What connection is better Balanced or single ended

Hi again,

Here i go showing that i am new to this.
If all your units are designed "truely balanced" then go for balanced!
Otherwise: the longer your connections are the more you should consider balanced.
Good luck!
bigwaves: there are literally HUNDREDS of archived threads on this topic available by searching on "balanced" using the audiogon search engine. there should be no need to invite more with your redundant query.


The above post is really quite friendly with lovely use of the cpas lock key. I have no problem with these recurring themes it allows for new input and exposes more people to useful information.
My opinion is that single ended is fine and less expensive.
Bigwaves meet Cornfedboy, Cornfedboy meet Bigwaves. There, now you've been properly introduced. Oh and Bigwaves welcome to the forums. There really is no such thing as a dumb question here but like CFB has pointed out there are many topics that have already been discussed at length. Subjects such as these can be found by doing a search into the archives. Just type in *balanced or single ended* I'm sure something will come up:~)
thanks for the introduction, glen. and, yes, welcome to the 'gon, bigwaves. BTW, i must respectfully disagree with you, glen. there are loads of dumb questions posed here, tho bigwave's isn't one of them. how could it be when it's been the subject of so many earlier discussions? -cfb
Hi, Bigwaves. You've already been alerted to the existence of much prior discussion on this subject which can found in the archives. To cut to the chase, however, the advantage offered by balanced interconnects is noise reduction, and slightly higher gain. This, however, is largely irrelevant in the average home audio setup. If all of your interconnects are less than 2 meters, it's unlikely that you will hear any discernable difference between balanced and unbalanced inputs (assuming both cables are of good quality). Balanced connections were developed mainly for use with long cable runs, such as may be found in recording studios, or the occasional home where someone has their equipment some distance from the speakers.

One other "advantage" of the balanced interconnect -- and this is brand specific -- is the use of shielded, low-noise microphone wiring. Of course, there are many unbalanced interconnects that offer similar construction, so you can still gain these "advantages" from some unbalanced cables.

Don't spend hours fretting over this technical issue -- it's one of the more irrelevant ones for the vast majority of home audio buffs.
CFB you are very welcome. And I in turn thank you. I stand corrected:~)
Like June Cleaver once said,"Ward, you were a little rough on the Beaver last night!" I've seen you post many, MANY intelligent responses to the forums, so you obviously know your way around audio gear and Audiogon. However, there are many new users and audio neophytes who don't need to get "slammed" for asking a legitimate question, even if it's been addressed "ad nausium". (I know you were probably P.O.'d at Audiogon and NOT at Bigwaves...yeah, there's stuff about the way that they program this site that I'm not to crazy about, either). 'Nuff said

A user asked a question as he has a right to do. If you don't like the question, please just keep your fingers off your keyboard and go onto the next thread.

Your response is unjustified and you owe Bigwaves an apology. No one forced you into this thread.
This post is for user cornfedboy: If you truely are concerned about repeat post go back and read the # of post you place just to slam people, and non related bull like your right to use your keyboard. If you feel the need to save space then simply do not waste space with your off the wall approach, that you are the keeper of space on this site. What it shows is that you are mostly a jeck with no life other than looking to insult other people. I WOULD MUCH PREFER TO READ MANY REPEAT POST THAN ONE OF YOUR LITTLE BOY TYPE I WILL POLICE THE SITE REPLY. If you feel you have the right to use space for your garb, then they have the right to post without you scolding someone. If you think there is no need for additional post then simply pass it by. I believe you could care less, except that some how you feel it feeds you eagle. Real sorry state to be in I would say.
Hi Bigwaves; not a goofy question. I have excellent equipment that has balanced and single ended connections, and I've tried both. I clearly prefer single ended for it's full bodied, more rounded, more organic presentation of music (IMO). My experience with balanced (in my system) is that it's drier and more analytical. I'm now using 4.5M RCA ICs pre-amp to amp, but have not tried XLR with this length IC.

A Tech. Rep at Syn. Res. agrees with me on this, but also says that many of his colleagues prefer balanced ICs. It's just a matter of preference. Welcome to Agon, and Cheers. Craig
What is going on here? I have answered this question at least 6 times in the last year, with no disrespect Bigwaves, you should do a search on any common question, chances are it has been gone over too many times. I search every question prior to posting it, just as a way of saving time. This is not a new idea the balanced vs. single-ended debate, perhaps you should try to be more specific, for example I have such and such CD player w/ true balanced circuit going into pre-amp ‘A’ which only has single-ended inputs, which means I need to use one of those plugs, but my amp has both inputs(single-ended and balanced) and I was wondering which would be better??? Catch the drift, this way you get some advice that may actually help you, all systems sound different with different gear, balanced works sometimes better sometimes it doesn’t. Good luck ~Tim
Hi Bigwaves; Which connection?

