Ayre CX-7- Better balanced or RCA?

I'm a very happy new owner of an Ayre CX-7 CD Unit, and I'm running single ended cables from the Ayre to my Sim P-5 Preamp currently.

Though I've read reviewer's opinions that this unit sounds better via the balanced outputs, I thought I'd seek opinions of my fellow Audiogoner's.

I have to say yes balanced does sound superior although of course it is louder than RCA which can be misleading.

I wouldn't hesitate but try a cheap pair of XLR's if your preamp allows them.
CX-7 into Pass X1/X150. No significant diff.. Same cardas cable diff only in XLR/RCA. 1M run. Both Ayre & Pass claim improved performance in XLR. My ears may be broken but so be it.
Congratulations! On your purchase of an Ayre CX-7. I own one myself, and for me, running balanced and in the listen mode is the only way to fly. I've played with different combo's of cables and switching back and forth between the listen and measured mode, and kept going back to XLR's. My wife, who's ears I trust says their's no comparison for her, she perfers the XLR's also. What do I hear? Most apparent, is the " Air " around the instruments and vocals, second is the sound stage, in my system it's deeper, with more space. And thirdly, Bass is deeper, much more defined. But most of all, more musically enjoyable. PS You might not get too much of this good stuff on cheap XLR's, ( Absolutely, no offense to The Post above.) I would try to borrow a decent pair of XLR's and A-B them for yourself on a long weekend. Then decide!
Good Luck on your Sonic Quest
I have not heard the Ayre player, but I would say "Yes, always" run balanced if you can. In my system with Pass Aleph mono amps, Quad 989 speakers and Muse Model 10 digital player, I hear the difference. Same results in the past with other equipment. The only time I run single-ended is when I want to listen to some of my old tube amps.

Good luck,
I have a CX-7, too, and love it. Ayre recommends Cardas cables w/ XLR termination for their products (as they're internally wired w/ Cardas, and they've found them most compatible) or their own interconnects, which are expensive, but excellent- basically, Cardas cable (probably neutral reference design, but I'm not sure) modified by Cardas in manufacture, specifically for Ayre gear. Call Ayre if you have any questions about it- their customer service is excellent, beyond compare, in my opinion.

In any case, in my opinion, go w/ XLR terminations if you can, regardless of cable brand.
CX-7 owners, which CDP´s did you audition before you decided on the Ayre? TIA
Comparably-priced/"ranked" Naim and Arcam units. I found the Ayre player to have a richer, livelier, more detailed presentation than either of the others.