Does anybody know if using balanced interconnects rather than unbalanced between my preamp and power amps will help eliminate ground loop hum? Thanks.
Right now I run 40' of shielded twisted pair cable unbalanced from my pre to amp. By grounding the shield at the source end, and floating it at the load end, I was able to eliminate a ground loop hum, and have a very quiet signal. That being said, I am going to switch to a Belden balanced cable soon, for added protection/performance.
If the idea of using a power conditioner doesn't offend you, try one that offers ac recepticle to recepticle noise isolation. This can be pretty effective in eliminating the buzz from ground loops.
As audioengr says below, a balanced set up done properly can eliminate a ground loop hum problem. The trouble is, a lot of otherwise well-made home audio components have poorly supported or incomplete balanced ports on them, so you just have to experiment.
Before you spend the money on balanced cables, try an isolation transformer on the preamp, and be sure your power amps are fed from the same outlet. Even two different wall outlets on the same convenience circuit can cause a ground loop current connecting the two power amps and preamp through the ground leads of the RCA interconnect cables. This might cure your ground loop hum for less cost.
Any time you insert balanced interconnects, this can eliminate hum and other noise from ground-loops, particularly if you are running long IC's and using two different AC circuits for pre and power amps. However, if there is still a loop from CDP to pre causing noise, having a balanced connection from pre to amp will not help.
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