The thing with cables and systems is that each system may not resond to the same cables in the same way another ststem will.

There are several claims as to which is better and what advantages there to each style, the same as there are claims as to what brand is better. Consider them claims, not fact. Your system and your ears may not agree.

As previously stated above as a rule and cables being equal the balanced will have a lower noise level. However that may or may not be a problem.

I like the post above have found that balanced also sounds drier and not as warm as Single ended in my system. Not saying that is better or that you will have the same results, but simply stating you may find that to be the case.

There are some big name companys that choose to go single ended only so they must like the single ended.

The best advise I can give you is look for some used cable that you would like to try and get them, see how they sound to you. If single ended see if noise is a problem. In the end with the used cables you most likly can get out of them with little loss if you do not like and try something different. If money is no object then just try what you believe you will like.

The true and only real way is to try the cables in your system. Keep them long enough to listen to them and to get them broke in prior to making your decision.

Cables are truly a listen and hear thing, with not much way to know forsure which will be best in you system short of trying them.

At present I am running the CJ 16LS MK2 pre-amp with the Jadis JD-1 Transport, Jadis JS-1 MK2 Dac on the 2 channel side and the Lexicon MC-1 for surround processor. Most of this equipment is single ended only so I must run single ended. I am using Transparent and Cardas Golden Reference for cable. However even single ended only I feel this is one of the best sounding systems I have had. Prior to this system I was running Audio Research and Balanced Cables in the 2 channel side.

What I and everyone else in this site has heard in our systems really means very little, what you hear in yours is what matters.

As with stereo this site should be fun and enjoyable. Just look past the gang that feel that they have read all and seen all on a suject so there fore everyone else should not take part in a new post.

There are several people that come to this site just starting out. I believe there are way more visting this site that comes to read new post and answers no matter what or how many times an issues comes up. Unlike the few the rest of us are here to have fun and see what we can learn rather that thinking we know it all and have seen it all.

Good luck Aknorth
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DUMB QUESTION!! IF you think it is a dumb question then that only reveals your true personality which includes lack of respect,patience and caring of your fellow man.just because you think you know the right answer,obviously the person asking does not and this does not make him or her dumb,just new to the hobby or subject.I have never met a person who WANTED to ask a dumb question and then be ridiculed.BIGWAVES welcome to audiogon and I prefer single ended.HAPPY LISTENING,RICH
My god that is sooooooo ridiculous Captain, I have asked tons of stupid/dumb questions here. I was just unaware of them being dumb at the time, but where I once was blind now I see. We all progress at different rates in audio, not to mention starting at different times. If you really want I can site some references to my dumb questions over the years, but I think you should take my word. I agree there should be a FAQ section as well, many questions are gone over again and again, i.e. the solid state VS. tube debate, silver VS. copper speaker cables, and you know what there is no right answer to any of those. It depends what’s in your system(unless of course it is BOSE or Krell, then its a lost cause any way! joking don‘t start flaming), of course if you have a very bright speaker with solid state amps, silver most likely would sound horrible, but there is no “answer” to this, that is half the fun. Sort of like fishing, what fun would it be if you through your line in the water and caught the same huge fish with in 30 seconds, that would not be much fun, or any hobby for that mater. Trial and error, Einstein said “If 10,000 trials are made-unsuccessfully-then I learned something”(or something darn close to that). Good luck and enjoy the audiophila
I would contact the manufacturer and ask them what they feel is best for that specific piece of equipment.
Nice post, Aknorth, but please, isn't it illegal to feed anybody's eagle? Protected endangered species, and all that?

No question that my EMC-1 sounds better (not just louder) balanced. I'm about to get an MD100 tuner, and the folks who make it strongly suggest running balanced, too.
The point is that manufacturers sometimes voice a product with one output style in mind. I suppose running balanced can only be better if the device is truly balanced, though.
Otherwise there's no point in comparing.

CFB, the first day I posted on A'gon was on my birthday last year, and everhard (you remember Carl) flamed me, and continued to do so repeatedly at my email. I stayed away for months, relying only on dealers for support.
Let's be more careful with newbies, huh?