Pre to Amp. XLR or RCA, Which is better?

Noob here to balanced inputs. Now that I have amps and pre with XLR connections I would like to know if I can expect any noticable improvement. I am currently using a good set of "Acoustic Research Pro series directional balanced line audio cables".

Thoughts?
Home System:
SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
B&K Reference 50 Pre
B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
Cambridge Audio DVD 99
Sangean HD FM Tuner

Barn system:
SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
Carver C-1 pre
Carver M1.5t

Comments

  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    edited April 2
    Generally it depends on the way that the balanced connectors are integrated, and if it is a truly balanced design.
    Got Dayens?
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,845
    YES to ^^^^^
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,768
    agreed, just because a piece has balanced connections, doesn't make it a completely balanced circuit.

    As always, try for yourself and find out, but...I might opt for some better cables than those AR's.
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  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    How am I supposed to know if it is"truly balanced" then? Tony, if you think the cables I have need upgraded, where should I start? What's a good compromise between budget (say $100) and quality?

    Thanks all!
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    Try out some inexpensive XLR cables from Monoprice and see what you think of the sound of the balanced connection. Probably the cheapest way to proceed.

    https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=4754
    Got Dayens?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    Ok. Ordered some from Monoprice. I also have another set of RCA' s I found. No name on them but they look like good quality and appear shielded. I'll give them a try too
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    Cool. Interested to hear your thoughts. I use those XLR cables to hook up my powered monitors! :)
    audioluvr wrote: »
    Ok. Ordered some from Monoprice. I also have another set of RCA' s I found. No name on them but they look like good quality and appear shielded. I'll give them a try too

    Got Dayens?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    So I hooked up the name cables and either it's the placebo effect or the high frequencies have just been turned up a notch! Can't wait to see what new XLR's will do!
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,845
    So you go from AR to Monoprice seems a sideways move to me. I wouldn't buy monoprice anything. We use them at work and the failure rate is very high.
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 4,477
    I dont think he went sideways, I think he got some Monoprice XLR's. If that is in fact sideways I'll be a onkeys muncle
    Parlor: ifi iDSD Micro*Yamaha RX-A2030*Parasound Halo P5*Parasound Halo A-31*Parasound 2250v2*Emotiva XPA-200 Gen1*LSiM707 Fronts*LSiM706c Center*LSiM702f/x Surrounds*Monitor70 Series II Rears*Monitor40 Series II Presence*SVS PB2000 Sub X2*OPPO BDP-103D*Sony PS3*Samsung-55" LED 1080p Smart 3D HDTV UN55H7150AFXZA*TEAC TN-300*Wireworld Solstice cables* Wireworld Stratus power cables*Blue Jeans Cable LC-1's IC's*BJC Silver-Plated IC's* Bens Silver IC's

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    Meh these were extra $70 as an open box item so it didn’t much to me either way:)

  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,978
    Also Audio Advisor's has some Pangea's they just started selling

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=PGIXCA
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,210
    edited April 2
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I am currently using a good set of "Acoustic Research Pro series directional balanced line audio cables".

    Thoughts?

    I used those once, until they removed an outer shield of one of my board mounted RCA terminals.

    If those have a tight grip also I would use them carefully.
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,845
    edited April 2
    gmcman wrote: »
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I am currently using a good set of "Acoustic Research Pro series directional balanced line audio cables".

    Thoughts?

    I used those once, until they removed an outer shield of one of my board mounted RCA terminals.

    If those have a tight grip also I would use them carefully.

    That is not a problem with XLR. They lock in and use a ground pin unlike RCA
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    gmcman wrote: »
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I am currently using a good set of "Acoustic Research Pro series directional balanced line audio cables".

    Thoughts?

    I used those once, until they removed an outer shield of one of my board mounted RCA terminals.

    If those have a tight grip also I would use them carefully.

    Yes they are quite tight. I twist them as I take them on and off
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • DaveHoDaveHo Posts: 1,967
    I use these between my Oppo 205 & Parasound P5. They are nice & won't break the bank.

    cullencable.com/copper-series-xlr/
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    Nice suggestion and possible upgrade path if he likes the sound of the XLR connection with the Monoprice wires.
    DaveHo wrote: »
    I use these between my Oppo 205 & Parasound P5. They are nice & won't break the bank.

    cullencable.com/copper-series-xlr/

    Got Dayens?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    DaveHo wrote: »
    I use these between my Oppo 205 & Parasound P5. They are nice & won't break the bank.

    cullencable.com/copper-series-xlr/

    Thanks Dave! That's perfect! Just under budget too!
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,173
    edited April 7
    tonyb wrote: »
    agreed, just because [your equipment] has balanced connections, doesn't make it a completely balanced circuit.
    this refers to your gear, not the cables
    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 975 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, DirecTV Rcvr, Xbox 360, Dennon LDP, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside & out
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    LR: tri-amped RTi A7. Woofers, Rotel 98X amp; M & T, P'sound HCA-1000
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    *Bi-amped by years end
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 1,173
    edited April 7
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    We use them at work and the failure rate is very high.
    is “them” XLR cables?

    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 975 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, DirecTV Rcvr, Xbox 360, Dennon LDP, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside & out

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7. Woofers, Rotel 98X amp; M & T, P'sound HCA-1000
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    5 Audio Pro Subs: 1 B1.39: 1 Evidence at each corner
    Surrounds: Hafler XL280 -> AR 12 ga -> RTi A3*
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
    *Bi-amped by years end
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 10,845
    edited April 7
    gp4jesus wrote: »
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    We use them at work and the failure rate is very high.
    is “them” XLR cables?

