XLR Inputs or not

Forkbeard

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Sep 19, 2017
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Hi guys, feeling very excited having just ordered my new Yamaha A-S3200 having enjoyed an A-S1100 for the past five years. My question is what do we think of the balanced inputs. I have a NAD C658 streamer which is great sounding and which I normally use the RCA Inputs for. Do you think I would benefit from using the balanced inputs and if so what cables are you guys using and recommending? Thanks in advance for your valued assistance.
 

Nigel-B

Active member
Feb 17, 2021
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I am not sure whether Muljao comment was due to specific knowledge of the A-S3200 (and I have not hear this specific yamaha), because potential benefits from XLR will depend on how well the internal circuit implementation is executed, but on equipment where it is done well, there can be a benefit over equally priced RCAs. The level of benefit could also depend on how much external interference/noise there is in the area of your cabling as properly implemented (and I doubt Yamaha would not) XLR has a normal and inverted signal which when 'summed' allow the identification and removal of noise. Which is why they are used for studio applications, etc. On my current systems which have dCS, Vitus, Trinnov and Dan D'Agostino components XLRs are superior to RCA, noting that Dan D'Agostino does not put RCA inputs on his power amps. I have undertaking extensive comparison trials here with multiple cable makes including Chord, Nordost, van den hul, Tellerium-Q and ended up with the higher end Chord XLRs on that system. But I can also say I had XLR improvements on the previous Yamaha AV system I had using the CX-A5000 to both Anthem and Yamaha power amps. I found recently in helping a friend set up their system that the Chord Shawline XLRs were a worthwhile improvement over the baselevel ones into a mid-priced power amp. For these reasons I would agree with AL ears, see if you can borrow a set of XLRs and try them, how easy it will be to do in Lockdown I am not sure, but Richer sounds used to let you borrow comparison cables for a deposit. You may need to check with the supplier but Chord also did have a money back satisfaction guarantee. I'd also say that if you find a trial shows an improvement you could get a bargain buying a second-hand pair of old model "higher-spec" cables I picked up some Nordost Blue Heaven XLRs for under £100. Hope that helps.
 

Oldfart

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2020
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Hi Forkbeard,
congratulations on the Yamaha - I have a similar quality Luxman. I cannot expand on Nigel‘s comprehensive reply other than to add that I replaced Chord Clearway RCA with XLR, although the dealer recommended the pricier Shawline! Definitely worth trying, imho as every little helps.
 

Gray

Well-known member
I would make use of the XLR.
You (or someone you know) can easily make your own, highest quality leads - using Neutrik connectors and Van Damme Starquad cable.
The colour you want.
The length you want.
And all for well under £20.

EDIT
Or, let these people do the making for you:
You could pay (a lot) more for XLR leads, if it makes you feel better. I wouldn't.
 
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abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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It’s mainly longer lengths were XLR (Balanced) scores but no harm in trying them out.

Avoid anything that is made by Hi-Fi cable manufactures, as they just rip you off with their prices by adding a fancy name and irrelevant claims on their products.

Go to a pro music store (There are also plenty online) and get your cables from there (That’s what the professionals do) as you will get much better quality at a fraction of the price compared to those sold by Hi-Fi dealers.

Bill
 
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muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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Xlr cables are designed to be used at longer lengths and use higher input voltages so any electric interference can be minimized. I wasn't being smart and don't have any experience with that fantastic looking yamaha, but unless it's being used 40 metres from the source and cables are routed near lots of other electrical gear that has potential to cause issue, there should be no difference, of course there is no harm trying them out to be sure
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Xlr cables are designed to be used at longer lengths
Yes, useful for mic signals travelling 100 metres (past multiple noise sources) to mixing desks.
Which is where Starquad cable comes into it's own - a cable which might seem like total overkill for 1 metre of line level balanced.
But it's got proven EMI rejection over standard balanced cable, it's barely more expensive so with all the RF flying about these days, for me it's a case of why not use Starquad cable?
Won't improve the sound, but could prevent it being (however slightly) degraded.
 
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ThisIsJimmy

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Nov 11, 2020
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A properly implemented XLR setup will help to eliminate ground loop noise in your audio setup that you can get in certain circumstances using RCA (can be noticeable if your multiple amp / dac / other devices with in built Power Supply Units in the audio loop). If you have the option for it and SINAD performance in your system is comparable either way, it's worth doing.

If you notice noise in your system without playing any audio, it's definitely worth doing.
 

Oldfart

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2020
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an expert:
Ask Paul
FWIIW my XLRs are only 1 m, so the benefits are not restricted to long runs and all of my interconnects and speaker cables are routed well away from power leads No induction loops Etc.
 
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bigfish786

Moderator
Jan 29, 2013
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i've never had balanced input/outputs and its not something i think i'm missing out on either.
if you have them, try them.
to avoid another cable thread, i'm saying nothing for/against them.
some people like them, some see no benefit.
it won't cost much to try them out. spend some time with them and make up your own mind.
don't forget to get some friends round (when we eventually can) and let them listen too.
more than anything, enjoy the music. :)
 

Gray

Well-known member
an expert:
Ask Paul
FWIIW my XLRs are only 1 m, so the benefits are not restricted to long runs and all of my interconnects and speaker cables are routed well away from power leads No induction loops Etc.
Expert Paul demonstrated zero respect for his tape - made me cringe when he put that balanced lead down on his laced-up tape :eek:.....who could do that? (Anywhere but there).
 

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