Xor or single ended?


Hi Goners!

I am sure this has been gone over but i seemed to have missed finding it...
What is preferred...A single ended tonearm cable to an orca phono input or a xor balanced termination tonearm to a balanced xor phono input?

Please, if you answer i would appreciate having solid reasoning as opposed to one"s own preferences...

I very much thank all for helping me understand.

Azjake

azjake
That should read "rca" and "xlr"!!

A phono cartridge is actually an inherently balanced design - it has  a separate hot for left and right, separate grounds for each, and a shield. That makes phono connections ideal for balanced phono preamps, because a truly balanced (differential) phono preamp will have higher gain and lower noise than a single-ended preamp, all other things being equal. Please note that you can have a balanced phono connection using RCA connectors; it's the circuit, not the connectors, that make it balanced.
Thank you Cleeds for a clear and informative answer!

Jake
Dear azjake: cleeds gave you a good answer and the main subject there is:

"""  a truly balanced (differential) phono preamp """

if your phonopreamp is not exactly designed like that hen it does not mattes about how you connect it. Many phono stages comes with rca and xlr input connectors but in reality are not fully differential, so you can get the advantage to lower noise/distortions.
You have to ask on that issue to your phonopreamp manufacturer.

Regards and enjoy the music,
R
cleeds is basically correct but not entirely correct.  The coil in the cartridge has two free ends; I think we can easily agree on that.  When you use the cartridge in single-ended mode, one end is connected to the hot pin or the hot female input of the RCA connection, and the other is connected to audio ground via the collar of the male RCA jack or the sleeve on an RCA input jack.  However, when you hook up a cartridge in balanced mode, there is no audio ground connection; each end of the cartridge is attached to one of 3 pins in the XLR, typically pins 2 and 3.  Both sides see signal. Nominally, pin2 handles the positive phase, and pin3 handles the negative phase.  Ground floats. The third pin of the XLR (pin1, typically) carries ground from the tonearm, turntable, and/or the shield around the phono cable to the chassis of the phono preamplifier. Balanced operation helps to cancel noise and in my experience nearly always reduces or eliminates grounding issues.

But like Raul wrote, if your phono stage is not also fully balanced, there is little to be gained by using a balanced connection from the cartridge to the phono stage.  Some SE phono stages use a transformer input, in which case, I think some of the benefits of balanced connection to the transformer are worthwhile. 

You asked "what is preferred".  If you own a balanced phono stage it would make no sense not to take advantage of that fact by using a balanced connection.  If your phono is SE, I would on the other hand not say that you should necessarily switch to a balanced phono stage.  Both types can sound excellent.

lewm4,763 posts02-02-2016 3:08pm"cleeds is basically correct but not entirely correct.  The coil in the cartridge has two free ends; I think we can easily agree on that.  When you use the cartridge in single-ended mode, one end is connected to the hot pin or the hot female input of the RCA connection, and the other is connected to audio ground via the collar of the male RCA jack or the sleeve on an RCA input jack.  However, when you hook up a cartridge in balanced mode, there is no audio ground connection; each end of the cartridge is attached to one of 3 pins in the XLR, typically pins 2 and 3."

I think you misread what I wrote. Please note - as I tried to make clear -  that you can connect a phono cartridge in balanced mode using RCA connectors and a separate ground wire; that keeps the shield separate from the audio ground. There's nothing magic or inherently balanced about XLR connectors themselves, even though they are almost always used in balanced mode.
Thanks to all that responded!
 My preamp is fully balanced but the tone arms were mistakenly made with s. E. Terminations!
my question was centered around whether I should have the terminations changed or just use adapters... I think the former seems to be the unanimous choice...:-)
azjake OP243 posts" My preamp is fully balanced but the tone arms were mistakenly made with s. E. Terminations!"

Does the pickup arm have a separate ground wire, as is common? If so, you can use a multimeter to check if there is continuity between the ground wire and audio ground, which is probably the outer parts of the RCA connectors. If there's no continuity, your RCA cables are not really single-ended.
I use balanced ( XLR) connection from my phono into the preamp, and then into the amp.  The result is abslutely dead quiet with fully realized performance.  I also have balanced headphones and separate balanced headphone amp which can be used easily with regular plugs, and there is an increase in performance using them balanced.
Its generally not recommendable to hook up a fully balanced phono system with  RCA connectors because the negative node is thereby fully exposed on the barrel of the RCA connector i.e. not shielded,  this can have severely negative effects.  Most common hook up scheme is pin2 positive pin 3 negative and pin 1 chassis ground - signal ground should not be connected to pin 1.

We make mostly fully balanced phono stages with only XLR connectors on them. Even our little gem the Liberty B2B-1 is supplied with XLR connectors if one should wish to run a fully balanced phono system, obviously needing two of them in this configuration.


Good Listening

Peter
pbnaudio  "Its generally not recommendable to hook up a fully balanced phono system with  RCA connectors because the negative node is thereby fully exposed on the barrel of the RCA connector i.e. not shielded ..."

If the phono preamp and line stage preamp are truly fully balanced (differential) amplifiers, then it won't matter. That's the whole point of using balanced amplification.

If the "balanced" preamp uses op-amps at its input and doesn't itself operate in differential mode, then using RCA connectors might be a compromise.