Balanced vs RCA preamp output

I have an Aragon 8008 BB power amp,200 watts /side,the latest generation Rega Planet cd player,Nordost Solar Wind speaker cables.The amp has XLR and RCA inputs.I am looking for a tube preamp to use.How much difference is there between the XLR and the RCA type of preamp output and the other?Some preamps only offer RCA.
If you are doing a particularly long run from preamp to amp the XLR connection will help with not picking up noise. The Aragon BB is I believe a fully balanced amp and would need a fully balanced preamp to take full advantage of the XLR connection. Sometimes there is a gain difference in the two connections and usually but not always the XLR will give more volume. Some amps sound better one way or the other and some sound the same. I do not think the Rega is a balanced Cd player so you may not benefit much if at all with an XLR connection on a regular distance such as 3 meters or less. XLR does give a lot of audiophiles more satisfaction if only in their minds and not necessarily in their ears. I like to use these connections if they are there.
I have numerous true balanced pieces. I have found without exception that they sound best using balanced cables instead of single-ended. Case in point: BAT. I have the VK50SE preamp and the D5SE CD. Another case in point, Levinson, both the 333 and 33H. All of these components came to life with noticeable improvement in sound with balanced use. Don't even consider BAT unless you run fully balanced. Your mileage may vary!

I tend to agree Beemer - the Sonic Frontiers is another case in point. But there are also amps that have balanced connections that are not internally balanced at all. These tend to sound worse when using balanced cables, than with RCA.
Hi Johnny; it appears that you need a dissenting opinion. I have a fully balanced Sonic Frontiers Line 2 pre-amp and fully balanced McCormack DNA-2 Rev. A amp-- both also have RCA outputs. I've tried both balanced (XLR) and the more common RCA, and keep going back to RCA ICs. With XLR, in my system, music became overly dry, detailed, and near analytical, whereas with RCA ICs, music is more liquid, smoother, more coherent, more "rounded". If you can, try them both and see which you prefer. Cheers. Craig.
I would tend to agree with Garfish. I have tried both and am very happy single ended. My Audible Illusions 3A and BEL 1001 MK3A's do not offer the option of balanced, but I have owned balance equipment in the past (Classe CA 300 and CP60) and tried both. Some of the very best equipment out there does not offer balanced so not everyone is completely sold on it. By the way I do run 16 foot interconnect between preamp and power amps. Do try it both ways with your gear and see what your ears tell you. One clear advantage with balanced is you do not need to spend big bucks on interconect as you will hear far less difference with balanced cables than single ended. Then again I do not recommend that anyone spend big bucks on cable anyway. To much snake oil and false advertising, not to mention outrageous price markup in that industry. Have fun with it.
I have to agree with Tswhitsel. Depending on your gear, single-ended may actually sound better than balanced. If you have a noise problem or slight ground loop hum or buzz because of all the gear piled into your audio rack, the balanced interconnects will likely solve this problem. Otherwise, balanced isn't ALWAYS better.
Hmm.. Well, lots of opinions here already, but here's my experience.

Without fully balanced gear, you will not be able to take advantage of what XLR connections are intended to offer.

The presence of an XLR connection does NOT mean that the equipment is fully balanced. You'll only realize the serenely quiet background with fully balanced gear.

If ALL of your gear is fully balanced, you're cheating yourself a bit if you don't use XLR cabling. A fully balanced design is very expensive to execute properly, and if that's what you have, you paid a lot of good money for it. I STRONGLY suggest that you make the most of it.

With regards to cable lengths, XLR is better, but again only a real benefit with fully balanced gear. Many people find that high-quality RCA cabling does an excellent job even over long (8-10 meters) cable runs.

Balanced cabling can help with longer runs, but honestly, you're just transporting all your noise intact from component to component if your gear isn't fully balanced.

And I second TSwhitsel's statement that unlike the single-ended RCA realm, any well-made XLR cable is pretty much as good as any other. BEWARE, though.. There are several makes of inexpensive XLR cables available that are better called "XLR terminated" than balanced, as they don't keep the signals separate and you lose the benefit.
It really depends on the equipment being used as the manufacturer may have put more time, effort and money into developing one connection versus another. Some companies may add XLR inputs/outputs to gain market share but they did not spend the money to make that section of the product as good as it could be whereas the RCA circuit is top of the line. A truly balanced system takes more money to make and if they did it right then XLR is the way to go, but RCA or single ended designs are much easier to get right and thus very common. Just because a component has XLR inputs/outputs does not make it a "balanced" circuit.