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Balanced and unbalanced signals
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques  
Author Balanced and unbalanced signals
naturligfunktion
Hello,

I've been thinking quite a bit what's the difference between unbalanced and balanced signals, and where to use them "correctly". Problem is that I really don't know the difference. All I know is that XLR is balanced and someone told me that balanced is good.

But is that the case? Is there times when an unbalanced signal is something to prefer? If so, why?

What do you guys think? Many thanks
Michael O.
This is pretty much the defacto bal/un bible and explains things in simple terms:
https://www.rane.com/note110.html
synthpriest
Great document to have handy in the lab while making cables. Thanks for sharing. Guinness ftw!
tuttlerecall
Michael O. wrote:
This is pretty much the defacto bal/un bible and explains things in simple terms:
https://www.rane.com/note110.html


2nd this.

The rane notes are super helpful in wiring a studio. The why not Wye article helped me understand the importance of direction in signal flow. https://www.rane.com/note109.html
Esample9
The short answer is, everything should be balanced all the time. Although I realize it isn’t always practical.
synthpriest
Esample9 wrote:
The short answer is, everything should be balanced all the time. Although I realize it isn’t always practical.


This is not possible when most of the synths and samplers of this world produce unbalanced signals. Of course those signals could be converted to balanced ones but the cost for a big setup could be tremendous. Trial and error approach while seeking what sounds more pleasing is the only option right here. Guinness ftw!
jorg
Balanced is for very long cable runs, such as in a large studio or stage situation. For the typical small studio, the loss you'd encounter when transforming normal instruments to balanced format is worse than the degradation due to unbalanced cable.
3pand
Great info, thanks everyone. I found this article that says some designers find that an unbalanced design sounds better and/or is more cost effective in some situations:

https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-why-might-equipment-design er-prefer-unbalanced-io
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