Several months ago I attempted use a 14 ft. run of unbalanced cable in system. I would get periodic hum, probably from some electrical interference. My preamp and amp both were also equipped for balanced operation. So, I tried it. I didn't have time to go looking for audiophile quality balanced cable. So, I had a company that specializes in building recording studios make me up a set. I have a bi-amped system so I needed three pairs of cables using high quality Neutrik terminators and Mogami cable (total less than $75.00). I was floored by the difference. I can now turn my preamp to full gain and I cann't hear a thing coming from my speakers without a signal: absolutely no hum or hiss. The noise floor was much much lower than with the unbalanced set-up. There is probably a ton of RF interference in my room, and it doesn't phase my system one bit. According to the recording engineer who made the cable, you get more gain and far superior shielding from rf interference with a balanced set up. I also have yet to hear anything to convince me that I need to upgrade my cable. In fact I've taken my amp and preamp to dealers to demo various insanely priced unbalanced cable against my balanced runs, and I have yet to hear any that sound cleaner or better. All things being equal, balanced operation should never sound worse than unbalanced.