xlr cables

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nac

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xlr cables
« on: 15 May 2019, 09:29 pm »
hi
is there really a difference in sound quality between balanced xlr cables and standard interconnects?

Elizabeth

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #1 on: 15 May 2019, 09:50 pm »
hah hah ha... "It Depends"..  :thumb:

One the one hand you have theorists... Who will say a balanced connection is ALWAYS better. (With caveats) Mainly since most 'balanced' connections are just a single ended one with an cheap op amp making the negative half, and that only 'real' balanced circuits matter.

On the other hand folks like me who say? "WHO CARES!" (about theory) does this particular connection for this particular component A to component B sound better one way or the other?
nd is one type easier to use?

Then there is the matter of more gain with balanced.
And longer runs are usually better in balanced configuration.

Otherwise it is all just maybe... Maybe not.
I use a seven meter XLR cable from my preamp to my amp.
(did I ponder over it? nope, it was long. XLR is better long.. OK)
Other connections I use a mix of XLR and RCA.
(I don't CARE)

sresener

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #2 on: 16 May 2019, 01:51 am »
There are so many topics on different cables and sound quality. But one thing seems unanimous with most cable manufactures...…. that the more you pay the better they sound.

 :popcorn:


Elizabeth

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #3 on: 16 May 2019, 11:19 am »
Back when I used $100 a pop IC they sounded good to me. I upgraded the ger... and... Then I moved up to $330 a pop IC and they sounded better, and the old $100 a pop stuff I can hear the limitations,
Then I went to $1100 a pop cables. They do sound better than the $330 a pop stuff, but not by much, and I still use some of the $330 a pop ones.
With way better gear the better cables do sound better too.  :popcorn:
« Last Edit: 16 May 2019, 03:36 pm by Elizabeth »

witchdoctor

Re: xlr cables
« Reply #4 on: 16 May 2019, 01:41 pm »
nac, that is a question only you can answer. I recommend Mogami XLR gold cables or Pangea XLR. The Mogami's are available at Guitar Center or Amazon and have a LIFETIME warranty.

Westerwälder

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #5 on: 17 May 2019, 05:19 pm »
Hello,
If you do not hear it, you do not need it either.
It was not a question for me:  If an amplifier offers an XLR connection, use it as well.
For me, the results in DAC10 and ST10 were understandable.
Cable makes the last kick. And there are many possibilities, but no end to the flagpole.
My first was SUPRA cables EFF-XLR. I enjoyed it a lot.
However, I had the opportunity to hear from my dealer the same system with a Wireworld Eclipse8.
And what should I say? My SUPRA cable is for sale.

Elizabeth

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #6 on: 17 May 2019, 06:04 pm »
If you do not hear it, you do not need it either.
True, but also remember not hearing any difference TODAY, does not mean that later on.. you might hear a difference then, with some upgrads/different equipment, or even just better listening skills.  :thumb:

mrhyfy

Re: xlr cables
« Reply #7 on: 17 May 2019, 06:10 pm »
If you have a source that is a real balanced design feeding to a real balanced device, XLR's seem to make sense.

DaveC113

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #8 on: 17 May 2019, 06:47 pm »
If you have a source that is a real balanced design feeding to a real balanced device, XLR's seem to make sense.

This is the right answer.

Balanced gear should use balanced cables and single ended gear should use single ended cables.

IMO... home audio systems don't normally benefit from balanced components. Balanced requires double the parts and not only that... the parts have to be matched to close tolerances so the + and - legs of the signal are truly equal but opposite. All the extra parts and complexity is a waste as most home systems don't need the noise rejection.

It is common these days that DACs are balanced, so one must decide if the amplification should be balanced too. In some cases it might make sense, it really depends on your choice of speakers and it's amplification requirements and what amplifiers are available that fit your needs and your budget. If the amplification is single ended often I will make a XLR > RCA cable using a resistor to ground out pin 3 using a resistance value that is the same as the receiving component's input impedance.

Also, as far as cables themselves, it's literally impossible to do a direct comparison of a RCA vs an XLR cable because the gear will favor one or the other depending on it's design.

Elizabeth

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #9 on: 17 May 2019, 11:41 pm »
but... but....  :popcorn:

Added: I want to say it would be worth saying not true... but arguing with folks who are diehard guru types is futile, so I will pass, other than to say take the advice with a grain of salt. I use the balanced outs on my 'not internally fully balanced' gear with no sonic penalty, and mix them (XLR RCA) horror of horrors...  :thumb:
« Last Edit: 18 May 2019, 02:32 pm by Elizabeth »

sresener

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #10 on: 27 May 2019, 08:13 pm »
I have my simaudio mind2 streamer connected to my evo dac via a 3 ft bluejeans coax cable. Which I paid 30.00 cdn for it.
I tried a .5 meter WireWorld Gold Starlight 7 AES/EBU which retails for 435.00 but I paid 170.00 for it. (plus shipping)
And after a couple hundred hours of running the new cable...…. guess what...…….. I think the 30.00 cable sounds just as good if not better.

