Thanks for the responses. Clueless brings up an EXCELLENT point that i had not thought of recently since i haven't had to deal with such things. As such, i'm extremely glad that he did. It may have saved someone a major repair bill, me included. This may even be related to the problems that he experienced.
Part of the problem with balanced products is that there is no set standard in HOME audio products as to which pin carries what specific part of the signal. Most professional gear follows one industry standard. You have to remember that you have THREE different signals in a balanced cable, not just two. Since there is a lot more involved than just hooking up a two wire cable out of phase, there is more that can go wrong.
As such, one can simply connect Component A from Scamco International to Component B made by Hype Electronics using standard balanced cables and have instant compatibility problems. This is not to mention the potential for actual damage that could occur.
This happens because one manufacturer uses a different wiring pin-out for their balanced jacks and the other manufacturer uses a different scheme. As such, the source supplying the voltages would be connected to the wrong pins of the other component. This could result in short circuits, damaged input or output circuitry, etc...
With that in mind, one should NOT take for granted that "balanced is balanced" and just hook things up. There are different wiring patterns. That is why John Atkinson specifically mentions the pin-out on various balanced products that they test and review. If in doubt, contact the manufacturers of each component being hooked together and record their pin configurations for future use. I would think that most owners manuals might include this info, but as we've seen, some "manuals" are simply a useless photo-copied piece of paper. Sean