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Balanced vs unbalanced in the chain... (Read 1277 times)
Seasoned Member

Posts: 651
Balanced vs unbalanced in the chain...
06/28/16 at 18:36:10
So, I see the benefit of balanced out of the DAC to the pre.  Then, balanced out of the pre to the amp.   What happens if anywhere in the chain there is unbalanced.  Does that negate what balanced brings to the table?   Say, for example, unbalanced from a turntable to the phono pre.  Unbalanced from the phono pre to the pre.  Then balanced from the pre to the amp?  Or likewise with any other source.  Or worse, balanced all the way and then unbalanced on the final stage going to the amp?

Is it best to keep the whole system one way or the other?

I'm thinking that if I'm going to invest in a ZTPRE then it makes sense that to take full advantage of the balanced interfaces to the ZTPRE with every other component going the same way.

What say you?

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Seasoned Member

Listen Often/Listen

Posts: 3217
Re: Balanced vs unbalanced in the chain...
Reply #1 - 06/28/16 at 19:37:41
I lose no sleep, running unbalanced (RCA)-because of the quality of what I'm running through my whole Listening Room System.....and Speaker Cable.  ............CSP3 kicks ass to ZMA!
{The low noise floor of my IC's lets me utilize the higher voltage output of my CSP3.....matching balanced output-(means) no distortion or noise. .....I can't complain}.

However, downstairs System is not the glory of Decware, so I will run my (new) Audio Research LS17 SE from her to Behemoth Amp via Balanced next week (vs. unbalanced) for some serious break-in, in the Big Rig, through to the Polk SRS SDA 1.2's.....and let you know. Upstream sources run in to the LS17 SE, unbalanced (RCA) obviously. I have 3 unbalanced and 2 balanced inputs on her.

To answer your question: If you go with the ZTPRE, go ALL balanced....I would....and send or drive my ZMA for the balanced inputs. My 2 cents.   Cool Cool
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