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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:40 pm 
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I bought a Space-Tech Lab. VP-102-BAL tube amplifier a couple of months ago and the manual that was provided clearly stated that a performance increase of 20-30% would be realized when using the "true balanced input stage."

My question: Is this a realistic increase in performance just by using XLR Balanced cables?

I had the amplifier connected to a tube pre using RCA's. Recently I connected the amplifier to a solid state preamp using a set of XLR's.

Spec's say Phase is non-inverted for RCA input version or inverted / non-inverted for XLR input version. My solid state preamp allows the choice of which pin is hot, does it make a difference?

Audiois1st

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:59 pm 
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Audiois1st wrote:
I bought a Space-Tech Lab. VP-102-BAL tube amplifier a couple of months ago and the manual that was provided clearly stated that a performance increase of 20-30% would be realized when using the "true balanced input stage."

My question: Is this a realistic increase in performance just by using XLR Balanced cables?

Audiois1st


I don't know how you would quantify a 20% to 30% performance increase, but I have seen a lot of wild claims from that company.
I guess that is the secret ... make claims that are vague enough to be unverifiable, but impressive enough to get people's attention.
My feeling was that if there really was that much improvement, that the manufacturer should only provide balanced connections.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:16 pm 
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Not sure regards to adding 20-30% performance, but a true balanced topology usually gets maybe up to +6dB and less noise from interference over long runs, hence the use for pro applications.

How do I know? I have read other people asking and answering that question almost every day this year.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:25 pm 
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Suppose your noise floor is -90dB. Then with Balanced won't it be 96 dB? Which is not 30%


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:32 pm 
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No.You will be lucky if you can shave 1-2db off the noise floor unless you live under a broadcast transmitter.
Also try to maintain absolute polarity.It will be up to you to determine if either amp or preamp inverts polarity(phase).

Gary


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:24 pm 
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Here is something else to consider.

I've seen amps and cd players with XLR's (balanced outputs or inputs); the question is the design of the component fully balanced - or, are we talking just the connections.

There is a difference.

Here's a good little description (marketing piece) that Yamaha used on the newer Integrated Amps.

https://ca.yamaha.com/en/products/audio ... oduct-tabs


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:09 pm 
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Space Tech's claims maybe a tad ambitious.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:12 pm 
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If the XLR input increases performance by at least 20% or something, the RCA input is broken.

While I think the their gear is probably good value, they make massive claims that is just horrible marketing. Especially their pricing and discount structure...


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:11 pm 
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Well, let's say the noise drops by 2dB. That translates to a ratio of the noise voltages of
10^(-2/20) ~ 0.794... That said, I would hardly consider that a 20% increase in performance.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:41 am 
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The amp is supposedly a true balanced input stage topology and the preamp I'm testing it with is the TEAC UD-503 Dual-monaural with symmetrically placed XLR output.

I was merely curious as to whether the 20-30% claim was even feasible. It's a fantastic sounding amp regardless and the combination with the TEAC is outstanding.

I was curious about the phase. The menu of the TEAC allows the choice of which pin 2 or 3 is hot. As I do want to maintain absolute polarity I'm hoping someone will be able to help answer how to do that.

I do agree that Space Tech's claims appear to be ambitious but I do believe they do offer good value in their products.

Audiois1st

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:46 am 
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Hot (or +) is usually pin 2. If it does not state in the Space Tech manual perhaps drop them a line to confirm.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:54 am 
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Quadzilla wrote:
Audiois1st wrote:
I bought a Space-Tech Lab. VP-102-BAL tube amplifier a couple of months ago and the manual that was provided clearly stated that a performance increase of 20-30% would be realized when using the "true balanced input stage."

My question: Is this a realistic increase in performance just by using XLR Balanced cables?

Audiois1st


I don't know how you would quantify a 20% to 30% performance increase, but I have seen a lot of wild claims from that company.
I guess that is the secret ... make claims that are vague enough to be unverifiable, but impressive enough to get people's attention.
My feeling was that if there really was that much improvement, that the manufacturer should only provide balanced connections.


And then there are companies like Decware, that claim there is no performance gains using XLR over RCA.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:59 am 
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It’s all relative. One can design a poor balanced topology as they can design an excellent single end one, and vice versa. If you have the option to try both – experiment and draw your own conclusion. There is nothing that says XLR will always be better than RCA


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:59 am 
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dmitchell wrote:
Quadzilla wrote:
Audiois1st wrote:
I bought a Space-Tech Lab. VP-102-BAL tube amplifier a couple of months ago and the manual that was provided clearly stated that a performance increase of 20-30% would be realized when using the "true balanced input stage."

My question: Is this a realistic increase in performance just by using XLR Balanced cables?

Audiois1st


I don't know how you would quantify a 20% to 30% performance increase, but I have seen a lot of wild claims from that company.
I guess that is the secret ... make claims that are vague enough to be unverifiable, but impressive enough to get people's attention.
My feeling was that if there really was that much improvement, that the manufacturer should only provide balanced connections.


And then there are companies like Decware, that claim there is no performance gains using XLR over RCA.


Balanced cables are a trendy afterthought for home audio installations. They are used in professional applications to connect microphones ... low signal voltage and long cable runs, so lots of opportunity for noise and hum problems.

They are nice because the connections lock, but I don't think they make a lot of audible difference in a stereo system ... if any. Just one more example of a theoretical advantage that doesn't result in an audible benefit.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:24 am 
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Quadzilla wrote:

Balanced cables are a trendy afterthought for home audio installations. They are used in professional applications to connect microphones ... low signal voltage and long cable runs, so lots of opportunity for noise and hum problems.

They are nice because the connections lock, but I don't think they make a lot of audible difference in a stereo system ... if any. Just one more example of a theoretical advantage that doesn't result in an audible benefit.


I don’t think so. There are pros and cons to both applications. Whether one works better than the other (or the same) within a user’s environment would have to be determined by that user. And given one provides a locking connection that could very well be a deciding factor. I personally prefer the XLR connection over RCA assuming all else is created equal. I think it is beneficial that we have a choice – the down side is it can create a bit of confusion as to what is best – if there are any performance gains! Experiment, have fun and choose what you suits you the best! 8)


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