Do balanced/symmetrical phono cables really exist?



Hi,

I play, or try to play, with a balanced Blue Amp 42 with symmetrical inputs so I need a symmetrical phono interlink to get the best result (playing with a non-balanced interlink would mean a loss of 6 dB gain). So I go look look for a symmetrical interlink. I mail a well known cable cooker in the Netherland, where I live, and ask him about his balanced phono interlinks. The answer I get is roughly as follows:

'to be honest, my symmetrical interlink isn't really symmetrical. It has the same construction as an RCA/ cinch cable. The only difference is that it has xlr-connectors.

At he moment I'm using a Kimber 1230 phono cable with xlr-connectors and I am pretty sure that this one is non-symmetrical as well, just xlr-connectors because I don't seem to get enough gain from my phono-pre.

What's your stand on this, do symmetrical phono interlinks exist or are we all being fooled bij the manufacturers?

Jos
alabaster
I'm not sure what you mean by symmetrical. From reading your post, it looks like another way to say balanced. I'll assume thats the case.

As far as phono cartridges go, they are balanced by design. There may be some exceptions, but I'm not aware of any. The tone arm cables can be terminated balanced or single ended. If its terminated balanced, it should be true balanced, not just attaching an xlr connector to component or cable that is not balanced by design.

As far as the interconnects go, you are correct in that not all cables are balanced even if they are terminated with xlr connectors. If you have fully balanced equipment, you need to make sure your cables are fully balanced as well. The cable should have 3 separate conductors or 2 separate conductors and a drain wire. Anything less than that and you don't have a fully balanced cable.
A few true balanced Phono preamps exist. i own one. Audio Research PH-2
It has XLR in and out.
ANY balanced XLR cable can work. Whether any are 'made' just for those few/rare balanced phono inputs I do not know.
PS if you are asking about the 'from cartridge' to RCA OR XLR.. it does NOT matter as either one has the exact same voltage, not doubled as in any other use..
The cart puts out the exact same voltage whether it is connected via RCA OR XLR.
Only powered devices using XLR provide a doubling of the power output using XLR instead of RCA.
(not phono cartridges)
I am using balanced cables from the cartridge into the speakers...everything is balanced. The result is absolutely dead quiet backgrounds...wonderful sound. The tonearm should be wired to accept balanced connection...some are from the factory and some are not.
Thanks for your reactions.

i just had a phonecall from a firm that makes audio cables and they told me that due to the Tac connection on the output of the arm, it is not possible to use a balanced interlink. It would be sufficient to use an RCA interlink with tac/din to xlr connectors. The pre, they said, will take care of the rest.

It is becoming a bit confusing, to be honest.

Jos
If I correctly remember , Atlas cables make or call some they interlinks symmetrical http://www.atlascables.com/interconnects-main.html
"i just had a phonecall from a firm that makes audio cables and they told me that due to the Tac connection on the output of the arm, it is not possible to use a balanced interlink. It would be sufficient to use an RCA interlink with tac/din to xlr connectors. The pre, they said, will take care of the rest.

It is becoming a bit confusing, to be honest."

Call a different cable company. There's absolutely no reason why you can't go fully balanced if you want to. There's plenty of equipment out there and you should have no problem putting something together. If you need help from a very good retailer, call The Cable Company. I have been doing business with them for years and find them to be extremely honest and reputable. They have just about anything you could possibly want, in any price range. They will even send stuff out to you to demo before you buy anything from them.
Assuming that a "TAC" connection on the tonearm is the same as a five-pin DIN, the tonearm is as balanced as it can be. Verify with an ohm meter that each conductor from the four cartridge clips is a discrete wire. The shield should be #5.

Elizabeth, don't let go of that balanced ARC PH-2, particularly if modified with better coupling caps, better rail filtering caps, Schottky rectifier diodes, and TX2575 or TF020 resistors at input. After those modifications it's the best MM/MI phono stage I have heard.
Dgarretson: agree.. I find with a good power conditioner it is really a superior unit, stock. I may look into getting it modded.
Funny how a lack of a TAS glowing review made it a has been in the used market.
Rare too. Few and far between in Audiogon ads..
I have a BMC MCCI phono stage that only allows balanced inputs. My turntable has RCA outputs. The manual for this unit is very explicit and will help you. Go to Aaudioimports.com and find BMC and MCCI. The manual is available there.
Yes. Jelco JAC-506 is just one example.