Balanced, or single ended?
More Music, Less Technology

You may have wondered why Pureaudio products eschew balanced connections, and instead rely only on single ended rca connectors. The simple answer is because we want to offer the best sound possible. Pure & Simple.

Why do we seem to differ from much of the market in this? The high end audio market is full of products with balanced connectors, and is full of explanations as to why balanced is better. Mostly this comes down to dogma. The market has been persuaded that balanced is better, and it has become so ingrained that no-one questions the logic. Certainly balanced connections can be better at rejecting noise, and we admit, in some cases may sound better. Consider though that the noise rejection so often claimed as a benefit is only evident in difficult environments over long distances… typically in professional studio and sound reinforcement use, and rarely if ever offers any advantage in a domestic system. Many of the arguments that claim better noise reduction are technically flawed, even if they seem to be well argued. Likewise the possibility of better sound… if a system has poorly designed ground systems, then balanced may offer better sound. It does this by overcoming inadequate design internal to the equipment. However if the grounding is designed optimally, balanced connections will offer no sonic advantage, and in fact may be counter productive.

In our products much of the design effort has gone into simplifying signal paths, and optimising power supply and ground circuit paths. Simpler signal paths, if done well, will offer significant sonic benefits. Less devices in the signal path means less chance for the music to be robbed of its magic. Better ground and power supply design means less corruption of the signal. Pure & Simple.

In products offering balanced connections compromise is forced on the designer because of the nature of the balanced signal. Two phases are carried, and therefore twice as much circuitry is required to provide the interface. In addition, to get the balanced circuit advantage, there must be a very high level of precision in the circuit design. To do it discretely is very demanding and will challenge the best designer. Good results will only be achieved with a highly complex circuit containing many devices. Most will instead opt for the simplicity of an integrated opamp circuit. This will do the job at the expense of purity of sound. Others may use transformers. These can sound good, but are costly, and are therefore not often used. Lastly there are those who just “fudge” it. The equipment carries XLR balanced connectors, but internally the anti-phase signal pin is just connected to ground. This is a single ended connection masquerading as balanced. This is actually done, and on some quite expensive equipment. You, the customer, will never know. It’s the price of dogma and usually driven by marketing departments and budgetary constraints.

We believe our approach is the best one, but please, as always, use your own ears to make your decision. What sounds best to you, in your system, with your music, is what matters most. Avoid dogma.