Balanced Vs. Unbalanced Cables (What’s the Difference?)

What is the difference?

Creative Commons License photo credit: M Skaffari

An unbalanced audio path has two conductors. One carries the audio signal and the other is the shield/ground. There is nothing at all wrong with an unbalanced signal but at times can be susceptible to picking up interference from radio frequencies or electromagnetic fields that cause noise and buzz.

A balanced signal has three conductors. It relies on a sum and difference principal.
Sum and

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1 Comment

  • 04 at Jun // Reply

    Thank you for making this clear!

    My lecturer taught us about this, but didn’t state anything about the cold/hot signal being higher in amplitude from the other. That got me really confused since that would completely cancel any sound. Not anything ‘noise-reduction’ if you ask me…

    I appreciate your effort on this complex yet simple topic.

    Cheers from South-Africa!

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