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Is Your System Single-Ended or Balanced?

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  • Is Your System Single-Ended or Balanced?

    Me, all single-ended save for between the cartridge and phonostage (though technically could run balanced between the tape deck and tape stage). That's because conrad-johnson has to be one of the few companies left making single-ended gear. Funny thing. Never had any hum issues with their gear.

    Would whether a piece (s) or gear is single-ended or balanced impact your buying decision?
    22
    Single-ended
    40.91%
    9
    Balanced
    50.00%
    11
    Quasi-balanced and single-ended
    0%
    0
    Little bit of both
    4.55%
    1
    Little bit more of one than the other
    4.55%
    1
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    Mine is all balanced but over the years my system has been wired many ways. All single ended, single ended mixed with balanced and all balanced. I purchase equipment for how it sounds, I think both connections are capable of top performance.

    Oddly enough, current preamp, phono, DAC and amps are each capable of operating both single ended and balanced. There is a bit more gain wired all balanced and I like balanced connectors since they are such sure, positive fit.



    Comment


    • #3
      Balanced from beginning to end. (Cartridge > amps)
      Last edited by tom_hankins; 09-29-2016, 01:24 PM.
      SOURCE: VINYL - EAT C-Sharp with, EAT LPS power supply, My Sonic Lab Signature Gold
      DIGITAL - Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC. Roon Nucleus w/EAT Lps power supply. Auralic Aires G1
      PHONOSTAGE: AudioNet PAM G2 with AudioNet EPX power supply.
      PREAMP: Audionet PRE G2.
      AMPLIFIER: Audionet MAX monoblocks.
      SPEAKERS: YG Acoustics Anat III Signatures (upgraded to Sonja 1.2) JL Audio F112 V2 (x2)
      CABLES: Kubala-Sosna, Kubala Sosna Xpander.....Audio Desk Systeme RCM, Adona Rack, GIK & Acoustimac room treatment, Isoacoustics

      Comment


      • #4
        It certainly hasn't influenced my buying decisions since I began buying hi-fi gear circa 1970 or so. But that's not from pig-headedness. I know that in the old days, balanced was the way to go for "pro"gear for noise rejection and long runs of signal cable; the connector quality was/is generally more robust than the ubiquitous "RCA" connector on most consumer audio gear. In terms of sonics and audio goodness in the home, I'm sure there are arguments to be made for why it is better, apart from noise rejection. But, it really hasn't figure into my mental processes as a factor. Am I as big an ignoramus in this as I am in some other things?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Albert Porter View Post
          Mine is all balanced but over the years my system has been wired many ways. All single ended, single ended mixed with balanced and all balanced. I purchase equipment for how it sounds, I think both connections are capable of top performance.

          Oddly enough, current preamp, phono, DAC and amps are each capable of operating both single ended and balanced. There is a bit more gain wired all balanced and I like balanced connectors since they are such sure, positive fit.


          That's a great insight and comment! RCA connectors were certainly not designed with sound in mind.

          I wonder what and whether there's even a better connection if we were to start all over again.
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
          -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
          -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
          -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
          -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
          -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
          -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
          -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
            It certainly hasn't influenced my buying decisions since I began buying hi-fi gear circa 1970 or so. But that's not from pig-headedness. I know that in the old days, balanced was the way to go for "pro"gear for noise rejection and long runs of signal cable; the connector quality was/is generally more robust than the ubiquitous "RCA" connector on most consumer audio gear. In terms of sonics and audio goodness in the home, I'm sure there are arguments to be made for why it is better, apart from noise rejection. But, it really hasn't figure into my mental processes as a factor. Am I as big an ignoramus in this as I am in some other things?
            RCAs were adopted with one thing in mind and that wasn't sound. It was all about ease of connecting and unconnecting equipment.

