Audio cables play a critical role in the quality of sound we hear. The most commonly used audio cables are unbalanced and balanced cables. In recent years, there has been a debate about the superiority of balanced audio cables over unbalanced cables. In this blog post, we will explore balanced audio cables, how they work, and their benefits to help you understand if they are better.
What are Balanced Audio Cables?
Balanced audio cables are designed to reduce noise and interference in audio signals. They use a balanced configuration that involves three conductors: two signal wires and one ground wire. The two signal wires carry an identical audio signal that is out of phase with each other. The signal is then transmitted along the wires, with one wire carrying a positive signal and the other carrying a negative signal. The ground wire carries no signal and is used to shield the signal wires from external interference.
How do Balanced Audio Cables Work?
Balanced audio cables work on the principle of common mode rejection (CMR). CMR is a method of reducing unwanted noise and interference in the audio signal. When the audio signal is transmitted along the two signal wires, any noise or interference that is picked up along the way will be present on both wires. However, since the signal is out of phase, any noise or interference that is common to both wires will be cancelled out when the two signals are combined at the receiving end.
What are the Benefits of Balanced Audio Cables?
The benefits of using balanced audio cables include:
1. Reduced Noise and Interference: The main benefit of using balanced audio cables is the reduction of noise and interference in the audio signal. The use of the two signal wires and the ground wire provides greater shielding from external interference, resulting in a cleaner and clearer sound.
2. Longer Cable Runs: Balanced audio cables can transmit audio signals over longer distances than unbalanced cables. This is because the balanced configuration reduces the effects of signal loss due to cable capacitance and resistance.
3. Better Signal-to-Noise Ratio: The use of balanced audio cables can result in a better signal-to-noise ratio. This is because the reduction of noise and interference in the audio signal results in a clearer and more defined sound.
4. Greater Compatibility: Many professional audio devices are designed to work with balanced audio cables. Therefore, the use of balanced audio cables ensures greater compatibility with a wider range of audio equipment.
Are Balanced Audio Cables Better?
Based on the benefits mentioned above, it is safe to say that balanced audio cables are better than unbalanced cables. However, it is important to note that the superiority of balanced audio cables is dependent on the quality of the equipment being used. Balanced audio cables will not make a significant difference if the audio equipment being used is of low quality. Therefore, it is important to invest in high-quality audio equipment and cables to ensure the best possible sound quality.
Balanced audio cables are designed to reduce noise and interference in audio signals, resulting in a cleaner and clearer sound. They provide many benefits, including reduced noise and interference, longer cable runs, better signal-to-noise ratio, and greater compatibility. While they may be more expensive than unbalanced cables, their superior performance justifies the additional cost. Ultimately, the choice between balanced and unbalanced cables depends on the quality of the audio equipment being used and the desired level of sound quality.