In another thread you said Naim cdp's are electronic sounding? Huh?
Now your saying your inexpensive se cables sound better than xlr? Huh?
Going from se to xlr catapalted my system to a whole 'nother level. So much so that I had to sell my se preamp to go to a preamp with xlr connection. If your not getting the same results, something is obviously awry. Perhaps your gear is just providing an xlr connection out of convenience and is not truely balanced.
Why not post your system so we can see what's what?
More detail required. What equipment were you connecting? Were the balanced and single-ended interconnects essentially made from the same materials?
1. The advantages of a balanced interface are significant for long runs in an electromagneticly noisy environment. You probably don't have this situation.
2. Are you sure that your balanced wires are actually functioning in balanced configuration? If one of the signal pins is grounded, what you have is an unbalanced interface via wires that are not optimized for this mode.
Metralla's first sentence says it all. What cables were you using? Were they the same model? What gear was being used?
Even though a product has XLR connections, it may not at all use a balanced circuit topology. For cases where a single-ended signal goes through several additional stages on the input to output just for the sake of driving XLR cables is just plain senseless. Unless there are circuits for each phase, I'd stay with single-end connections.
Thoughts...maybe you are using equipment with lousy balanced cicuits?...I don't see cables causing the woes to ones system are you describing. They are just wire you know:)...
thanks for your responses, My equipment is a Mac C46 into a Mac 252, also have a Mac c2200,used a Monster balanced interconnect...using a Monster rca and analysis plus rca,also use a goldmund rca...using B&Wcm4, Linn Ninkas and Khorns...get the same results no matter what speakers. All I can tell you is what I hear, regarding the Naim cd comment, I spent extensive time with them, didn't hate them per se, just found I preferred a more relaxed sound of the Linn Ikemi vs the ultra dynamic of the Naim.
I like both tube and ss thats why I have both, tried it a few times over different days....same results, with the monster balanced the system goes kind of flat and loses the sparkle...its got me stumped.
follow up I slao have Mac mc275 1V...same result also,rcas sound much better, maybe the Monster balanced cable is just a bad sounding cable, dont know it is the only one I have tried....Also read many comments on this forum from people who haven't heard the gear or casually hear it in a store (with umpteen variables) and make comments....All my comments are from actually owning the gear or hearing it my house for a reasonable time...I have heard quite a bit of gear and found,forget price..you just have to listen.
Just because someone (MacIntosh) offers balanced inputs or outputs doesn't mean their gear really runs balanced. If they (I don't know this to be the case) are just adding another output into the path without the benefits of true balanced circuitry there would be no improvement.
I have heard a lot of equipment and I have found you rarely get what you paid for, and you never get more!
This just proves there are NO absolutes and most opinions---well, are just that.
Noise cancellation is one major benefit to being balanced and most improvements are in this area. To hear what you are hearing would lead me to believe that your equipment at some point is not truly balanced or some other overlooked factor in connections is skewing your results.
Balanced connections in and of themselves will not cause what you are hearing.
Balanced connections will not prove useful if one leg is grounded (as mentioned above.)
My thoughts would be to not conclude that all balanced systems behave as yours. This is certainly not the case. I use balanced equipment in the truest sense of the word and balanced connectors DO improve the performance.
A quick example of equipment with XLR's that is not balanced would be the Sony SCD-1 that a lot of folks like. It is a waste to use balanced connectors with it.
Another example is the Aesthetix Calypso preamp that actually converts single ended to balanced internally not visa versa if you happen to ignore their recommendation and/or have to use single ended.
maybe thats it,maybe the outputs aren't truly balanced, I guess I will call Mac and see what they say...at the very least I would have figured they would sound about the same if that were true, but like you said above there aren't any absolutes
Balanced interfaces is a different subject than complementary circuit topography. There is nothing wrong with generating a balanced line output interface out of non-complementary circuitry so as to exploit the merits of that kind of interface. The suggestion that such a design is almost deceitful is absurd.