            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
            ________________________________________

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

            Comment


            • #7
              balanced except for the TT and Phono stage
              Chris
              ----------------------------------------------------------------
              Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

              Comment


              • #8
                I've been using c-j equipment since 1993 in one form or another and since they eschew balanced in favor of single-ended simplicity...I did have problems with hum in the past and used cheater plugs. Having switched from tubes to solid state the only hum now comes from my cable connection. An isolation transformer solved that problem.
                Oppo BDP-105D, PSA DS DAC
                c-j CA200
                MartinLogan EM-ESL
                WireWorld Starlight Cat 8, XLO Signature 1.1, 1.4 and 3.1 interconnects; PranaWire Photon USB; XLO S3-5.2 speaker cables; PSA Juice Bar and Power Wing II PLCs, PranaWire Vajra and Satori power cords

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Albert Porter View Post
                  Mine is all balanced but over the years my system has been wired many ways. All single ended, single ended mixed with balanced and all balanced. I purchase equipment for how it sounds, I think both connections are capable of top performance.

                  Oddly enough, current preamp, phono, DAC and amps are each capable of operating both single ended and balanced. There is a bit more gain wired all balanced and I like balanced connectors since they are such sure, positive fit.


                  After having the pleasure of living with BAT electronics in my last system, I use balanced where I can. My turntable is single ended but I run balanced from my phono to my Integrated. I appreciate the lower noise and increased gain.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I guess the higher cost of balanced ICs isn't a deterent but a nuisance?
                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                    Comment


                    • cpp
                      cpp commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Myles I guess it would depend on the distance of the cable run and that cost. The neutrik type of connectors are not that expensive you might have to pay a whopping $4-6 dollars for one cable connection. I think these cable manufacturers just tack on the cost just to construct the xlr cables vs the RCA cable like its some mystery or voodoo audiophile secret xlr's connectors for $30 each. Buy bulk cable and connectors and if your handy you would be surprised what you can build a cable for. Not high cost at all.
                      Last edited by cpp; 09-29-2016, 01:36 PM.

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                    That's because conrad-johnson has to be one of the few companies left making single-ended gear.
                    I TOTALLY don't understand this statement so please explain what you define to be the differences between balanced and single-ended....

                    What makes Conrad-Johnson unique (or in the minority) in this regard?


                    I don't believe a design is "balanced" simply because it uses XLR connectors.
                    Speakers: Rockport Avior
                    Amp: Ypsilon Aelius Mk II (Silver Edition)
                    Preamp: Pass Labs XS
                    Phono preamp: EMIA LR Phono Corrector, Slagle Silver SUTs
                    Phono: Continuum Criterion, Kuzma 4-Point, Lyra Etna SL Lambda
                    Digital: dCS Network Bridge, dCS Scarlatti DAC
                    Tape: Studer A80 RC, Doshi V3.0

                    Comment


                    • MylesBAstor
                      MylesBAstor commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I was referring to the inherent design of the equipment eg. true differential circuit design. There are other companies that achieve balanced design with the use of a transformer too but some will argue that is not a true balanced design. I think Ralph has posted on this subject--as did an old issue of TAS--when balanced equipment first made an appearance. Here's a link to something Ralph has posted: http://www.audiodesignguide.com/otl/atmasphere.html

                  • #12
                    I always played with se systems and my Kondo m1000 mk i also forces me to do so. I still have the feeling that se sounds more natural/organic/real than balanced. Am I wrong on this?

                    A few manufacturors that I admire greatly - such as Tidal Audio (their electronics) and Trinity - strongly prefer balanced electronics. Is this preference primarely a matter of electricians being guided predominantly by measurements/technical issues or are there real sonic benefits such as more power or being able to use long(er) cables. Any additional benefits if we opt for balanced systems?

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                      I guess the higher cost of balanced ICs isn't a deterent but a nuisance?
                      why should they cost more? the vast majority of bulk wire is twin-axial in construction with a separate shield which is compatible with balanced or SE terminations.
                      TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

                      "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                        I guess the higher cost of balanced ICs isn't a deterent but a nuisance?
                        If one can afford balanced components, one should be able to afford the balanced cables to IC them.
                        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                        Comment


                        • Johnny Vinyl
                          Johnny Vinyl commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I know if any of mine did I would buy some to try.

                      • #15
                        Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                        I guess the higher cost of balanced ICs isn't a deterent but a nuisance?
                        Why do you say balanced ICs are a nuisance? Do you mean if you are using them in an unbalanced system? As for cost, Mogami makes some great sounding balanced ICs and they are dirt cheap compared to the Brinks truck you need to buy some balanced and unbalanced ICs on the market.
                        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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