Balanced XLR to 1/4 TRS verses Unbalanced RCA

If any beginners like myself may be considering changing from standard RCA IC's to XLR balanced, here's my experience and vote. I had a slight, yet, very annoying hum. It came from a large pair of powered monitors used as front mains and connected to a Proceed's AVP2 +6 using RCA pre-outs. The hum effected all channels, although I had to listen closely to hear it. Lisening fatigue creeped in.

I changed out to Mogami Gold with balanced XLR connects to the Preceed pre-outs and TRS 1/4 inch plugs into the monitors. If you haven't read about this, TRS connections are balanced 1/4 inch plugs.

What happened? All perceptable hum disappeared. I thought the SVS Ultra 13 wasn't properly set up and causing listening fatique. No. The fatigue effect was from the elusive low-grade hum using unbalanced RCA IC's.

Without question, everything sounds more balanced, clearer and smoother with more detail. Front-end sources sound like they were upgraded. Friends express the "WOW" effect.

I went all Mogami Gold from B & H Photo. For $350.00, all 18 IC's were redone including DVD-A/SACD multi-channel and the two 20 foot XLR's/TRS front mains IC cables. Most were only the one foot length, perfect for a Tandberg tuner and multi-disk, multi-channel OPPO player.

Recommendation: Try balanced XLR's IC's. Choose a solid company long known for developing music recording industry standards. I could have gone for more exotic IC's, but this matching set sounds great for the price.
Thanks for sharing your findings.

This paper presents a good explanation of why single-ended interconnections are prone to hum and buzz, and some approaches to dealing with these kinds of problems where going balanced is not an option:

The one concern I would have with trs plugs is the reliability of the connection. Hopefully the jacks on the monitors grip tightly.

Also, some people feel that using balanced interconnects to or from equipment that is not "fully balanced" (i.e., that has a differential driver or receiver, but is single-ended internally) can adversely affect sound quality by introducing that extra stage into the signal path.

As usual, there are always tradeoffs!

-- Al