Balanced Inputs

Ceruleance Posts: 991
What are balanced and unbalanced inputs, and what do I need to know about them, specifically in regards to using an amp with XLR inputs (and most likely using an RCA to XLR patch cable)
Post edited by Ceruleance on


  • rskarvan
    rskarvan Posts: 2,374
    edited February 2003
    There is really no such thing as an RCA patch cable. A balanced input needs a "shorting device" to trick a balanced input into acting like an RCA input. This is what the cable you are referring to does.

    Balanced inputs lower the noise level 6db. Thats a bunch.
    Having a balanced amp is a VERY good thing. To do it justice, you need a balanced preamp and preferable a balanced source (cd player).

    What balanced inputs do is cancel any noise that is picked up in the transmission cables.

    A balanced 2-channel amp has twice the circuitry that a normal amp has. You should do it justice by respecting the XLR inputs and use them if at all possible. Balanced amps are a treasure.
    But, you need a balanced pre-amp to enjoy them - at minimum.

    Pro-audio is XLR. Here is the heirarchy:
    Lowest: Receiver.
    Mid-low: Receiver + external amp.
    Mid-High: Preamp + Amp.
    Hi: Balanced Preamp + Balanced Amp
    Very High: Balanced CD + Balanced Preamp + Balanced Amp

    Enjoy your amp. What brand is it?
  • Tour2ma
    Tour2ma Posts: 10,177
    edited February 2003
    I did not know that...

    Thanks rskarvan...
    More later,
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  • Ceruleance
    Ceruleance Posts: 991
    edited February 2003
    Thanks for the info, I haven't bought my amp yet, but I am looking at used Carver Pro series amps. Not sure I have the dough for a balanced preamp so I will probably be using the amp with unbalanced inputs for the time being.