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Quick balanced / unbalanced interconnect question

Discussion in 'audio' started by ExtremePie, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. ExtremePie

    ExtremePie pfm Member

    Hi All,
    Just installing an MDAC+ in the system and I note it has preamp potential with balanced XLD analogue output connections.
    I need to know what happens if I use these to connect directly to my Exposure XVI power amps? The XLD are unbalanced AFAIK so I'd be sending a balanced output signal on XLD to an unbalanced XLD input to the power amps.
    Am I going to hear any difference or have to deal with a smoking ruin that Exposure won't be able to put together again?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Craig B

    Craig B Re:trophile

    Fully balanced connections reverse phase between the +ve and -ve of the twisted pair (or quad) conductors (XLR pins 2 and 3 respectively), so you will hear nothing but residual noise if plugging a balanced source into an unbalanced destination. There exists the possibility of using a passive balun to reverse phase of one leg at destination, however, not only will the advantages of fully balanced operation not be met, the end result is likely to have audible phase errors.

    The M-DAC+ specifications are not all that different between the balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) outputs, so unless you were planning upon very long runs of cable between M-DAC+ and amps then there really isn't a need to go balanced. I'd stick to a good pair of shielded RCA interconnects and enjoy.

    Signal-to-Noise ratio (S/N): >115dB (Unbalanced, A weighted) >120dB (Balanced, A weighted)
    Dynamic Range: >115dB (Unbalanced, A weighted) >120dB (Balanced, A weighted)
    Crosstalk: <-120dB (Unbalanced, @ 1kHz) <-130dB (Balanced, @ 1kHz)

    ^With all those greater-thans and less-thans there is likely to be some dB overlap with short cable runs.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  3. ExtremePie

    ExtremePie pfm Member

    Thanks for this. Very much appreciated.

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