Balanced Cables


Been in this hobby for approx. 3 years now and have always used RCA interconnects. However, I just purchased an ARC LS15 preamp which also has balanced input/output connectors. I am probably wrong but I don't recall seeing balanced cables for sale on the Gon. I need some education on these cables...and where is the best place to purchase these cables ? Thx
sympaticonorm
Cables with XLR connectors are balanced cables.
Most cable companies will offer a balanced version of their interconnects,if not most will custom make one for you if you ask.
You can get your feet wet cheaply by purchasing a pair of XLR cables from Blue Jeans. They're not fancy or expensive, just solidy built and sound pretty good too, especially for the money.

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/
If I remember correctly, the balanced input of the LS15 is the "direct in" input. This input always sounded best when I used an LS15. You definitely want to try the balanced inputs and outputs.
Sympatico,

The LS15 is a truly balanced circuit which, when used with other balanced gear, can give you common mode noise rejection benefits.

Do you have a CD player with a balanced XLR output, or amplifier with XLR in? If so, than you might consider running balanced cables.

A balanced cable has 3 identical conductors which terminate to the 3 pins you see on the XLR connector. PIN 1 is GROUND (same as the outer ring on an RCA plug), PIN 2 is the normal SIGNAL (same as the center pin on an RCA plug), and PIN 3 is a an INVERTED SIGNAL.

Many cables that are terminated with unbalanced RCA's have the necessary internal conductors to be reterminated with XLR's.
I have seem plenty of XLR interconnects for sale here on Audiogon. There are some written articles that contend that XLR is only superior to RCA when the interconnect lengths are 10ft or more. Anyone else read or hear anything such as this? I think there may have been a thread here a while back.
There is a great misconception that balanced cables are superior to single ended, in a sysytem that requires a very long interconnect a balanced cable may be quieter then single ended but this may not always be the case. Even if your electronics are a truly balanced designed does not mean it will perform superior with balanced cables. I have tried both and have always preferred singled ended cables. I suggest you audition any cables before making a decision. Do not evaluate the cables as parts, example, bass, treble, soundstage ect. listen to the music as a whole.
Mike
Cables with XLR connectors are balanced cables.

A balanced cable has 3 identical conductors which terminate to the 3 pins you see on the XLR connector. PIN 1 is GROUND (same as the outer ring on an RCA plug), PIN 2 is the normal SIGNAL (same as the center pin on an RCA plug), and PIN 3 is a an INVERTED SIGNAL.

The above descriptors of balanced cables are not strictly true. XLR connectors do not alone mean the cable is balanced.

A balanced cable has 2 identical conductors (along with a shield) which terminate to the 3 pins you see on the XLR connector. PIN 1 is GROUND (same as the outer ring on an RCA plug, and is connected to the shield), PIN 2 is the normal SIGNAL (same as the center pin on an RCA plug), and PIN 3 is a an INVERTED SIGNAL.

You may think this is just semantics, but this misunderstanding led me to purchase an Origin Live Silver tonearm with XLR connectors, thinking this was a balanced design. After chasing down a hum in my system, it was due to the single-ended tonearm cable design (a single conductor wrapped with a shield) terminated with XLR connectors. Trust me, there is a difference. Do not assume a cable terminated with XLR connectors is a balanced design.
I have always found I preferred single ended, whenever I have tried the comparison. Something appeared to be missing with balanced. It seemed like there was less palpability of images.
If you didn't prefer the balanced cable, may I ask if your source and target components were fully-balanced in design (note - simply having an XLR connector does not imply a fully-balanced design).

Just curious.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Even with truly balanced equipment like Sonic Frontiers I preferred single ended more often than not.
A circuit is designed either balanced or unbalanced but most can accomodate the other. A circuit will always sound the best running it the way it was designed...that is a balanced design will work best balanced, and a single ended design will work best single ended. It is best also to use the same configuration throughout - that is balanced turntable (xlr connections)and/or cd player to balanced preamp, to balanced amp.