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Old 6th January 2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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Default Way to get a balanced signal out of a PC?

Hello! I have a pair of studio monitors, which i use as stereo speakers for my computer, and they are designed for a balanced input signal - they each have a XLR and a TRS connector on their back sides. Right now, I'm using 3.5mm stereo to 2*1/4 mono cable. The mono plugs (TS) ground the (-) input, which is supposed to be at the ring-connector. So it basically is an unbalanced line. Although the cable is screened, it does pick up some noise, i suppose, because it is very close to all pieces of electronic equipment on my desktop, and it can't go any other way. However, that noise is bearable - it is only audible when there is no music playing, but the speakers are turned on. But I want to have a second computer on my desk and connect it to the same monitor (it has 2 inputs, DVI and VGA). When i tried to connect the second PC to the monitor, the noise form the speakers became absolutely unbearable, even with the music very loud. I cannot work out the exact cause and reason for that high noise levels only when the second PC is connected to the same monitor.. it is maybe a grounding issue, I don't now, but the only practical solution I see is use a balanced line. However, I don't have one of those 'audiophile' sound cards, costing a fortune, because the sound quality of the built-in audio on my motherboard is more than enough. What I was thinking of is some software which can reverse the phase of whatever signal there is on one channel, and send it to the other channel in the same jack (there are a total of 6 output jacks, and any one of them can be used for anything - 2.0, different channels of 5.1 or 7.1, mic or line in). Is there such a program at all? Or maybe a special driver? Excuse my incompetence, but I'm not really into software or programming. My aim is to get the balanced left channel on one 3.5 mm TRS jack, and the balanced right channel in another 3.5mm TRS jack, and then use 3.5mm to 6.35mm cables. Can it be done?(I don't plan on buying a USB DAC or something, most of them but the unreasonably expensive don't have balanced output anyway) (Another option i thought of was using a op-amp unbalanced-to-balanced converter, but that means lots of work, and worrying about either noise form the pc supply or the constant change of batteries - not worth it)
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Old 6th January 2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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your approach is wrong from starts

the noise you mention that is ""picked"" up has absolutely nothing to do with balanced or unbalanced inputs or outputs.

It has a lot to do with the way that the manufacturer of the PC manages the ground ... in a few words in systems like yours the safety ground from mains is common with the audio ground or 0 if you like .... this is what causes the noises and its a very common problem around the people that use a pc or a laptop as a music source.

The only possible solutions will be to have a better external sound card or spent 5 -7 usd to get a ground loop isolator from any car hifi shop ..

the second solution is very practical but depending on the quality of the isolator expect some sound quality lost ...

kind regards
sakis
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Old 6th January 2012, 02:25 PM   #3
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If you go the external convertor route (I would, the inside of a PC is not the best place to be for a convertor) these people may have something useful for you:
Echo Digital Audio Corporation

Not exactly diy but their conversion is very good as it goes, up there with stuff costing considerably more.
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Old 6th January 2012, 03:54 PM   #4
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The technical answer is that you would need a transformer to convert an unbalanced signal to a balanced signal. It's not worth it in this case. I agree that a better approach is to feed the digital signal into an external converter.
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