I'm Getting Unbalanced About Balanced

It was my understanding that having XLR/Balanced cabling was the ultimate goal for any high end system for all the reasons we've read about. But now I'm told that even though some equipment "accepts" Balanced they aren't necessarily "truly balanced". Therefore negating the benefits...How would I determine this? And if I add high end RCA cabling to my system am I wasting my money?
It all depends on which components you have.
Some components are fully balanced, while others are not.
Some components sound better using single ended RCAs while some components sound better with XLR balanced.
It is all very component (and sometimes system) specific.

You need to read the manufacturers literature to see if a component is truly balanced.

You are not necessarily wasting your money by going with RCSs. Some components do sound better run with single ended RCSs.

What are your components?
If you are unsure if a component is truly balanced or not go to the source, ask the manufacturer if it is balanced or merely accepts XLR inputs. Either way it will make a difference with different cables be it single ended(rca) or balanced- best thing is to try a few in your system and find what you like best- and that's simple now with so many companies offering in home trial, just let the cable settle in your system and burn in for a few days of constant play before you judge it.
Some components are balanced from input to output and some are not.....and it may make no difference. It depends more on the company that made it and how well they executed the design. For example:

Krell's KRC-HR may be one of the best preamps ever made, and many people feel it even betters the new KCT. The KCT is balanced from input to output while the KRC-HR is not. Also, as with all, or at least most, of the Krell products, the KRC-HR sounds much better when running balanced.

ALSO, I have been very curious about the people on this web site that say the Sony SCD-1 sounds better running single ended. If that is true, I would not see it's full potential in my all Krell system. This is one of the reasons that I haven't purchased it....yet.
Comments appreciated.

Some times using balanced cables in a system that isn't truly balanced can be benefitial (very long runs and/or in nasty environments). Other times the conversion from single to balanced and/or visa-versa just adds another stage of potential compromise. Theorticaly the best situation should be a complete truly balanced system. How critical this is, is dabateble.
Dr. Diamond the Sony SCD-1 isn't truly balanced output Sony took the cheap route and simply added a op amp to achieve a balanced signal.
Thanks for the input and info. I have Levinson 23 amps and Levinson 26 pre going to Martin Logan Monolith III's w/active x-over. Played off a Linn.Using Levinson ic's now.
All components are balanced, but some are more balanced than others.
Hi Mejames, there is really no such thing as a "truly balanced" output from a digital player. There is only one signal per channel stored on the disc, so every player that has a balanced output has to create the inverted signal to achieve a balanced output.

Some players do this in the digital domain and then have separate dacs for the inverted and non inverted signals. Some do it in the analog domain using op-amps or some other analog inverter.

I also agree with Unsound and question the statement in the original post that balanced is the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is good sound. I don't think balanced operation is a prerequisite to get it.
The SET crowd would certainly question whether balanced is the end goal.

I remain,
Herman, balanced and single-ended only apply to analog signals. It is perfectly possible for a CD player or D/A converter to have truly balanced analog output signals.

Balanced has its virtues, but it has a downside of requiring a doubling of amplifier circuitry. This adds to the complexity and cost of a component. It's not at all clear that balanced signals are truly superior to unbalanced designs.