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Yet another question about balanced vs unbalanced signals

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Posted on February 10, 2017 at 06:04:57
tlea
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Posts: 327
Location: New Orleans
Joined: January 20, 2002
Contributor
  Since:
October 29, 2006
Not sure which is the best forum for this, but am trying Cable Asylum first.

I am auditioning a new integrated tube amp that has only one pair of balanced inputs (XLR). So I have to choose between phono and DAC which to connect to the balanced port. Both units have XLR output, but the sources feeding the DAC are unbalanced.

Int Amp = Ayon Spirit III
Phono stage = Rogue Ares
Phono cart = Dyna 20X2L
DAC = CI Audio VDA-2 with balanced output option
Digital sources fed through the DAC = CAL CD transport (RCA) and SonicOrbiter (Toslink)
Cables are Cardas Cross XLR (phono) and Harmonic Tech XLR (DAC)

The question is: Which source will benefit more from the balanced connection?

Thanks in advance.



. . . in theory, practice and theory are the same; in practice, they are different . . .

 

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The one that sounds better using the balanced IC, posted on February 10, 2017 at 08:18:05
3+4=5
Audiophile

Posts: 616
Location: Midwest
Joined: December 24, 2016
Listening should give you the answer. The connection which has the better sound using them, the RCA or XLR.
If you cannot hear a difference, then it would just be whichever is more convenient. Though in the future you might recheck and listen again in case you can hear one is better one way or the other.

One other possible reason to use one over the other is gain.
Usually digital components have more gain than phono preamp ones.
For convenience of the volume control matching between the two components, the lower gain should be the XLR, and the higher gain the RCA, this only if you cannot hear any difference.
This would have to be weighed in the mix of deciding slightly if you can hear a difference.

 

RE: Yet another question about balanced vs unbalanced signals, posted on February 10, 2017 at 08:32:32
Tre'
Industry Professional

Posts: 12149
Location: So. Cal.
Joined: February 9, 2002
I don't see that the Rogue Ares has balanced outputs?


Tre'
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: Yet another question about balanced vs unbalanced signals, posted on February 11, 2017 at 12:21:28
Chris K.
Audiophile

Posts: 241
Location: West Central Florida
Joined: August 15, 2001
I'll just add another thought to those already expressed and that is whichever source you listen to most. In conjunction with the performance levels, should they be close, then I'd use the better sounding combo with the source that I listen to most frequently.

 

I agree (nt), posted on February 11, 2017 at 13:55:10
Duster
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Posts: 12486
Location: Pacific Northwest
Joined: August 25, 2002
nt

 

contact the manufacturers , posted on February 11, 2017 at 18:47:53
madisonears
Audiophile

Posts: 1200
Location: midwest
Joined: September 6, 2006
Ask CI and Rogue how their balanced signals are derived. Chances are, the DAC signal is actually taken balanced from the d/a converter. Doesn't matter if the CD player is balanced; that's digital. Most dac's produce a balanced signal and are converted to single-ended. I don't know why so many manufacturers waste the opportunity to pass a true balanced signal to the outputs.

A phono preamp can produce a balanced signal, but not many do and I doubt that yours does. It is probably derived from a phase splitter between the preamp single-ended outputs and the balanced outputs. In that case, the single-ended path with less processing will probably sound better.

The signal that is genuinely produced in a balanced fashion, most likely the DAC, is the one that should sound better, but one never knows for certain.

If the manufacturers won't divulge the information, you can always lift the lids and have a look around. Look for an opamp, which would comprise a phase splitter, near or wired to the XLR outputs.

Peace,
Tom E
berate is 8 and benign is 9

 

RE: Yet another question about balanced vs unbalanced signals, posted on February 11, 2017 at 20:13:07
SgreenP@MSN.com
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Joined: April 23, 2007
Don't think its worth vexing about

 

RE: contact the manufacturers , posted on February 12, 2017 at 10:11:37
Tre'
Industry Professional

Posts: 12149
Location: So. Cal.
Joined: February 9, 2002
"...you can always lift the lids and have a look around. Look for an opamp, which would comprise a phase splitter, near or wired to the XLR outputs. "

And if that's the case the unbalanced output will sound better. (one less opamp in the signal path)

Tre'



Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

"The single-ended path with less processing will probably sound better."(then just listening will tell), posted on February 13, 2017 at 07:32:35
3+4=5
Audiophile

Posts: 616
Location: Midwest
Joined: December 24, 2016
If it 'sounds better'.. Why bother checking with maker, or snooping inside? Just LISTEN to it.
And if you can't hear it. then why bother?
Or does theory trump reality of listening?

I knew a fellow who decided he just could not live with an amp which inverted the signal. No problem except he could not live with the IDEA it was doing something 'bad'. LOL.

 

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