as far as balanced cables the only way to go with analog signals, that is a silly thing to say. who has heard all the non balanced choices?
You don't need to hear all the single-ended cables to know why balanced is better. You do have to understand something about balanced line operation though, that there is a standard which must be observed to obtain the benefit.
The benefit is neutrality; the cable won't have an artifact. By artifact I mean 'sound'.
As single-ended cables evolve and improve they begin to approach the neutrality of balanced operation. But since there's no standard for single-ended operation, results are all over the map.
Since the advent of hifi, commercial recordings have all embraced balanced operation. Its how Mercury was able to park their recording truck behind Northrup Auditorium in Minneapolis and run 150' mic cables to it and still get high fidelity. EMI hung their mics in Kingsway Hall; I have to assume they were a good 150' too. Single ended semi-pro audio equipment really didn't start showing up until about the mid 1970s so we have a 20 year period of classical, jazz, blues and rock that demonstrates what balanced operation can do. The fact that the better you make your system, the better these recordings sound should tell you something.
Balanced line operation was the first exotic interconnect cable industry/technology. Unlike what has evolved in high end audio where money is often thrown at the problem, the idea behind balanced operation and its standard is that if the proper drive and reception exists in the source and what ever its driving, the interconnect can be inexpensive, whatever length is needed and no artifacts from it.
In high end audio, little of the gear supports the standard, so there is little benefit. That is why audiophiles have such variable results. If its done right though there is no going back.
A LOMC cartridge can drive a balanced line exceptionally well since it is a balanced source with a very low impedance. So the connection can be exceptionally neutral. This is very difficult to do single-ended!