Sony SCD-1 balanced or unbalanced?

hello which sounds better unbalanced or balanced? Also could use some preamp recommendations probably tubes for the Sony SCD-1 source.
I've been experimenting with this very topic with my SCD-1. In all honesty I can not hear any difference at all! The three cables I've been able to use are NBS Statement, FIM Gold and Nordost Valhalla. In each case the signal (within brands)sounded exactly the same to me. I'm not prepared to tell wich cable I like best and for what reason, but I can say the FIM is third.

I too would like to hear any thoughts on tube pre-amps. The Conrad-Johnson 16&17 are two I would like to hear about.
Balanced cable/CKT can get rid of common mode noise in the CKT(most likely from power line) and RF noise in the air. If you alrady have a stable power line/cable and clean air (free from RF noise), then you probably won't tell the difference. Usually people need it for long cable or in an electronically noisy enviroment.

Balanced cable should have better shielding from RF stuff. On the other hand, things like fiber optic won't be bothered by RF also. Use differential amplification and/or have a good power supply can reduce noise level and have better result.

For me, my preamp is single-ended so I put preamp close to my power amp and keep IC short. Of course, power conditioning will help. For those who has balanced preamp..., you can keep your components far apart with balance calbes and don't have to suffer from noise from air.
My SCD-1 is used with RCA's. It is noise free running straight to a standard wall outlet. I could not detect any change using balanced connectors, which I A/B tested on a Classe DR5 pre-amp. Regarding tube products, the SCD-1 is connected to a Hovland HP-100 preamp. The amplifier is a Mac MC2000 (both tube products that have a grain free sound with great resolution & dynamics). The speakers I've used on this combo are watt/puppy 6.0's and ML Prodigy's. Both sound terrific and have their own separate strengths. I just recently changed to a Pro Silway MKII between the SCD-1 & the Hovland. This is a great combo beating Cardas Neutral References and numerous other Audioquest & Alpha Core cables. I tried a Pro Silway between the Hovland & Mac with zero sucess. The sound was extremely flat. I am waiting on a Alpha Core TQ to test in place of the Pro Silway on the SCD-1 and to test between the amp & preamp. I have found silver interconnects, or combo silver/copper IC's to work best. The Pro Silways are quite remarkable between the SCD-1 & preamp. Great dynamics & resolution with no grain. Of course, poor recordings cannot be overcome by any component or cable.
Jadem6, you are correct, in your case. No doubt if you're using expensive (and very good sounding, I might add) cables, you are also paying attention to clean power, keeping interconnects away from power cords, etc. You will not hear any differnce between RCA and balanced -- unless you go past 2 meters, in which case balanced will begin to preform better for a variety of reasons. Also balanced MAY be less subject to power problems as Bluefin has noted. To that, I might add that ther may be a synergy between certain types of cables and components and the balanced/unbalanced question will become part of that complex, black art equation. In your case, RCA sounded jsut the same, so it is! Others, with different preamp/amp combos may find exactly the opposite, so I'm sure this debate will never go away. In my case, RCAs from my SCD-1 to my Placette line stage EASILY outperformed a fully balanced set of NBS cables into a Classe PD-60. But it wasn't the cables, it was the preamp that made the differnce -- the Placette was clearly superior -- the cables made the A/B easy because they just got out of the way -- and it didn't matter whether they were balanced or not. However my runs were short (1 meter) so your mileage may differ. --Lorne
I am using singled-ended with my SCD-1. To me I really do
not see why I need to use XLR connections because my SCD-1
and pre-amp are on the same rack. XLR is designed for very
long cable runs, e.g., from microphone to recording console.
For usual high-end equipments I do not see the point of using XLR or fully balanced circuitry. (If your pre-amp is three blocks away, then you should definitely use XLR.)
On the other hand I am using the Transcendent Grounded Grid
pre-amp with SCD-1 and I am very happy about it. I would suggest you give GG a try, and you can even build it yourself for $500! Several months ago when I was looking for a tube pre-amp to match my system, I was thinking about
Audible Illusion Mod 3A, and ARC LS-25, but finally I choosed GG by the very obvious reason: $$. My current system consists of:
Front end: Sony SCD-1
Pre-Amp: Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid
Power Amp: McIntosh MC-275 Gordon Gow
Speakers: Quad 989
I found that with my SCD-1 that running balanced, the unit was very inferior and sounded much better when run with single ended cables.
It seems the SCD-1 doesn't have a true balanced output, instead it is converted from the unbalanced one by some additional circuitry. At least this is what was discussed in AudioAsylum....
I am using the SCD-1 in an all balanced system (ARC LS25 to ARC VT100 MKII). The balanced mode (using Burmeister Silver interconnects with both XLR and RCA terminations for comparison) is clearly superior to the unbalanced mode, in my system. Presumably, the benefits of the balanced mode is dependent on whether or not your preamp and amps are fully balanced designs.
Correct, it's not a truly balanced design, like the earlier Xa7ES was. Hence the reason both sound the same (Bal. vs. unbal.) is that they are the same, derived via a chip (IC) that creates the inverted signal for the balanced connector.

There are a multitude of benefits, other than noise rejection, for components with a truly balanced signal path. Several companies design with this in mind, BAT being one of them.

I like balanced. Pass labs x-1 preamp.