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commsysman's picture
Last seen: 1 day 16 hours ago
Joined: Apr 4 2006 - 11:33am

I spent years working in instrumentation at Autonetics and Douglas Aircraft doing instrumentation and data acquisition work as a senior technician.
No engineer, in my experience, would ever consider using anything but a balanced interconnect to acquire data from a microphone or transducer, because it is well-known that the signal path must be independent of the shield ground to prevent masking of the signal by ultrasonic or RF oscillations in the cable or atmospheric pickup of fields.
So why do supposedly intelligent engineers in the high-end audio field persist in the ridiculous fiction that unbalanced cables are a satisfactory means of passing an "audiophile-quality" signal from one piece of equipment to another? This is nonsense and they know it if they are educated engineers and not just circuit experimenters; unbalanced operation is inherently and fatally flawed. Ever seen an unbalanced interconnect in a recording studio? I never have. Does that tell you anything? Hmmmm.
The audio press may not all be trained engineers, but even they should know by now that balanced connections transfer signals flawlessly, regardless of fancy cable construction or cable length; if they have not figured this out yet they are living in some cable company's fools paradise and need to do some serious re-thinking of the subject.
The audio press should start educating their readers as to the inherently flawed nature of unbalanced interconnects, and dismiss any piece of equipment that does not provide fully balanced connections as its basic mode of operation as simply not being worthy of being called audiophile equipment (mid-fi or junk, but not audiophile; no way!).
Yes, if you fool around long enough, you can find out which cable is less flawed when making an unbalanced connection between two pieces of equipment; but why break your neck screwing with an inherently flawed system when an essentially flawless system is universally used in professional studios and in engineering instrumentation? Why jury-rig ways to walk on one leg when it is well known that two work infinitely better? Why spend huge amounts of money on cables to work around the inadequate design of the equipment? Makes no sense to me...get real! Spend your money on properly engineered BALANCED equipment and BALANCED cables will work perfectly every single time at a nominal cost.
If we were talking about $200 receivers and CD players, I could understand why the unbalanced system is needed for reduced circuit costs, but that rationale absolutely does not hold up when we get to 10 (or 50) times that price and equipment still has this horribly flawed sytem engineered in at the factory! This is just plain STUPID!!! It is stupidity on the part of the engineers, but equally stupid on the part of the press, and also consumers, who should know better by now (or can easily find out when the writers start educating them).
I call on all audiophiles to get smart and reject unbalanced operation when considering new purchases, and for the audiophile press to start treating unbalanced operation as a totally unacceptable mode for true audiophile equipment. This is nothing but an unacceptable carryover from cheap equipment that has no place in the audiophile world. Let's wake up and get serious if we want top-quality sound without needless cable experimentation and expense due to an antiquated, flawed system!

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