Balanced versa single-ended

What is the general consensus (if there is one) on balanced versa single ended operation for gear that supports both?
If all of your components are balanced (source, pre-amp, amp), but you connect everything (or just source let’s say) as single ended, what do you lose if anything?
Here is my dilemma. All my components are balanced and connected that way. I want to move to passive pre-amp whose cost is significantly less for single ended version. My source is Wadia 581 player. What will I lose if I connect Wadia to pre-amp using single ended interconnects, and connect pre-amp to the amp with single ended as well?
I was not able so far to assess this myself due to lack of interconnects, so I was wondering if anyone has done such comparison of moving from balanced to single ended?
If the passive pre can be gotten on an 'in home trial' that will settle things for you entirely.

I've had both types of systems... I went from balanced to SE not long ago.... The one item I need to mention is my source (s) even during the use of an all balanced power train, remained the exact same, and were used in SE config.

So pre to amp (s) was balanced... source to pre was unbalanced.

When I migrated into all SE I first replaced the preamp, but kept the amp... and used adapters. Noise was not at that point an issue. the sound quality was very much improved upon as the preamp change out was a substantial one. I was very happy at that point.

Then I decided to go all tubes in the power train, and replaced the SS XLR amp with SE Tube monos. So I did. I also replaced the speakers as well.. the speaker change was a significant step up without question and provided greater eff ratings too.

Now with tube monos and a tube pre, far more eff speakers, yet the same source... noise still is a non issue though somewhat more noticeable than the half and half sys... along the way from all XLR to all SE... some greater noise was present... so greater attendance to tube selection is of greater import.

I can't stress enough though, the detected 'noise' level? Was a minor tradeoff. Never does it interfere with the music. In fact in my rig, the only time I can now detect it is by getting very, close to the speakers and only THEN DURING SILENT (no music) interludes.

From my LP, again, it's a non thing for me, as the overall imcreases to the presentation far and away offset the meager increase in near nondetectable 'noise'. IMHO.

I'd be more worried about matching the input - output impedance of the preamp - amp matching.... and again with the sources too. Ask the maker of the amp about it's synergy with passive preamps.... but noise? That is a more subjective item.

Good luck.
I was always skeptical of the superiority of Balanced cabling in the area of noise reduction.My Audio Horizons pre amp and my Cary V12 have XLR and SE connectors.I swithched to balanced,for comparison and never went back,whatever floor noise there was is now non detectable.My source does not have XLR connectors so it remains an SE connection to the pre amp.
In my opinion it can have more to do with the manufactuers design of the gear you own than any difference in the cable types, contact them for their opinion.
Balanced operation does indeed offer lower noise as well as greater interconnect cable immunity. You are not likely to get all that with a passive system though- part of the balanced standard is that it operates at lower impedances, something that is a bit of a weak point with passive volume controls.

Usually with a Wadia you are better off with a good quality balanced line stage between it and the power amps, if you want to do it properly. Set the output level switches to the lowest setting, and set the Wadia's volume control at 100.

Brianmgrarcom is correct, some of the benefit of balanced operation comes from the equipment itself, it not just a cable thing!
I am not sure I understand what you are suggesting?
When you say I am better off with a good quality balanced line stage between Wadia and the power amps, are you still referring to passive one?
If so, I can have Placette RVC in balanced configuration, would that one qualify as good quality?
And what would I accomplish with setting output level switches on Wadia to the lowest setting?
I intend to have Wadia’s volume control at 100% no matter what, that is why I want to attenuate volume on passive RVC that as is transparent as possible.
Sashav, I am in fact suggesting that you will want an active line stage. Otherwise you will trade one problem (the loss of resolution as you reduce volume in the Wadia) for another (loss of bass impact and a change in tonality as you reduce volume with a passive).

There is another active thread on this topic: It happens to be a fact that if you have a good balanced active line stage, that interjecting it between the Wadia and the amplifiers will actually get **greater** transparency with no tradeoffs.

I've seen this so often that you'd think it would be in a manual somewhere, but it isn't...