Truth or fiction?

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If you approach a piece of equipment with balanced inputs your expectation seems obvious. To enjoy balanced audio's benefits, of which there are many. You would rightly feel cheated if that balanced input wasn't actually doing anything differently than its single ended mate. Right? Such is the buyer's dilemma. Not all XLR inputs are balanced. And this is particularly true of some lower cost products that accommodate the different connector without offering the assumed benefits. In fact, there's even an unfortunate term in the Audiophile's lexicon to weed out the fictitious inputs from the truthful ones. True balanced. I cringe every time I write "true balanced". The same logic of presenting something as real when it is not applies to cheese food, a term forced upon processed food manufacturers presenting their chemical brews as cheese—a word with specific meaning. Providing a single ended XLR receptacle without notice is just as misleading as calling (Canola Oil, Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, Sodium Phosphate,Lactic Acid, Whey Protein Concentrate, Mustard Flour, Worcestershire Sauce, Sodium Alginate, Sorbic Acid and food coloring) cheese. Though I've covered this subject before in these posts, perhaps it's time to review once again what it means to be balanced. What does that actually mean, and what are the benefits of balanced audio when properly applied? Stay tuned.
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Paul McGowan

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