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What Are Balanced Cables?

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What Are Balanced Cables?

Balanced XLR Cable Connector

Definition: When you're buying audio cables, chances are you'll see the word "balanced" mentioned often. Balanced audio connectors work on a very simple electrical principle with one goal in mind: the transmission of audio without introduced noise, and with the ability to cancel any noise brought into the line.

Balanced cables have three wires traveling through them; one positive, one negative, and one "ground". What happens through these lines is very smart: while your original signal is being transmitted, it's assumed that any noise problems you may have will be present in both lines; on the receiving end, they're recombined from the original positive and negative signals, and due to phase cancellation, the noise will be eliminated because it's thought of as being out-of-phase with itself. Pretty cool, right?

This makes it easy to run large amounts of cable without noise problems, which you'll usually get with unbalanced connectors.
Examples:
XLR and TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) connections are considered balanced.

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