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L00k_C's picture
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XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Sorry if this thread might have come before....

Could someone advice for short interconnect (1m) between amp and cd source ( JBL HK990 & HD990) which is the best setup?

Further more any suggedtion for a ' good' XLR and RCA interconnect upto 135 gbp?

Do JBL HK990 & HD990 have a 'TRUE' balanced input/output?

Thanks

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

This may help

Click

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

L00k_C's picture
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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

plastic penguin wrote:

This may help

Click

THANKS. Very interesting. 

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

There is a myth about balanced connections giving better sound quality. They don't, they enable hum and noise cancellation over long cable runs using low level signals. A CD play is high level and you are using a vey short cable, so don't bother. Any old interconnect will work fine too, just look for sturdy ones.

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Also, any cable with XLR at one end and terminated with an RCA connector at the other, will not be balanced.

If you really wish to use XLRs, basic leads can be bought online or from pro audio outlets, you certainly don't need to spend anywhere near £130GBP.

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

plastic penguin wrote:

This may help

Click

The best that could be said about the content of this link is that it was probably written by the marketing department.  

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Good interconnects won't add anything to your system but poor interconnects will hold it back. It's worth listening to some to see for yourself.

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Yep another load of bull to convince those who know little about electrical systems and cables to buy something more expensive, but which in reality provides no improvement at all.

Bill

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Xlr over rca... Better sound? Not necessarily..

Different sound? Yes there is ... I find a truly balanced system sounds louder at the same volume knob level.

but again... Not necessarily improve the sound...

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

Thanks Guys...

Going futther I read somewhere that xlr would add noise since the signal will pass throuhb extra circuity while RCA will not! Your views pls...

 

AnD RCA can not be balanced in any way... am I right?

Any suggestions fof rca & xlr cables pls (upto 130 gbp)...

THANKS

 

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

L00k_C wrote:

Thanks Guys...

Going futther I read somewhere that xlr would add noise since the signal will pass throuhb extra circuity while RCA will not! Your views pls...

 

AnD RCA can not be balanced in any way... am I right?

Any suggestions fof rca & xlr cables pls (upto 130 gbp)...

THANKS

 

A cable can only detract from the signal it is carrying, it can't make it any better. So, as a general rule if you have to use a cable, choose one that does the least damage.

The type of plug used (XLR, DIN, RCA) has nothing to do with the topology of the circuit design, and does not indicate whether a circuit is balanced or not.

For domestic HiFi installations, there is absolutely no point in using balanced interconnects.  The whole point of a balanced topology is to minimise signal damage in situations where long cable runs may be subject to crosstalk, signal loss and EM interference -  a studio or on stage for example. Most domestic equipment will be 'unbalanced' internally, so balanced connections will require further steps to implement, and may be worse overall than the unbalanced connections. 

That is not to say that for a specific bit of equipment, the designer hasn't made a better / worse job of the balanced / unbalanced drivers, so it is possible that for your amp the balanced connections may / may not sound different.

Unless you have very good reasons for wanting to do it, I wouldn't bother trying to unbalance a balanced link - there really is no point.

So, stick to the RCA connections, keep your cables short to minimise signal damage, don't run them in parallel with mains cables.  Any decently made cable with low capacitance and an overall screen will work fine.

If you are still hung up on XLR connectors, look on the pro websites for balanced microphone cables, they will fit the bill.  You might be surprised at just how cheap they are.

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

If you want a long read: http://www.audioquest.com/pdfs/aq_cable_theory.pdf 

I will let you decide what to believe.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

andyjm wrote:

L00k_C wrote:

Thanks Guys...

Going futther I read somewhere that xlr would add noise since the signal will pass throuhb extra circuity while RCA will not! Your views pls...

 

AnD RCA can not be balanced in any way... am I right?

Any suggestions fof rca & xlr cables pls (upto 130 gbp)...

THANKS

 

A cable can only detract from the signal it is carrying, it can't make it any better. So, as a general rule if you have to use a cable, choose one that does the least damage.

The type of plug used (XLR, DIN, RCA) has nothing to do with the topology of the circuit design, and does not indicate whether a circuit is balanced or not.

For domestic HiFi installations, there is absolutely no point in using balanced interconnects.  The whole point of a balanced topology is to minimise signal damage in situations where long cable runs may be subject to crosstalk, signal loss and EM interference -  a studio or on stage for example. Most domestic equipment will be 'unbalanced' internally, so balanced connections will require further steps to implement, and may be worse overall than the unbalanced connections. 

That is not to say that for a specific bit of equipment, the designer hasn't made a better / worse job of the balanced / unbalanced drivers, so it is possible that for your amp the balanced connections may / may not sound different.

Unless you have very good reasons for wanting to do it, I wouldn't bother trying to unbalance a balanced link - there really is no point.

So, stick to the RCA connections, keep your cables short to minimise signal damage, don't run them in parallel with mains cables.  Any decently made cable with low capacitance and an overall screen will work fine.

If you are still hung up on XLR connectors, look on the pro websites for balanced microphone cables, they will fit the bill.  You might be surprised at just how cheap they are.

 

Sorry for being so naive....

 

But you are saying that if I use XLR connections over RCA in such a small distance (1m) I might  'do worse'  to the signal that by using the normal RCA connection?

If I use XLR do I have to do anything MORE to the systems than just connecting them (like you do in RCA)? (i.e you have the choice for balance / unbalnced?)

Latsly given the DNA of two systems (Harman Kardon HK990 & HD990) would I gain any more (or should I say loose anything less!!) by using XLR as their topology is such?

 

:wall:

 

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

XLR and RCA are just types of connectors. They can be attached to various cable construction types to suit different purposes, so an XLR cable is not necessarily balanced, similarly, equipment that has XLR connectors is also not necessarily of balanced circuitry.

If you have equipment that is truly balanced in design, then I would look no further than the many pro audio outlets for cables, ring them up and ask for advice on what cables to buy. They will probably recommend a short mic cable for use as an interconnect.

If you try, you will probably be able to find some that cost more than £30, but they might be 10m long.

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

If your equipment has balanced connections (Usually only on very expensive Hi Fi or professional equipment) on both items then use balanced cables to connect the two together.

If the equipment only has RCA (Unbalanced) connectors (Or only 1 item has balanced connectors) then use RCA (Unbalanced) cables.

Do not convert between one and the other unless you have no other option.

In addition get your cables from a professional music store as they will supply you with the correct cables for the job, and not try and force you into buying expensive cable that will make no difference to the sound. (You won’t get the bull that Hi Fi manufactures marketing teams try to con you with)

Hope this helps

Bill

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RE: XLR vs RCA vs Optical, Balanced vs Unbalanced interconnects

If the equipment that you want to connect is fully balanced from input to output then there is a sound quality advantage to using balanced XLR interconnects because the equipment and the internal circuitry was designed to be connected this way .

If the equipment is not fully balanced but has XLR inputs and output connections then using balanced XLR interconnects will make absolutely no improvement or difference over the standard RCA interconnects if the average one to five meter lengths are used .

So it would be wise to check with the manufacturer whether the equipment is fully balanced or not .

One advantage of balanced XLR interconnects is that they are often cheaper and better built than equivalent RCA  ones  Smile   .

Main system .

Electrocompaniet EMC 1 up , Monarchy Audio DIP, ECD 1 dac , EC4.8 preamp , 2x AW180 monoblock power amps , PMC Pb1i speakers .

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