When it comes to audio equipment, there are various kinds of equipment that are all priced differently.
One of the reasons why most people fail to get into audio production is because they think all audio equipment is expensive but that’s not the case at all.
With that in mind, an intern engineer working at our studio asked me why balanced cables are so expensive. I thought it was a good question that deserved a full written article about it.
So, voila!!! Here’s that article…
Without wasting too much time lets dive right into it.
Why are balanced cables so expensive?
Balanced cables are a bit more expensive than unbalanced cables because they are much quieter, using more wire and have better connectors.
Also, balanced cables are mostly used on expensive amps for more specialized target consumers like recording studios who are able to afford high end gear.
Some manufacturers, however, say that balanced cables shouldn’t really be expensive because the parts they’re made up of are not really as expensive as one would think.
With that said, I decided to dig deeper into this topic and not just rely on my own knowledge of audio gear.
So let’s discuss why balanced cables may be more expensive.
Balanced cables unlike unbalanced cables have three wires which make up the ground and two other signal cables.
This is one of the reasons why balanced cables may be slightly expensive compared to unbalanced cables.
For example, some balanced cables like XLR cables actually have more pins. The more the pins can often times mean the more expensive.
You can always look for cheaper alternatives with lesser pins.
But at the end of the day it all comes down to preference and the work you’re doing.
Used on expensive gear
Balanced cables are used on most high end amplifiers that are meant to be signal boosters for low power signals.
They may be used on other expensive equipment as well.
Seeing as most balanced cables aren’t really made for the ordinary consumer but for audiophiles that actually give a damn about audio output,
They often times priced slightly expensive for this reason.
Also, the fact that they’re sold with high end gear makes them even expensive.
The reason for this is pretty simple. High end gear is sold to people that can afford it.
Seeing as balanced cables are sold as part of expensive gear it makes retailers and manufacturers to price them as part of expensive gear.
One of the more notable qualities of balanced cables is that they’re designed to use reverse polarity which ensures that noise cancels.
This means that the output signal is always clean and free of any noise or electromagnetic interference.
For this reason, audiophiles are saved a lot of work by using balanced cables because they don’t have to worry about compromising quality.
Balanced cables can offer them high quality sound.
For this reason, balanced cables are more expensive.
Because noise issues are pretty much non existing .
Some of the more expensive balanced cables are made with good quality parts that add on to the output they offer.
These good quality parts offer durability that end users can count on.
In effect, you’re not only paying for other features of balanced cables but you’re also paying for how long they’ll last..
Ultimately we all want our audio gear to last as long as it can.
Balanced cables are usually durable enough to last us a long time. I’ve used most of my XLRs for more than 5 years.
Most balanced cables come with warranties which are not only a marketing tactic to get people to buy more of the product.
Warranties are added service,
Warranties offer protection and expose the seller to liability which they agree to.
This is one of the reasons why products that come with warranties are usually a lot more expensive.
Shielding is another reason why most balanced cables are expensive.
Shielding is necessary to reduce and prevent all the effects of electromagnetic interference and the other unwanted noise that may he encountered. The shield reflects energy and grounds electrical noise by surrounding the power-carrying conductors.
Phantom power is needed for the operation of most microphones like condensers.
Condensers are usually used in recording studios and often times use XLR connections which are balanced.
Balanced cables are able to supply Phantom power because phantom power voltage travels through balanced audio cables.
For this reason balanced cables will usually cost you more.