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Do they still offer the balanced upgrade? IIRC the balanced version has an extra circuit board that sits on top of the main board and only ads XLR outputs.I think ARC just provided this so the LS3 could hook to ALL of thier products,as they did make some amps that were XLR only. IMO, you would just be better to buy a balanced version.
Maybe you could find an LS2B which (i think) had XLR ins and outs.
I agree with Jea48's assessment (if you use the input labeled "DIRECT"). Using other inputs will somewhat muffle and degrade the sound. With "Direct", the pre is very nuteral and uncolored, that is why I shutter when people talk about 10,000 preamps sounding better- they just like color!! The LS3 is probably the last line stage you will ever need.