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XLR vs RCA interconnects

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sunand777

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Is there any difference in sound quality when using between XLR and RCA interconnects?
 
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saikatbiswas82

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Voltage is double in XLR compared to RCA. So there might be audible difference in SPL.
Regarding SQ, If the connectors, cables are of same quality and RCA IC length is below 3ft, the difference might not be audible in a high end gear. However if there is an option go for XLR, I'd prefer that option only.
 

haisaikat

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Is there any difference in sound quality when using between XLR and RCA interconnects?
Never used XLR myself although my amp and CDP have both opTions. But general consensus is XLR is used more in professional situations where wires run more than 10 feet say from device to amp or mixer so that distortion is less. Also I have learnt from this forum that unless you have devices which are fully balanced internally (even if they are provided inputs and outputs as balanced by converting unbalanced to balanced) the the full benefit may not be realised
 

surfatwork

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Unless your system is fully balanced from end to end, dont bother. Even if it is, unless you have very long cable runs or an extraordinarily noisy environment, xlr will make no difference.
You may feel good about it though. :)
 

sunand777

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Never used XLR myself although my amp and CDP have both opTions. But general consensus is XLR is used more in professional situations where wires run more than 10 feet say from device to amp or mixer so that distortion is less. Also I have learnt from this forum that unless you have devices which are fully balanced internally (even if they are provided inputs and outputs as balanced by converting unbalanced to balanced) the the full benefit may not be realised
My amp and source have XLR (Balanced) connections..
Cambridge Azur 851A and Marantz UD7007 ...
 

Kannan

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Technically, XLR is a superior topology but has to be implemented end to end. But for short runs, doe snot matter much. Further, inter mixing takes away the gains
 

Kannan

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My amp and source have XLR (Balanced) connections..
Cambridge Azur 851A and Marantz UD7007 ...
then go with balanced. Even balanced has different topologies, essentially the way the cable is terminated. Check the RANE website, there is an old page which gives a detailed chart of all types of connections for XLR and RCA
 

haisaikat

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My amp and source have XLR (Balanced) connections..
Cambridge Azur 851A and Marantz UD7007 ...
I have similar CA flagships for both source and amplifier but I confirmed with CA these are not balanced end to end and I am assuming it applies to 851A too otherwise the specs only advertised Fully differential balanced .....

I suggest you double check by raising a ticket with CA support like I did

If it's not end to end and you are supposed to hear no difference using a standard 3feet RCA vs XLR of same quality
 

sunand777

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I think XLR is more used in professional areas, and may not get any advantage or sound quality improvement than RCA in home use
 

bornfi

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In audio world, in my experience, if possible, it is always better to try something instead of going by what is written on net :).
 
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drkrack

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Thereotically balanced should improve SNR over unbalanced, noise induced by Poorly designed Power unit or poor AC supply should be less in balanced out.

But, The implementation of balanced out is important as well ; for eg. measurement of noise levels of my DAC/preamp Smsl Su-8 show that balanced has edge over unbalanced mostly.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-smsl-su-8-dac.3778/
But after - 7db volume levels the noise increases in balanced out over unbalanced.

So look into these aspects of individual devices, for which you are considering using Balanced outputs. Do not take the words in others experiences like "difference is inaudible" etc, very decisively because lot of environmental variables and subjective variables are involved.
 

saikatbiswas82

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Do not take the words in others experiences like "difference is inaudible" etc, very decisively because lot of environmental variables and subjective variables are involved.
I think I've also used 'might not' in my sentence.

Audio is very very subjective where no two designers (audio equipment designers) agree to the same point or implementation (let alone forum posters).
 

Rockfella

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Perfect thread for my current situation. I am unable to find 3.5 mm to dual XLR male cable 3 meters long. From what I have read it is an overall superior connection and that is the only reason why I want to use it on my studio monitors which are running fine on RCA right now except there are some hisses once in a while. Any info on where I can find one.
 

bornfi

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Funny thing I can't find 3.5 mm to dual XLR Male cable that splits in the end.
Is this what you are looking out for? Not sure if it is available in India though. But for real benefit, you need to have both source and target devices to be balanced.

 
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Funny thing I can't find 3.5 mm to dual XLR Male cable that splits in the end.
instead dont use balanced. The idea of using balanced is that it has 3 pins at both the ends, negative, positive and ground. The positive and negative wires both carry the audio signal but with opposite polarities. This means that any noise from outside interference sources will be cancelled out. If you cannot understand and appreciate this, please do not use XLR and go with single ended/unbalanced.
 

Rockfella

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instead dont use balanced. The idea of using balanced is that it has 3 pins at both the ends, negative, positive and ground. The positive and negative wires both carry the audio signal but with opposite polarities. This means that any noise from outside interference sources will be cancelled out. If you cannot understand and appreciate this, please do not use XLR and go with single ended/unbalanced.
I have a pair of studio monitors connected to an internal sound card. The card has 3.5 mm connections. I guess 3.5 mm to XLR is just a connectivity option not a TRUE unbalanced connection. I don't understand this much and I think I should stick with 3.5 mm to RCA for the time being.
 
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jls001

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Perfect thread for my current situation. I am unable to find 3.5 mm to dual XLR male cable 3 meters long. From what I have read it is an overall superior connection and that is the only reason why I want to use it on my studio monitors which are running fine on RCA right now except there are some hisses once in a while. Any info on where I can find one.
There's a simple reason why you might not be able to find such a ready-made cable because 3.5 mm jacks are consumer connectors used for unbalanced audio and XLRs are typically used in professional audio equipment for balanced connections. It would be best to get it custom made at your local electronics market. Please note that the cable would be effectively an unbalanced cable.
 

Rockfella

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There's a simple reason why you might not be able to find such a ready-made cable because 3.5 mm jacks are consumer connectors used for unbalanced audio and XLRs are typically used in professional audio equipment for balanced connections. It would be best to get it custom made at your local electronics market. Please note that the cable would be effectively an unbalanced cable.
Then it really does not make sense to go XLR unless it is end to end XLR if i am not wrong.
 
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