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Author Topic: Hi-Fi connections and unbalanced people  (Read 7254 times)

Yngve Hoeyland

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Hi-Fi connections and unbalanced people
« on: January 17, 2007, 01:13:39 pm »

I stopped by a Hi-Fi store to pick up a set of speakers recently, and the salesperson asked me if I would like to buy some high quality signal cables for my setup. I politely told him no thanks, I'll use some standard ones for now - he clearly frowned at my response. I'd bought some fairly nice speakers, and I'm guessing he's thinking I've wasted money on expensive speakers by compromising my signal chain.

What is your take on $$$ unbalanced RCA signal cables? Is it all just a spoof?

Why do the audiophiles not use balanced connections in the first place?

I remember reading a "Slaying Dragons" article by John Watkinson about this in Resolution. Here's a PDF version:
http://www.resolutionmag.com/pdfs/DRAGONS/grounding.pdf



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Patrick Tracy

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2007, 02:38:18 pm »

Yngve Hoeyland wrote on Wed, 17 January 2007 11:13


What is your take on $$$ unbalanced RCA signal cables? Is it all just a spoof?


Yes.
Yngve Hoeyland wrote on Wed, 17 January 2007 11:13


Why do the audiophiles not use balanced connections in the first place?


Cost/benefit for short runs.

John Ward

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2007, 05:28:14 pm »

I have always been amazed at people who pay hundreds of dollars for (insert brand name here) speaker and unbalanced interface cables. No doubt the stuff is good or great quality, but certainly not any better than the high quality pro audio cable that is available.

A couple of years ago I mixed a show for a very famous acoustic guitar act that brought his own mic cables (as well as some other items) that he bought at a home theater store. As the stage had been pre wired per his rider, he promptly let me know that he was going to use his "$225.00 each" mic cables. We talked about that a little and he swore that there was a huge difference in his cable and every other cable he had ever used. Turns out a few months later I could buy the same cable, same gold connectors, wholesale for about $24.00 each. Someone is making a tidy 1000% profit on these mic cabls, and someone is definately getting ripped off for 900%.....Regardless, the show was phenominal and the artist a real blessing to work with.

I have worked a lot with another guitarist whom you all may be familiar with that spent about four hours one day listening to nine volt batteries...I thought it was just him being his anal self but at the end of this little session I was either so confused that I really couldn't tell what was going on or I, too, was hearing a difference in the batteries. Same guy uses all his cable in one direction and has spent forty five minutes plugging his amps into different outlets (same circuit) to find the 'right tone'. His quirkiness has earned him a couple of Grammies so who's to argue???
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Bob Lee (QSC)

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2007, 05:40:01 pm »

I'd say he earned the Grammys in spite of his quirkiness.
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Toby Pike

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2007, 06:29:28 pm »

Yngve,

Several years ago, I read an interesting article in Audiophile magazine that addressed the topic of high end audio cables vs. 14 gauge stranded lamp cord.  The conclusion that the author made was that to his highly trained ears, there was no discernible difference between the two.

From an engineering point of view, the benefits of using a coaxial cable vs 2conductor ribbon cable (lamp cord) have more to do with impedance matching and transmission line theory than anything, and at the distances and frequencies typically used for audio, this doesn't normally come into play.  The only thing I would stay away from are low quality RCA cables available from "bulls eye" department stores or "electronics outhouse" chains, but if you pick up a reel of lamp cord from the "house box" store, you won't be disappointed.
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Patrick Tracy

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2007, 06:35:21 pm »

Lamp cord for speakers might be okay. For unbalanced line connections coaxial shielded is the way to go.

Mike Butler (media)

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2007, 06:47:39 pm »

Obviously you don't use unshielded cable for line level signals.
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2007, 07:14:20 pm »

Mike Butler (media) wrote on Wed, 17 January 2007 15:47

Obviously you don't use unshielded cable for line level signals.



Actually, it's the twist that makes most of the difference. Think of largely unshielded phone lines and CAT5 that use twisted pair.

-Bink
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Andy Peters

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2007, 07:48:34 pm »

Yngve Hoeyland wrote on Wed, 17 January 2007 11:13

Why do the audiophiles not use balanced connections in the first place?


Because audiophiles are, by definition, unbalanced.

-a
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Ian Hunt

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Re: Hi-Fi people and unbalanced connections
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2007, 07:59:49 pm »

Can we rename this thread Hi-Fi connections and unbalanced people then  Smile
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