I'd opt for balanced myself. Ralph at Atma-Sphere says balanced cables don't influence sound like unbalanced, and are less affected by distance.
That is correct that some balanced designs don't support the 600 ohm standard.
i presently use balanced cables in my system because I have 2 meter cables from my dac to my pre and also from my pre to pwr amps.I have noticed a quieter noise floor vs rca cables in my system.You may need to try some balanced cables in your system and see.There is really not a right or wrong way to this subject it just depends on what works the best for you.If you are using rca cables longer than 2 meter or so you probably would want to use balanced if possible.
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The Oppo 205 is claimed to be fully, i.e., dual differential, balanced. I may use a passive switch for sharing a balanced input between the Sony HAP and the 205 until I get a KX-5 Twenty that has additional balanced inputs.
Can someone explain why handling a 600 ohm load is a critical factor for making cables used in balanced lines sonically a non-issue? It's not related to CMRR then, right?These days 600 ohms is no longer the standard (although since transformers are still often used, its still around) although there is the expectation that the connection will have a low impedance input of 2000 ohms or less.
The reason for this is that if any noise is induced in the cable, it is usually a weak source (like a magnetic field) compared to the actual signal. So it does not have the same ability to drive the input load like the signal does. Its a simple means of 'swamping' noise out and has the added benefit of reducing the effect of capacitance in the cables.
600 ohms is still used, on account of the fact that there is still a lot of vintage professional gear in service, in fact many studios like to advertise that they have such (tube) equipment. So usually modern gear is designed to support that operation in the studio. We built that capacity into our balanced preamps as well.