Understanding True Balanced Connections

All Pro-Ject turntables are balanced signal sources by their nature, but the ability to exploit this beneficial technology has traditionally only been available to more high-end or bespoke analogue systems. Pro-Ject’s True Balanced Connection concept intends to extend these benefits to a broader variety of vinyl enthusiasts than ever before.

The interconnect cable between a record player and a phono stage is prone to pick up noise on the way. That noise and interference can stem from a lot of unavoidable sources, such as household applicances, wi-fi and bluetooth devices, other power cables and audio amplifiers. Unshielded (i.e. RCA) interconnects can amplify the picked-up noise and make it audible through your speakers, interfering with the pure musical signal.

 


An Unbalanced connection (Yellow boxes show sections with interference)
 

A Balanced connection has double the wires, which will each pick up the audio interference

 

 

Balanced (typically XLR) cable connections double the wires carrying the musical signal – with one side inverted. In this case noise still gets picked up by both wires, but with one side reversed. When the signals are re-joined at the phono stage, the picked-up noise is cancelled out by the opposing signals. The benefit of this is a louder, cleaner musical signal that has doubled in size with almost no remaining noise.

 


Balanced connection wires with one side inverted, to cancel out interference
 

The resulting signal after inversion

 

The benefits of True Balanced Connections therefore include:

  • Interference-free signal transmission
  • Increased dynamics
  • Improved signal to noise ratios

When running true balanced connections between the turntable and phono stage, all of these benefits reveal themselves in a more inviting musical performance that's free of noise. Pro-Ject produce a variety of turntables, cables and phono stages that can all be combined to benefit from balanced signal transfer.

Products that can benefit from True Balanced Connections are:

Type Product Name Notes
Turntable X8 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable Xtension 9 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable Xtension 10 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable Xtension 12 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable Signature 10 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable Signature 12 Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable 6 Perspex SB Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable RPM 9 Carbon Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Turntable RPM 10 Carbon Requires upgrading to 5pin > XLR cable
Phono Stage Phono Box S3 B  
Phono Stage Phono Box DS3 B  
Phono Stage Phono Box RS  
Phono Stage Phono Box RS2  

Please Note: Balanced Connections are not the same thing as "fully balanced" devices. The benefit of the above is in transporting the musical signal from the turntable to the phono stage in the most efficient and high-quality manner possible. Look out for fully-balanced electrical devices separately.

Find Out More

Read more about the benefit of True Balanced Connections here.