no one got the humour. Lesson learnt - don't try and be amusing, it isn't funny.
  2. timola

    timola pfm Member

    Those grounding boxes....are unbelievable! Enjoyed the amazement.
  3. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    I`ve said it before, if you don`t want an argument why start a cable thread?
  4. duckworp

    duckworp pfm Member

    I've said it before this is not a cable thread. It is a discussion on balanced v unbalanced. No cables.
  5. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Looks like a cable thread to me, same ignoring the well known technical aspects, same reliance on a lot of anecdote and same descent into rudeness and deliberate misunderstanding of posts.
    Joe likes this.
  6. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    Lol! Like not understanding it's not a cable thread?
    radamel likes this.
  7. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    Not the Wam. I just got banned there instead. Twice! When it was still the WIgWam, not this newfangled Wam thingy.
    If you want details, ask Mr. Cat. :D
  8. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Though in the OP the word interconnect is used 7 times and the word cable twice.
  9. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    I've lately come to conclusion that one's gramophone apparatus is best enjoyed in the privacy of one's own home or, at the very most, in the company of a few well chosen and trusted friends, and that the experience is not to be shared with rude and vulgar strangers on public fora such as to become the subject of gross and unpleasant ridicule.
    PrettyVacant and duckworp like this.
  10. Joe

    Joe pfm Member

    If I hade to come down on one side of the argument or the other I would say that on the whole I am unbalanced.

    Or have I got the wrong end of the thread?

  11. monya

    monya pfm Member

    I don’t see what the fuss is about. Using your own equipment try both and go with what sounds best to you. FWIW I found that xlr sounds best from cdp to Energiser for Stax headphones and rca sounds better between my pre and power amp.
    simon g and duckworp like this.
  12. Strictly Stereo

    Strictly Stereo Trade: Strictly Stereo

    I concur.
    duckworp likes this.
  13. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

  14. Rick_F

    Rick_F pfm Member

    I was recently advised that unbalanced connection was better in a home environment than balanced. The reason being the signal has to be converted to balanced and then converted back to unbalanced meaning there's more fiddling with it. Also, it was pointed out that most amps aren't really balanced, they just have a cheap circuit to split the signal so it will work on an XLR balanced cable.

    Having said that, I can understand studio's going balanced as a necessary evil to combat potential interference from all the electronics and longer runs that the signal has to be protected against.
  15. radamel

    radamel Music Fiend

    I don't think you read the thread with due attention.

    And perhaps not even the last phrase of the OP...
  16. radamel

    radamel Music Fiend

    I agree.
  17. radamel

    radamel Music Fiend

    You should read my post as an answer to Misterdog's "So you are neither providing statistical or scientific 'evidence' or even any reasoning".
  18. radamel

    radamel Music Fiend

    I'm a bit perplexed myself...
    duckworp likes this.
  19. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    Well, it's kind of tricky to try the two types without any cables. And he uses the words balanced or unbalanced thirteen times! Which trumps your nine.
    Be sensible, and assume like me, that he doesn't have the precise terminology on the tip of his tongue, and stop looking for pointless arguments.
  20. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    It's not an argument I would recognise as relevant... By balanced I always mean differential and would never consider it meaning anything else in the context of signal transmission.
    In actual circuit topologies there are all sorts of ways of looking at things and with some room for contention!

    An op amp has a differential input and can provide pretty amazing CMRR but most have an unbalanced output and deal with the signal in an unbalanced form after the input long tailed pair (LTP)....
    Or do we mean a circuit in which + & - inputs are amplified by two identical amplification circuits from input to output with the output of course also balanced but the only CMRR as such being provided by the matching of the two amplification chains? Where then should the cancellation of common mode signals happen? At the speaker as in your set up?

    A bridged amp is of course both balanced and differential at the output but may well have an unbalanced input... this may be converted to balanced by a handful of op amps or the amp could have intrinsically inverting and non inverting power amps for each channel (yes two power amps per channel. Normal for bridged). Done well this can completely remove speaker return currents from the main ground, with obvious advantages... at the expense of using twice as many parts....

    It's an interesting subject with many pitfalls for the unwary and gotchas... I have some examples of my own work where in trying to use a particular topology for a certain reason, but keeping it truly intrinsically balanced, I've designed almost to the "you've wallpapered over the door" stage and it's gotten maybe 10 times as complicated as envisaged in order to design around certain gotchas that would never have occurred if it was unbalanced!!
    Do we want end to end balanced? From say MC cart to speaker where it finally joins the two anti phase signals? Consider the relative proportions of the differential and common mode signals for a moment... and what would happen if the common mode signal clipped... especially asymmetrically... nasty!!

    This is why I said in an earlier post that the best balanced topologies usually have a certain elegance to them;)

    And all the above is just scratching the surface of the subject, so dear reader, you may imagine my thoughts at "so what's all this phono V XLR plugs. Which ones best":D

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