If you look at a musical score you see the notes dictating the melody. You also see the intonation instructions: where to slow down, speed up, get louder or softer.
Fortunately, only the notes themselves are inviolate. Conductors and performers have the freedom to interpret timing and dynamics.
How boring it would be if every musician strived to be the same.
The open interpretation of music—any music—is what keeps what we love most alive and forever fresh.
Music is fluid and every performer adds his or her voice to the mix.
Just like every stereo system sounds different, every musician colors their performance to match their world view.
The notes of a score may define the melody in the same way our equipment fixes the signal’s outcome, but it is up to the individual performer to add their touch of color to the end product.
I mostly agree with this, unless balanced is accomplished through transformers like my Rogue power amplifiers. Then, a mixed bag.
Balanced is better
In my mind, there’s no question that between components the best connection is balanced. Balanced cables offer lower noise and better sound.
I understand there are single-ended holdouts (wait, we disagree on something in audio?). Perhaps their stereo equipment doesn’t support balanced. Perhaps their cable collection doesn’t include balanced. Or maybe they don’t agree with me. Whatever the reasons, I think they are missing out on an entire level of sonic bliss enjoyed by those of us who have seen the light of balanced connections.
One nagging problem remains. I continue to get questions about using balanced to single-ended (or the opposite) adapters. The stores and “experts” advising unsuspecting customers on their use are guilty of fake news. Seems to be a popular thing these days, non-factual fake news.
The facts in this matter are simple. Balanced to single-ended adapters do not somehow “convert” or take advantage of the benefits of a balanced connection. What they do is simply ignore the two-wire balanced convention, leaving the unused signal conductor floating. Balanced to single-ended adapters should be avoided if at all possible.
If your source rig has a balanced out but what it’s feeding hasn’t a balanced in, you’re much better off using a proper single-ended cable. Exceptions might include when you haven’t a choice and need to feed a secondary component like a subwoofer.
I hope this helps those who are struggling to find the proper way to connect.