Let's talk about using balanced audio for speaker setups

I had a short conversation with M0N many moons ago about balanced audio for speakers…it didn’t really go anywhere aside from his comment of it being ’ complicated’.

so, using plain laymen English, not overly technical terms that run circles around our head, can someone(s) talk about the pros / cons of having a balanced chain for a speaker system? how are speakers ‘balanced’? and lastly, also importantly, how affordable is deploying a 2.1 balanced setup? tower and bookshelf?

From my understanding the whole point of balanced source gear for speaker setups was to reject the most noise possible over a long distance. After that I’m not sure if balanced really plays a big roll.


Before the Amplifier: Same as with any audio setup (recording/mixing/hifi), you have higher noise immunity and less ground related issues.

After the Amplifier: Power levels are so high and sensitivity (compared to the “active” components) so low, unless you have an accidental transformer around a power cable or live next to a radio broadcast tower, it does not matter. You would likely have a hard time to measure this, honestly…

Same as headphones: They are NOT balanced in the electrical sense.

When you go with PA gear, likely the same as a Mid-Fi setup.
When you go HiFi, you are paying through the nose for balanced (for whatever reason…)


‘PA gear’? that does that break down into for full words? :wink:

Public Address (System), the equipment you see at concerts, in stadiums, town fairs, etc.

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so realistically, unless you have money to blow, it doesn’t really have any real world value / impact but for a few scenarios involving interference?


It has value in reducing the impact of messy cabling, a problem you can solve at home by putting 10% more effort into your setup.