2 questions

1) XLR connections.... i have read about " true balanced" and just xlr.. something about the connection having a direct path to the xlr. i have also read that not all xlr are truly balanced some are just the connection. how can i know for sure what is what?

2) would it make a difference between a truly balanced xlr connection from a shielded rca connection at 5 feet in length?

here is the reason. i have xlr cables.... i have an them statement p5 amp.... is the amp even truly balanced? i was looking into a processor for the home theater.

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I've been using balanced cables for many years in both pro audio and (more recently) hifi stuff. Even if the results aren't truly balanced, they're a better design. Period. They lock into place, they're easier to handle, often have better shielding, you're less likely to touch and contaminate the connections, and I like them...they make me happy. Now if we could get rid of phone plugs and replace everything with Neutriks made in Liechtenstein.
No need to find out. Use 'em. For a 5' cable, it will make no difference.