I guess I was hoping the 1's would be straighter and the 0's would be rounder :)


Speedskater

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #11 on: 27 May 2019, 09:26 pm »
AS Dave pointed out:
Balanced gear should use balanced cables and single ended gear should use single ended cables.

It's not about the cable, it's about the interconnect system.
Output stage >> cable >> input stage.

Balanced interconnect systems can reduce noise (and interference) in longer cable runs well over 10 feet (3 meters) or when the components are powered by different AC systems.

Now it's easy & inexpensive for a circuit designer to make balanced interconnect systems.

Freo-1

Re: xlr cables
« Reply #12 on: 27 May 2019, 10:12 pm »

IF the gear is a truly balanced design (such as current McIntosh gear), then definitely use balanced cables.  Also, if there is a long cable run, balanced is the better option. 


If the gear is single ended design, then there really isn't any real benefit to balanced cables (it shouldn't hurt anything though). 

sresener

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #13 on: 28 May 2019, 02:08 am »
How would you find out if the evolution dac or the simaudio mind two aes port is a true balance?

JackD

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #14 on: 28 May 2019, 02:26 am »
That's not relevant if your talking about connecting the Sim to the Evolution.  In this case it is a wiring standard and I have found that in most cases the AES connection is the best sounding.  You can find an AES/EBU cable from Mogami at $25 up to $1000 from the big name guys. 

RafaPolit

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #15 on: 28 May 2019, 04:18 pm »
Srenser,

I think there is a confussion here.  While both Balanced Audio cables and Digital AES cables use XLR connectors, they are not the same thing.  Connecting the Mind to the EVO via AES is probably no different than using a good 75ohm coaxial cable (not a regular RCA audio interconnect!)

They both use mostly the same SPDIF convention, so that is perfectly fine.  The optical TOSLINK is better at isolating some ground noise, but it is limited in rate (and some say is more prone to jitter?).

But they all carry digital signals... nothing to do with Balanced audio!

Hope this helps,
Rafa.

RafaPolit

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #16 on: 28 May 2019, 04:22 pm »
To the OP question, I really do think that if the equipment has true Balanced specification, it's worth taking advantage of the common noise / hum rejection properties, and the (usually) increased output level.

Both things combined make for a more silent audio to noise ratio and less prone to grabbing up noise in the way.

In a perfect scenario, they probably make little difference.  In real world applications, I like what they bring to the table.

Rafa.

DaveC113

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #17 on: 28 May 2019, 04:41 pm »
but... but....  :popcorn:

Added: I want to say it would be worth saying not true... but arguing with folks who are diehard guru types is futile, so I will pass, other than to say take the advice with a grain of salt. I use the balanced outs on my 'not internally fully balanced' gear with no sonic penalty, and mix them (XLR RCA) horror of horrors...  :thumb:


We're here to optimize our stereo systems, not just hook up stuff any old way without regard to understanding what we're doing and why we're doing it.

Instead of labeling people with stuff like "diehard guru types", which has a derogatory connotation and is a sure sign you have absolutely no intention whatsoever of engaging in a real, meaningful dialogue, why not try treating others with some respect? I've never got anything but derision from you, it continues ad infinitum, and makes this a much less pleasant place to be. If you haven't noticed, this forum is not exactly growing and isn't supporting healthy conversation. Almost no members of industry are willing to post here, and those who have circles here almost NEVER post outside of their circles. Here's why... it's because we get accused of having agendas, all we care about is selling our stuff, etc. and you generally reject information from people with knowledge and experience as a result. It's pretty sad to be honest.

And you claim "no sonic penalty" with nothing to back that up. I can give you real reasons based in fact why this isn't true, it's been written about for decades and yet you still make these claims? I guess anyone with real knowledge has an agenda, something to sell, or are "diehard guru types" that can't be reasoned with.

Honestly, I don't know why I bother, I know I should just stay in my circle and never post any useful information on this forum because when I do, it's people like you that make me regret it.

ketcham

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Re: xlr cables
« Reply #18 on: 28 May 2019, 05:07 pm »
Dave,

I get your frustration.  I also get annoyed when I place a review that I have no benefit other than sharing insight only to be ridiculed by some forum member.  AC is the one of the most friendly forums out there and your initial post was very informative and mirrors my impressions as well. 

I have a OTL/OCL preamp that does have balanced in and outputs.  The balanced output adds in a transformer and frankly looses the sonic benefits of that amplifier.  This was so impressive I sold off some very expensive 10 meter balanced Antipodes reference cable for unbalanced cable from a different manufacturer. 

Balanced cables for balanced components and unbalanced for unbalanced circuit designed components.

For those reading this - running 10 meters of well designed unbalanced cable has no sonic issues.  In fact, what I am using now provided benefit in my system with the favorable shielding inherent to the design of the cable.

I will also state that Dave provides insight for the benefit of the reader.  I wish more designers provided this insight and help us make better decisions while improving our systems.

rustydoglim

Re: xlr cables
« Reply #19 on: 30 May 2019, 08:03 pm »
Ok, let's not overreact to Elizabeth's statement :).  I welcome other industry contributors to participate. I don't post in other circles because I don't have the time.