Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #11 of 30 Old 02-19-10, 01:04 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

So if you use a pro amp like the QSC GX5 which has rca input jacks it would be ok.
What if you use a Behringer DCX2496 with XLR's to the QSC GX5? Home reciever-DCX2496-GX5 would that work or should the Samson be between the reciever an dthe DCX2496?

Thanks
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post #12 of 30 Old 02-19-10, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Quote:
Bopster wrote: View Post
So if you use a pro amp like the QSC GX5 which has rca input jacks it would be ok.
Yes that is just fine.
Quote:
What if you use a Behringer DCX2496 with XLR's to the QSC GX5? Home reciever-DCX2496-GX5 would that work or should the Samson be between the reciever an dthe DCX2496?

Thanks
Bop
If the DCX only has XLR or TRS inputs you must use the S_Convert and then use the balanced outputs of the DCX to the balanced inputs on the QSC.

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Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
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post #13 of 30 Old 02-19-10, 01:16 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Ok thats what I thought.
Thank you very much that is exactly what I was looking for coming to this part of the forum.

This is the best HT forum on the net!

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post #14 of 30 Old 02-19-10, 02:01 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Hi tony,

I have an Arcam AV888 which has balanced output's and my Front amps are Bryston which has balanced input's my front three cable runs are 7 metres long, i asked the question to Arcam as to what cable to use XLR or RCA they said RCA would be better as the XLR board is not true Balanced and the RCA boards have a shorter internal signal path.

So would it be better for me to go with RCA ?

thankyou for any help.

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post #15 of 30 Old 02-19-10, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

I would be inclined to believe what Arcam has said to you as I am sure they know what they are talking about. In the end I highly doubt that you or I would be able to hear an audible difference between using either balanced or unbalanced signal path. Given you have the choice why not just try it and see if you can hear a difference. The key thing is the distance you are running the cables 7mtrs is quite long and I suspect going balanced would be a safer bet. If your Bryston amps dont have true unbalanced inputs then as I said above you should use the balanced inputs and outputs.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #16 of 30 Old 02-20-10, 03:27 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Well they are Balanced at the moment and i would need to solder on the RCA connectors, but buy what you say and what sound i have in my room at the mo i don't want to effect it so as they say here in the UK "If it aint broke don't fix it"

Thanks for your input Tony

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post #17 of 30 Old 02-20-10, 04:24 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

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but buy what you say and what sound i have in my room at the mo i don't want to effect it so as they say here in the UK "If it aint broke don't fix it"
Ain't that the truth
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post #18 of 30 Old 05-04-10, 04:51 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Good post and no doubt helpful to everyone.

The XLR (professional) system is primarily concerned with noise and distance of transmission. It is quite common to have microphone / instrument signal runs of more than 100 feet.

The XLR is significantly better at dealing with noise for many reasons. Noise is simply anything that isn't part of the original signal. It can come from a myriad of sources. 60 cycle hum is not so much a noise issue usually. It is typically a grounding problem.

One of the factors is the higher voltage. Consumer output is usually 1 volt peak to peak. (From high point on curve to low point on curve) Pro equipment is 3 volts peak to peak. A critical factor in noise issues is signal to noise ratio. In this example if there is 50 millivolts of noise on the lines the signal to noise ratio is much better on the 3 volt system. It will be 3 times better meaning that you will not hear the noise as much because relative to the signal it will be smaller.

The two line balanced system, as explained by others, works to cancel noise due to the opposite waves. These cables also have very good shielding which is a metal wrapper or wire around the outside that carries a ground.

Impedance is also important as mentioned. Impedance matching is important in certain scenarios but a rule of thumb that usually works is that you want the input of a device (not speakers) to have a high impedance. This is like connecting a garden hose to sprinkler. If the sprinkler has small holes (high impedance) then it will spray strong and far and maintain pressure in the hose. A bunch of big holes will result in no spray and the hose will have little pressure. So you want your signal to have good pressure in the hose and little holes in the sprinkler.

Regarding a run to a subwoofer, typically it is a short run, the normal av cables are shielded, and the noise you might pick up is all filtered out by the built in crossover of a sub. The only way I would use XLR is if I had to connect XLR equipment together.
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post #19 of 30 Old 05-12-10, 10:58 AM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference


Great article, don’t know how I missed it when it was first posted. Especially love the great pictures!

I’ll add just a couple of things. One, longer unbalanced cable runs should not be an issue if good-quality cables are used. For unbalanced connections of any length, the shield is what makes or breaks noise rejection properties, so it must be substantial and robust. A good cable should have a robust shield; otherwise it does not qualify as a good cable, IMO. In most cases, if adding a long cable introduces noise that wasn’t there before, I’d say the problem is the cable.

Second, while it might be necessary when using a pro amp with an AVR, there is no immediate need for the Samson S-convert when using a pro-audio processor like the Behringer DCX in the signal chain. The processor will work fine with an unbalanced input. Some people will float the home vs. pro gear “level matching” argument, but you have to keep in mind that in most cases the home equipment is going to have a quieter noise floor than the pro equipment. Artificially boost up an AVR’s output signal with a device like the S-Convert, and you’ll raise its noise floor to a higher level than that of the pro processor long before anything resembling a "proper level match" has been accomplished. Not good.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #20 of 30 Old 05-13-10, 03:58 PM
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Re: Understanding Unbalanced vs Balanced audio signals, and the difference

Wayne makes some good points. I have never seen nor had a problem in mixing consumer devices with pro devices in a home setting. Maybe the word "unbalanced" scares people but it is just an electrical description for the system. It means nothing in terms of performance.

The mantra "If it ain't broke don't fix it." applies here as well. Hook it all up and if it sound good then great.
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