The best known example of complementary circuitry is the push-pull power amp output stage, and there is a small army of people saying that single ended is better. But that is the subject of a different thread.
hey lemme@lone,what a pure crap response,this is the 2nd thread in recent weeks where an arogant response was left about a guys gear.
people put alot of time & cash not to mention heart & soul into their rigs & im quite sure that kinda response was not warranted.
superhonestben,i liked the mc252 so much that i went ahead & bought a 2nd mc252 & im running them as monoblocks with the c2200 preamp.
your thread got me wondering so i tried balanced against the rca inputs,there was a huge difference but my experience was the exact oposite,the xlr's not only produced a better & cleaner overall sound but my overall volume increased too with the xlr's.
the volume wasnt just increased either the xlr's raised the level where the amps began to klip,im leaving mine hooked up with xlr's from now on & im using cheapie xlr's too.
i wonder if eldartford called it right & there isnt somthing going on with your interconnects,a cheap way to try another set of xlr's is to go to your local guitar center & pick up a set,usually around $15 or $20 for a 3ft pair.
BTW,i love the mc252 c2200 combo,i went from a mc500 to running the 2 mc252's as monoblock's & im extremly satisfied as they are very musical amps with big balls too!
It looks like you have tried only the Monsters in the XLR balanced configuration. Quality of connectors and the care taken in the soldering process are also important factors in the audio fidelity of the cable. Perhaps Monster doesn't use a quality connector or doesn't have their soldering process up to the same standard as on their RCA terminations. Or maybe you just got a bad set of cables (?)
The other explanations about a truly balanced circuit vs. a "quasi-balanced circuit", as others have posted, also applies.
Hey BigJoe thanks for counting, but I am only pointing out that cable differences are most likey not the cause of such dramatic loss of listenability as described.
On the other hand, it does not suprise me that using balanced vs single ended on a particuliar setyup is like listening to a completely different system.
Arrogent, give me a break!:)
About a year and a half ago when I was using a BAT preamp and amp, I compared a single ended interconnect to a balanced one that were the same exact model and from the same manufacturer and could not perceive any difference.
It was suggested to me in these forums that it was possible the so called balanced intereconnect was not a true balanced design. This would seem to go back to the second point in Eldartford's response regarding the grounding pin.
About the grounded pin in the "balanced" interconnect...I am no genius to think of this. I just had it happen to me, fortunately in only one of two channels, so the gain difference was obvious.
When you convert from singled ended to balanced out(using a non balanced circuit topology), depending on which method is employed by the manufacturer, it is possible that it could lead to inferior sound with the use of that connection. In the example of the Sony, most will agree the SCD-1 does not sound as good through its XLR out but better through the RCA's. Part of this can be blamed on the way Sony has executed this specific output conversion.
Using XLR for simply lowering noise levels in such short runs of cable(1 meter or so) is questionable and unless it was in an awfully poluted enviroment, probably wouldn't accomplish much in absolute terms. This is exactly why I think some have said they received better sound from RCA connections (and I don't doubt it.)
Simply terminating equipment for the sake of having XLR's is questionable in my opinion unless longer runs of cable are implemented where some advantage could possibly be obtained. The conversion process does run the probability of some sonic degradation just as adding anything extra into a circuit(such as even an additional solder connection.)
In talking with Ayre and a few others, genuine balanced circuitry is improved with XLR's. Ayre uses what is the equivalent of 4 amplifiers in the V5x. Each channel uses a mirror imaged pair of amplifiers. Each side of the balanced connector is fed to one amp. One amps output is connected to positive, the other to negative speaker terminal. One amp produces half of the wave, the other the other half since in actuality there is no + or - on AC output, only phase difference. (Speaker terminals are labeled + or - so they may be oriented with the other channel so both are in the same electrical phase relationship) There is no chassis ground for the interconnects either single ended or XLR.
Mixing down the two channels via single ended would degrade the sound and Ayre indicates this. It certainly isn't hard to hear on my part.
At any rate, I suppose each person, with their associated equipment, must decide if it is worthwhile. What I have stated above is why I think there's so much variability on this subject.
Bigjoe, glad you lie your 2200/252 I know I like mine,might try another 252 too, anyway obviously I need to try another xlr cable,cheap and easy to do,just need to get to a guitar center.
In my current system balanced sounds best. I'm sure that in many syatems single ended sounds best. Just need to experiment between the two because it varies from system to system. There is no "universal" best.