I get a lot of questions about balanced audio. You know, the kind that looks like a bigger cable and is not the standard RCA type. Of course we've spent time on this subject before but it's always good to go for a refresher now and then. Plus, things change for people in their systems and perhaps this subject wasn't of interest at that time and now it might be. Who knows? In any case be prepared for a short little series on balanced audio cables, inputs and outputs: what they do, how they work, why we might want to use them or not. Perhaps the best place to start would be to show the difference between what we refer to as a single ended cable, vs. a balanced cable. The picture shows both styles of cables. The one on the right is a single ended, traditional RCA style of cable we're all used to. Note all that's there is a single wire in the middle (hot or where the signal goes) and the outer conductor, which is ground The one on the left is a balanced or XLR cable some of us use, while others just wonder what the differences are. The first thing you might notice is the balanced cable is really nothing more than the center conductor of two separate single ended cables, bundled together. It has a single, common shield or ground around the outside. Tomorrow let's start to look at why that might make sense to do and what the differences are.
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