Balanced Versus not Balanced

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Ray Bronk

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Balanced Versus not Balanced
« on: 3 Feb 2011, 05:23 am »
Hi, Well, I've been looking at this Circle withinterest. If I'm not asking to much, are your amps fully balanced, or just using a transformer at the inputs? I've heard the debate back and forth for balanced versus not. Balanced would obviously be good in a Studio setting where it's important to keep the grounds separate from signal ground. Ok, understood. But how does this apply in a home setting? Is there that much of a sound difference between the balance and non balanced? Are your adapters just omitting the one terminal, and just hooking this up like a regular RCA connector? Why not just have an RCA connector mounted alongside the balanced cannon connector? I wouldn't think three inches of wire is gonna make that much of a difference versus some adapter.

So Tommy when you gonna come out with a "Digital" Preamp of your own?

Ray Bronk

AmpDesigner333

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #1 on: 6 Mar 2011, 12:00 pm »
Ray,

Cherry amps have true balanced inputs.  There is no transformer input coupling.  There is a difference in the sound since true balanced connections tend to be quieter --- less noise from interference, etc.  Our adapters have two parts.  One part lifts the ground and this part is removable in case the preamp has grounding issues.  We find that true balanced connections are more reliable and devices with balanced connections, such as preamps,  tend to be of higher quality.

We have plans to make a preamp someday, but other amps will be first.

Thanks for your interest.

Best Regards,
Tommy

Ray Bronk

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Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #2 on: 6 Mar 2011, 01:21 pm »
Ray,

Cherry amps have true balanced inputs.  There is no transformer input coupling.  There is a difference in the sound since true balanced connections tend to be quieter --- less noise from interference, etc.  Our adapters have two parts.  One part lifts the ground and this part is removable in case the preamp has grounding issues.  We find that true balanced connections are more reliable and devices with balanced connections, such as preamps,  tend to be of higher quality.

We have plans to make a preamp someday, but other amps will be first.

Thanks for your interest.

Best Regards,
Tommy

Thanks Tommy. So what preamp do you currently use yourself with your amps?

Ray Bronk

mojave

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Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #3 on: 7 Mar 2011, 03:36 pm »
Tommy mentioned in this post that he was using an Audio Research SP-9.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #4 on: 6 Feb 2018, 08:00 pm »
Is there that much of a sound difference between the balance and non balanced?

Great question, I have recently explored this issue and posted my findings here...

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=155498.0  :thumb:

Speedskater

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  • Kevin
Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #5 on: 6 Feb 2018, 09:14 pm »
Note that there are:
a] Balanced interconnect systems and they have a balanced output stage >> balanced cable >> balanced input stage.
b] Totally balanced components (with each stage a balanced circuit) this can be a good design engineer choice.

But a balanced cable to a RCA input is nether of these, it's just an unbalanced interconnect system and a coax cable would be a better choice.
On the other hand a unbalanced RCA output >> balanced cable >> balanced XLR input is a good idea.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #6 on: 6 Feb 2018, 09:28 pm »
My Pass amp and Parasound A21 amp sound slightly better with XLR in a fully balanced system.  I use to own a Cambridge Audio 840c CDP and it sounded better when connected via XLR.  It depends upon the gear and cables used.  I have 3 different brands of XLR cables and they all sound different-

Cardas Parsec, Audioquest Colombia 72v DBS and Belden 8402 XLR's.

The rest of my system is a BAT preamp and a balanced Luxman DAC

Of course as always, YMMV.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #7 on: 7 Feb 2018, 01:14 am »
It depends upon the gear and cables used.  I have 3 different brands of XLR cables and they all sound different-

Cardas Parsec, Audioquest Colombia 72v DBS and Belden 8402 XLR's.

There seems to be a lot of praise for the Belden 8402 but quite frankly as an IC, I think it is extremely overrated, and very poor quality as far as SQ is concerned.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #8 on: 7 Feb 2018, 01:31 am »
There seems to be a lot of praise for the Belden 8402 but quite frankly as an IC, I think it is extremely overrated, and very poor quality as far as SQ is concerned.

