Balanced vs/ Umbalanced (cables, inputs, ans so on ...) - diyAudio
Go Back   Home > Forums > General Interest > Everything Else

Everything Else Anything related to audio / video / electronics etc) BUT remember- we have many new forums where your thread may now fit! .... Parts, Equipment & Tools, Construction Tips, Software Tools......

Please consider donating to help us continue to serve you.

Ads on/off / Custom Title / More PMs / More album space / Advanced printing & mass image saving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 15th November 2008, 09:30 PM   #1
diyAudio Member
 
teodorom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Milano
Default Balanced vs/ Umbalanced (cables, inputs, ans so on ...)

Hi all,
I have first bought a CD player that has both unbalanced and balanced outputs. Then I bought an amplifier that has both inputs.
It then appeared to me that the balanced stuff is MUCH better that the unbalanced one.
I say better, but it could be only DIFFERENT, so I need your help.
When the connection is balanced the Music is more dynamic, has more contrast. When I switch to unbalanced, Music seems to die.
It could be that
1. Nothing is strange in that: the balanced stuff is intrinsically MUCH better than the balanced one
2. The balanced output of the CD player is MUCH better that the balanced output, or the balanced input of the amplifier is MUCH better than the unbalanced one
3. The unbalanced output of the CD player is MUCH worse of the balanced output, or the unbalanced input of the amplifier is MUCH worse of the balanced one
Anyone has any opinion ?
Thanks
__________________
Teodoro
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th November 2008, 10:53 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
diyAudio Moderator
 
SY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Chicagoland
Blog Entries: 1
Gain. Try comparing with tight level matching.

Where balanced really can make a difference is in noise-prone situations, like phono cartridge to preamp. At line level, low impedances, normal interconnect lengths, not so much.
__________________
You might be screaming "No, no, no" and all they hear is "Who wants cake?" Let me tell you something: They all do. They all want cake.- Wilford Brimley
  Reply With Quote
Old 15th November 2008, 11:29 PM   #3
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
I think gain is where you are seeing a difference. Balanced can be and usually is hotter than unbalanced output in pro units. This makes the unbalanced seem lifeless.

Being that I deal with equipment everyday that is mostly balanced I will take balanced everytime when considering length of cable runs and so forth.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2008, 04:56 AM   #4
diyAudio Member
 
teodorom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Milano
Thanks to all.
Level is for sure an issue: switching from unbalanced to balanced requires a volume adjustement.
Given that, I'm experiencing the same phenomenon I had when developing b&w photographs on different grades of paper. There are less contrasted papers, and more contrasted papers. These have more "life", but the price you pay is less details in the "high lights".
In audio, difference is so huge that I'm wondering if I'm listen to artifacts of the encoders/decoders.
Line is 1m long.
Thanks
__________________
Teodoro
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2008, 05:42 AM   #5
diyAudio Member
 
analog_sa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sofia
Typically, it's quite unlikely the cdp balanced output is better executed than the unbalanced. You have to examine the particular circuit in order to establish if it's "genuine" balanced taken from the output of a balanced dac chip or "faked" balanced. In either case it's quite possible both outputs pass through the same type of output devices. The difference won't be night and day.

The cables are a completely different issue of course. Unless you enjoy pretending that cables make no difference. Are they the same brand? Obviously connectors and geometry are different. Balanced cables have the potential to sound better and this is probably the main source of improvement you hear.
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2008, 08:32 AM   #6
diyAudio Member
 
jan.didden's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Great City of Turnhout, Belgium
Blog Entries: 7
Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa
[snip] Unless you enjoy pretending that cables make no difference. [snip]

Yes, it's a great pasttime. Sometimes I even indulge and enjoy pretending that cables *do* sound different.

But not too long; I normally get overtaken by reality pretty quickly....

Jan Didden
__________________
If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news? - W S Maugham
Check out Linear Audio!
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2008, 11:22 AM   #7
diyAudio Member
 
teodorom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Milano
It would be helpful if someone did/will do my same experiment: connect the same CD player with the same amplifier with both cables. And then adjust the level and ... switch ! and listen.
Thanks
__________________
Teodoro
  Reply With Quote
Old 16th November 2008, 11:56 AM   #8
rabbitz is offline rabbitz  Australia
diyAudio Member
 
rabbitz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Newcastle, Australia
Tried it with a Cambridge 840C using balanced and SE.

First was tried with the new Yamaha A-S1000 which is supposed to run balanced throughout and even converts the SE input into balanced.

The second was a Cambridge 840E pre but going into a SE power amp, in this case a AKSA 55N+.

Overall the balanced did have a very, very slight edge on transparency and bottom end extension. Wasn't worth it as the additional gain in balanced made the system overall gain too much.... the Yamaha already had around 45dB gain and then add the balanced at around 6dB. Talk about a trigger hair volume control. The 840E was better as the gain could be adjusted if required but since it had a resistor ladder volume control, it wasn't an issue as -95dB was available in 1dB steps and normal listening was done on -65dB.

For home use I found balanced a waste really as the cables were only 0.5m-1m so the main benefit of balanced was not used.
__________________
No longer DIY active
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2008, 05:03 AM   #9
cbdb is offline cbdb  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver
First the basics. Unbalanced outputs(inputs) send signal down one wire, the positive one. the negative signal wire is grounded usualy at both ends. consumer level is -10dbm Ballanced outputs send signal down 2 wires the negative wire carring the neg. signal. Pro level is +4dbu The main advantages are noise rejection by the CMRR of the input and the extra 14 db of signal over the noise, and less chance of ground loops because the signal wires dont refrence to ground. The cables become less of an issue ( which IMO isnt an isue in small home systems ). If all the gear in your signal path is switched to from consumer to PRO level you should not hear a level chage at your speakers (if perfect, but even if not it willl only be a couple of db) the inputs and outputs both change and counteract any gain change. If you have a choice and can set ALL of your gear to PRO then do it. Its a beter system and I wonder why more high end consumer audio dosnt have it.
  Reply With Quote
Old 18th November 2008, 05:07 AM   #10
cbdb is offline cbdb  Canada
diyAudio Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Vancouver
One more word, if you have any gear that dosnt have PRO level outs (buy the way Ballanced and +4dbu outs are 2 different things and sometimes a ballanced out is at -10dbu so check your device specs for both) switch everything to consumer level or overload or underdrive an input somewhere.
  Reply With Quote

Reply


Hide this!Advertise here!
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
XLR (maybe balanced) and RCA amp inputs rick57 Solid State 5 22nd November 2006 11:20 PM
balanced inputs DD_Davo Chip Amps 1 4th February 2006 04:29 PM
Balanced Inputs on Leach Amp wigginjs Solid State 18 3rd July 2004 08:38 AM
Shorting balanced inputs? dantwomey Pass Labs 10 27th April 2003 09:51 AM


New To Site? Need Help?

All times are GMT. The time now is 01:20 AM.


vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright ©1999-2014 diyAudio

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2