Do you use XLR or Single ended?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Ammitsboel, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Hi' all mastering folks!

    There are good things with both Balanced and Single Ended but there's also bad things.... at the moment i find Single Ended gives the best results.

    What do you use in your mastering studio?

    Best Regards,
  2. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    I'm also interested in knowing why you use it :)
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I am unclear as what you mean ... in the interconnection of hardware? Or at the patchbay?
    Most facilities employ balanced lines and patch bays whenever possible.. but the patchbays do not usually use xlr connections but rather balanced tt (tiny telephone) plugs to save in space requirements.

    In some cases 1/4" patch bays are used but this is relatevly uncommon in pro rooms.. also used sometimes are the older military standard, long frame jacks, which look much like 1/4" jacks but are different in that the tips of the male plugs are smaller in diameter. You can ruin a longframe patch bay by inserting normal 1/4" plugs into it.
  4. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    This is a question to mastering engineers about what they use; single or balanced? and why?

    Simply what does they think sound best.
    I've done my testing for now and have found what I'm going to use, but I would like to know what others use and think...

    As a mastering engineer they must have tried both soultions over a period to test what's best like I have.
  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Do you mean single wire or dual wire?
  6. gl

    gl Guest

    I think the poster is referring to the overall topology of a facility...

    I have found some gear to sound better single-ended.
    With other gear, it doesn't seem to make much of a difference. I suppose it has to do with the way an equipment designer chooses to balance the circuit (i.e electronically or with a transformer)

    For ultimate transparency, I would say the less stuff in the path, the better. But with things like Crane Song gear, the stuff manages to still sound fantastic, balanced.

    I guess my preference would be, which ever sounds the best.
  7. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Oh, language barrier. all my equipment is balanced bar 1 piece. all have transformers too. So I run everything balanced.
  8. themaster

    themaster Guest

  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I love transformers. love love love.
  10. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    Thanks all,

    That was what i was looking for.
    With the tests I've don i found Single Ended best even with units that have transformer in/out.
    So I'm planning on converting all my units to Single Ended and make a patch bay with high quality phono plugs :)

    Michael... I love tranformers too :)
    They can glue something together, isolate units from eachother and if they are high end they are just so transparant and natural sounding like my transformer volumen control.... and the output of my DAC.... output of my amps :)

    Best Regards,
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    So are you tieing one end to ground? What do you hear that is different than balanced? I did convert my amp to single ended and it did sound a bit better but that's because it was single ended inside the unit and not truely balanced. So i bypassed a lot of circuitry. But I'm not sure I want to do that to all my other gear. So baring modifying all my single ended gear, what would be the benifit of running single ended cable?
  12. themaster

    themaster Guest

  13. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    yeah I agree with you. the more circuits you can bypass the better. But some of the gear is a little more difficult than others to do that with. Plus I like transformers so i'm not so keen on bypassing them. But the topic was the wire being balanced or unbalanced and I don't know if that makes much of a difference if the circuit is still intact. Now I haven't tried a real listening test on this, i'm just basing my comments on my own personal common sense. henrik, what are your hearing as the difference between the two and is your noise floor increased?
  14. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    I don't have very long cables so I don't get any noise from using Single Ended cabling. I also believe that a Mastering studio should have very low interference noise, then you don't need balanced cabling because of noise issues.

    This is a test I've done with my DAC and monitor system, so I don't have any specs of the differences:

    I have a reference DAC with transformer output so I thought I was safe to use it with balanced cables... But I learned from testing that if I compare the balanced output with the Single Ended(also through tranformer) and using the exact same cabling I hear a difference in dynamics and when using the balanced cables it's like I hear the music more like a "pancake" in the same level, when using Single Ended I can hear so much more micro-dynamics that makes my work easier because a can clearer define what's going on.

    I called my dealer today about this(he has sold a lot of systems like mine to serious music-listeners(lovers) and pro's).
    He did know about this and has performed many tests for himself and customers... Every customer always picked Single Ended when he did a blind test.
    He hears a lot of LP's so he also told me about a famous Recording brand that only used Single Ended wiring... I will get the brand's name when I talk to him again.

    Hope this helps

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