    Monoprice interconnects in general. HDMI, RCA but no XLR stuff.

    gp4jesus wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    agreed, just because [your equipment] has balanced connections, doesn't make it a completely balanced circuit.
    this refers to your gear, not the cables

    Yes not all gear with balanced inputs/outputs is a balanced topology inside.
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    How'd it go with the Monoprice XLRs?
    audioluvr wrote: »
    Ok. Ordered some from Monoprice. I also have another set of RCA' s I found. No name on them but they look like good quality and appear shielded. I'll give them a try too

    Got Dayens?
  • audioluvraudioluvr Posts: 441
    I could not tell the difference between the XLR's and the RCA's I have. Could just be my poor old ears have finally hit their sonic limit.
    Home System:
    SDA 1C's - Full mod with the help by Dave...
    B&K Reference 50 Pre
    B&K M200 Sonata Monoblocks
    Cambridge Audio DVD 99
    Sangean HD FM Tuner

    Barn system:
    SDA SRS 2.3's Full mod done by myself
    Carver C-1 pre
    Carver M1.5t
  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,724
    Perhaps. Or it's possible that the way the XLR connectors are implemented on the B&K amps aren't dramatically different/better than the RCAs.

    Another possibility is that the Monoprice cables are "not good". But you didn't mention that they detracted or took anything away from the sound.
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I could not tell the difference between the XLR's and the RCA's I have. Could just be my poor old ears have finally hit their sonic limit.

    Got Dayens?
  • motorstereomotorstereo Posts: 833
    On my gear I have a choice of either xlr and rca connections. The specs show there's 4db better s/n using the xlr's. With that and a more solid connection with the xlr's I use balanced where ever I can.
    Does it make a difference in the sound? Nothing startling that jumps out at me. The biggest change I've noticed is a quieter background. It seems like a no-brainer to me to use the xlr's and I'll gladly take that 4db difference for just a simple cable swap.
  • gmcmangmcman Posts: 1,210
    pitdogg2 wrote: »
    gmcman wrote: »
    audioluvr wrote: »
    I am currently using a good set of "Acoustic Research Pro series directional balanced line audio cables".

    Thoughts?

    I used those once, until they removed an outer shield of one of my board mounted RCA terminals.

    If those have a tight grip also I would use them carefully.

    That is not a problem with XLR. They lock in and use a ground pin unlike RCA

    Correct, I mis-read his post and was referring to the un-balanced AR RCA's which had a death grip on the ones I used once before.
  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,054
    balanced interconnects can cancel out common-mode noise and (of course) are also shielded.

    http://www.rane.com/note110.html
    http://www.rane.com/note151.html
    http://web.mit.edu/jhawk/tmp/p/EST016_Ground_Loops_handout.pdf
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 18,396
    I have been very happy with how my Signal Cable analog 2 XLR's compared to my former Hero WBT RCA's. SC's = $59, Hero's = $329! I run them from my Benchmark DAC2 to my Parasound A21 amp.

    icw7zwiw4s0a.jpg


    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound Halo A21 | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Signal Cable XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; Belden 1694A Dig Coax | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • helipilotdoughelipilotdoug Posts: 1,178
    If you are looking for a great bang for the buck balanced interconnect cables, please take a look at our Bravo XLR IC's with Vampire Wire XLRF and XLRM connectors. At $139 for a 3 ft. pair, I'll just about put them up against anything else out there. Of course Polkies get a 10% discount too :)
    Sunfire Theater Grand IV
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature
    SRS 2.1TL
    SDA 2BTL's
    CSiA6
    FXiA4
    FXiA6
    SDA 2A's
    Monitor 10A's

    http://www.douglasconnection.com
  • rburgess714rburgess714 Posts: 273
    If you are looking for a great bang for the buck balanced interconnect cables, please take a look at our Bravo XLR IC's with Vampire Wire XLRF and XLRM connectors. At $139 for a 3 ft. pair, I'll just about put them up against anything else out there. Of course Polkies get a 10% discount too :)

    Hey Doug - I received mine today and they look great and sound even better.
    Living Room
    Yamaha Aventage RX-A 1060, Parasound P5, Parasound A23, Yamaha BD-S681, Auralic Aries Mini, Polk S60, Polk S30, Samsung 60" LED

    Office
    B&K Ref 50, B&K 200.2, Chromecast, LSiM 703s

    Douglas Connection ICs and Cables
  • helipilotdoughelipilotdoug Posts: 1,178
    If you are looking for a great bang for the buck balanced interconnect cables, please take a look at our Bravo XLR IC's with Vampire Wire XLRF and XLRM connectors. At $139 for a 3 ft. pair, I'll just about put them up against anything else out there. Of course Polkies get a 10% discount too :)

    Hey Doug - I received mine today and they look great and sound even better.
    Thanks Ray. Glad to hear they arrived and you are a happy camper. :)
    Sunfire Theater Grand IV
    Sunfire Cinema Grand Signature
    SRS 2.1TL
    SDA 2BTL's
    CSiA6
    FXiA4
    FXiA6
    SDA 2A's
    Monitor 10A's

    http://www.douglasconnection.com
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