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balanced and unbalanced cables

Discussion in 'Accessories / Connections' started by justfei, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. justfei

    justfei Guest

    okay, im new to audio and live sound so bear with me.

    just a silly question about the difference and use between balanced and unbalanced cables.

    since balanced cables reject noise, why not everything be connected using balanced cables instead of unbalanced ones?
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Because the cable itself doesn't determine whether a signal is balanced or unbalanced. This is determined by the circuitry design of the equipment-opamps, transformers, etc. Balanced gear is, on the whole, moure expensive to manufacture.
  3. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    that said ...

    if you have the choice, use balanced.

    ps - anyone know if theres a practical limit to the length of a balanced trs cable without losing quality?
  4. criedbaby

    criedbaby Guest

    nope... the balanced cables only can be use wit balanced gear connection .. if u're using the cables wit unbalanced gear (like guitar & other instruments), there will be no effect ... to reject more noise, use high quality cables (belden etc) ...
  5. petemano

    petemano Member

    Balanced cables

    As long as both ends are operating balanced circuitry. a balanced signal can travel up to 2000m before the quality starts to degrade.
  6. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    2000 METERS?!?!?! That's over a friggin' mile! The actual useable distance is dictated by a host of variables, not just the fact that it's "balanced". The type of balancing circuit (active or transformer-based), the average operating level (mics and line levels aren't the same in this regard), the quality of the cable (can you say, "capacitance"?), not to mention the amount of RFI in the operating environment, will all determine the max useable distance. I have experienced situations where we couldn't get much over 100 feet on a mic snake without noticeable signal loss, yet the engineers at E-V said "600 feet" (200 meters)...
  7. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    more like 200 meters
  8. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    Some old designers will tell you that a balanced circuit will not sound as good as an unbalanced one. Rupert Neve used to think this way, and most of his consoles were unbalanced.
  9. vdrummer

    vdrummer Active Member

    Just a note on cable lengths, the longer the cable the higher the resistance (and hence lower signal levels among other things). If you need to go longer distances one way to offset this is use a larger diameter (lower gauge) conductor, as the total resistance depends not only on the length but the diameter, smaller the diameter the higher the resistance. Specifically, r~A/l where A is cross sectional area and l is length.
  10. vdrummer

    vdrummer Active Member

    Opps, on vacation so I had a brain fart, the relationship should be r~l/A so as the diameter gets bigger (A gets bigger) the resistance goes down, or if the length gets longer the resistance goes up. Sorry, this was bugging me after reflecting on my answer.

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