Coherence II: balanced or single-ended?

I have a Rowland Coherence II preamp that I run single-ended via XLR to RCA convertors into monoblocks that have only single-ended inputs. Has anyone out there with the Rowland Coherence or Synergy preamps carefully compared their performance in balanced vs. single-ended mode to determine whether these preamps change character depending upon which way they are run? I don't have a balanced amp on hand to try myself.

The sound of some truly balanced components changes quite audibly depending upon whether they are run single-ended or balanced, and I would like to know if this preamp is one of them.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
All the Rowland products are True Differential Balanced not just taking the extra balanced pin and grounding it to the Chassis like almost every other balance piece of equipment.

If you purchased a Rowland amp or a truely balanced amplifier you might hear a benifit but then again I switched back to singled ended because the cables were twice as expensive and the benifit depended on the component synergy. Then I upgraded to the next level in single ended and I'm really happy!

The other reason for going all balanced is when you have grounding problems. I borrowed the Synergy preamp and used it with my Lamm M1.1 and it was pretty amazing... Love the volume control... when I get bored with a tube preamp I'll probably buy the Rowland. I used the Rowland XLR to RCA converters to hook everything up and my system still sounded stellar.

My CD player is suppose to benifit from using the balanced out but once again the cable cost is more than my CD player.. where does the madness stop? The worst part is I can hear that improved upgrade to the next cable level.

You should really state what else is in your system so other people with that same equipment can comment whether those components benifit from using Balanced or Single Ended, because you should either go all balanced or singled ended not mixed

Thank you. I did not list my components precisely because my question pertains only to the Rowland -- whether my Rowland preamp sounds better if my ARC CD3 cd player is connected to it through the ARC's RCA outs or XLR outs (probably not, as the ARC is not truly balanced, I don't believe) is in fact a question about the ARC, not the Rowland. But truly balanced preamps, I presume, require a truly balanced input signal to output a truly balanced signal, correct, and thus cannot be considered in a vacuum? Please excuse my electro-mechanical ignorence.

Let me re-phrase my initial question: assuming (i) that the Rowland can be fed either a truly balanced signal or single-ended signal from the same source component, and that the source component sounds basically the same whether run single-ended or balanced, (ii) that the Rowland is feeding an amp that is truly balanced but can be run single-ended, and the amp has both single-ended and balanced inputs, and the amp sounds basically the same whether run balanced or single-ended, and (iii) the components are connected first in one mode and then in another via interconnects that are offered in both balanced and single-ended form and sound basically the same in either configuration, any difference in the Rowland's sound run balanced or single-ended? I know these components do not function in a vacuum and that the Rowland's sound, and thus the overall sound, will differ if the source component feeding it sounds better run either balanced or single-ended (and, depending upon whether a given interconnect sounds better in its single-ended or balanced version, if it is manufactured both ways). I also understand that a balanced signal tends to be twice the voltage of a single-ended signal. But assuming a truly balanced source component that sounds basically the same whether run single-ended or balanced, and assuming a balanced amp that sounds basically the same whether run single-ended or balanced, i.e., all variables are eliminated, the question is whether the Rowland, if fed a balanced and unbalanced signal of basically equal quality, would sound better one way or the other. Perhaps my question is stupid because the designer would not have chosen balanced unless balanced sounds better, and there are not RCA inputs or outputs on the Coherence II, necessitating the use of convertors (I use the presumably a bit better Cardas-modified rhodium-plated Neutrix convertors over the stock Neutrix convertors), but the pre is said by the owner's manual to operate equally well when run single-ended. So again, the question becomes, if fed a signal that sounds the same whether in truly balanced or single-ended form, and assuming that signal is passed on by the Coherence II to a balanced amp that sounds the same whether run balanced or single-ended, what result?


Wow, let me take a stab at this.
A truley balanced design will sound better than a non differential design whether it is run in singel ended or
balanced configuration, simply because the circutry is is
equal in either mode from input to output, thus rejecting
noise and such. Being fully balanced and runnung with the
XLR connections will yet improve the sound further, boost the signal by 6db, and and reject more noise. (in theory)
I have fully balanced equipment from source to amp and notice a difference when using all balanced cables.
Yes this is after level matching. Just by switching one component to single ended (cd to pre) I hear a difference.
Hope this helps.