file Rca vs Xlr - Bel Canto 600m

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charliehatch Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23651
OK, I'll bring this up again (discussed on another thread somewhere). XLR has more circuitry, which means more electronic components. Which means more opportunity for component mismatch. Balanced sends out two signals that are inverses of each other, and if the components aren't perfectly matched (which in reality they never are, exactly), when you combine the two signals at the other end there is more opportunity to distort the signal.

Balanced is great when you have a high noise environment and you need to cancel out the noise getting into your signal line, but the price you pay is more circuit complexity and more opportunity for increased distortion.

If you have a low noise environment and/or your cable length is short, then single-ended (RCA) can actually produce a better signal. My RCA interconnects are only 1 meter, and I carefully route them to keep them as far as possible from other cables.

Heresy, I know. But that's how I see it.

Charlie
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WayneWilmeth Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23652
Bro Charlie, you hairy tick!!!!!

Your assumptions sound right, but in my humble and not that large experience, it has not worked that way for me. My fully balanced setup sounds SWEET AS!!!!!

Just sayin' and not arguing.
God Bless,
Wayne
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charliehatch Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23654
Wayne, admit it. You just LOVE that harmonic distortion, toob man! :woohoo:

I should clarify what I said above. Balanced is for those cases where you have a low signal-to-noise ratio. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think it was developed to deal with really low-level microphone signals in longer cables where noise was a real problem.

I guess we need another A/B blind test here. I'll add it to the list.

Charlie
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WayneWilmeth Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23655
Bro Charlie, I was just answering a question between RCA single ended cables and XLR, balanced in general.
And I TRIED to say that exceptional cables (as yours must be, given the prices) can be better than the small gain by going balanced, for short runs anyway.
I have some MIT cables that best my XLRs, but the price diff was hefty. And are not used in the fully balanced part of my system.
Happy Listening,
God Bless,
Wayne
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charliehatch Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23657
I hear what you're saying, Wayne. And I agree.

I suspect there is a tradeoff (in general) between RCA cable length and the noise they can pick up. Short runs may not be worth going to balanced (all other things remaining the same), especially considering the potential additional effects caused by the extra circuitry involved in balanced. Longer runs may provide worthwhile gains using balanced, and that will probably depend on how bad the noise environment is.

There may be additional tradeoffs because of other engineering details in the cable that I won't go into here.

So, yes, Wayne, your balanced system sounds sweet. But we're talking about small changes here. Just because it's sweet doesn't mean it can't be better. I ALWAYS wonder if a component or cable or signal processing change would make that little improvement over what I have now, but after a while, cost really does become a factor.

Charlie
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HTSME Posted 1 year 6 months ago
#23659
Charlie and Wayne,
My experience also echos Wayne's experience. When I got my new amp 4 years ago I hooked it up using RCA jacks and then switched to XLR. IMHO, the sound quality was better with XLR.

I do agree Charlie that placement of RCA jack cables is important. I know at the back of my audio cabinet, it's impossible to avoid coming close to AC lines. Even using Velcro strips to bundle AC lines they still get close together. Really depends upon your equipment layout.

Del
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