The AQ and Belden sound better than the Cardas Parsec.  The belden has a very black background and is very detailed.  It just gets out of the way.  The AQ Colombia DBS is similar but has a bit less bass but it tames sibilants very well without sounding rolled off.  The 8402 is a hidden gem for XLR.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #9 on: 7 Feb 2018, 02:41 am »
The 8402 is a hidden gem for XLR.

"Compared to the unbalanced TEO cables, the Belden balance cables sound tonally emasculated, lacking body, texture and tone; they are steely, harsh, incomplete, lacking presence. The net result is emotionally devoid and disengaging."

You can read the full account here... http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=155498.0


I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #10 on: 7 Feb 2018, 03:45 am »
"Compared to the unbalanced TEO cables, the Belden balance cables sound tonally emasculated, lacking body, texture and tone; they are steely, harsh, incomplete, lacking presence. The net result is emotionally devoid and disengaging."

You can read the full account here... http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=155498.0

I don't doubt that the Beldens are out classed.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #11 on: 7 Feb 2018, 06:03 am »
I don't doubt that the Beldens are out classed.

The difference between those two cables is tantamount to comparing a modern SOTA DAC to an early entry level CDP.

mfsoa

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #12 on: 7 Feb 2018, 01:28 pm »
One big advantage of balanced into Tommy's amps is that you don't need the RCA to XLR adapter.

I have heard big differences between them, which tells me that even the good ones (I have used Cardas) are most likely be causing harm.

-Mike



I.Greyhound Fan

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #13 on: 7 Feb 2018, 03:30 pm »
One big advantage of balanced into Tommy's amps is that you don't need the RCA to XLR adapter.

I have heard big differences between them, which tells me that even the good ones (I have used Cardas) are most likely be causing harm.

-Mike

Before I went all XLR I used XLR adapters.  I bought a pair of cardas adapters and some cheap ones from a local music store and I can't hear a lick of difference between the adapters.  The cardas were a total waste of money.  I still have to use them for my phono preamp to my BAT preamp.

Speedskater

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Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #14 on: 7 Feb 2018, 04:32 pm »
The difference between those two cables is tantamount to comparing a modern SOTA DAC to an early entry level CDP.
I think that your hi-fi system set-up has a real problem.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #15 on: 7 Feb 2018, 05:57 pm »
One big advantage of balanced into Tommy's amps is that you don't need the RCA to XLR adapter.

Well that would be true if I was willing to slum with inferior sound quality.

Quote
I have heard big differences between them, which tells me that even the good ones (I have used Cardas) are most likely be causing harm.

I'm not sure I follow what you are saying?

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #16 on: 7 Feb 2018, 05:57 pm »
Before I went all XLR I used XLR adapters.  I bought a pair of cardas adapters and some cheap ones from a local music store and I can't hear a lick of difference between the adapters.  The cardas were a total waste of money.  I still have to use them for my phono preamp to my BAT preamp.

Thank you - that is helpful.  :D

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #17 on: 7 Feb 2018, 05:59 pm »
I think that your hi-fi system set-up has a real problem.

Yeah that must be the problem. Fortunately I have solved the problem by removing the reprehensible weak link.  :lol:

Speedskater

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Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #18 on: 7 Feb 2018, 07:46 pm »
Yeah that must be the problem. Fortunately I have solved the problem by removing the reprehensible weak link.  :lol:
Belden 8402 (and similar) are not the weak links in any audio chains.  Many of the best classical music concert hall recording are made using these cables and that's with lengths up to 100 meters (300 feet).
Look for your problem elsewhere.

Wind Chaser

Re: Balanced Versus not Balanced
« Reply #19 on: 7 Feb 2018, 08:47 pm »
That cable "might" be okay as microphone cable, but as a high end home audio interconnect cable it is garbage. Try some real cables and hear the difference for yourself.