Balanced or unbalanced snakes to my PatchBay

The price difference of balanced vs unbalanced jack snakes at Thomann is significant, so I´m wondering whether I need balanced calbes?

I´ll be connecting a lot of gear to my patch bay, mostly Elektron gear, here to name a few:

  • A4
  • AR
  • DT
  • OT
  • AH
  • Prophet X
  • Pulsar 23
  • DFAM and Subharmonicon
  • Allot of effect pedals

Would it do any harm to use just unbalanced for the whole setup? Or would I likely run into noise problems or something similar?

Actually I was mistaken, I can get balanced snakes for the same price as unbalanced :smile:

So my question would probably be, is running balanced cables for the whole patchbay ok?

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I can’t remember where I got this from, but I think the DFAM hates balanced cables.

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Interesting. Actually I forgot, he will be on his own cable, not in a snake.

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You have to check if you’re patchbay is balanced or unbalanced. The Elektrons outputs are all balanced… so i would go balanced. My patchbays are balanced and i use also guitarpedals that are unbalanced… patchbay out-> guitarpedals in-> (unbalanced) guitarpedals out-> di box-> patchbay in -> mixer in
All unbalanced signals pass through di box so only balanced signals go into my mixer.
A sound guy told me once it’s important to go balanced if possible. Hope this helps a bit

I allways check the specs what thd device puts out and use the correct cable… you can allways transform from unbalanced to balanced via di box

It’s in the manual I think :slightly_smiling_face: balanced cables make the output level low

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It is a matter of distance if it is necessary.
The dfam does not like balanced, because the out jack is used as a headphone jack.
It sends the same signal to Ring and Tip.
Most synthesizers/grooveboxes are still consumer /prosumer gear.
At the risk of sounding like a jackass:
If you have to ask which one you need, or if it does harm, you will be fine with unbalanced.
No offense intended,really!
But it can also save you some trouble, keep it simple.


My experience says go balanced where you can. Hum and noise can be eliminated. But not all devices will handle balanced cables. You’ll have to check the specs.

…no real need to use balanced cables for average line signals…

in some cases even troubleing…

and ur patchbay must be also ready for balanced signals…so, play safe and fine in unbalanced fashion…

just make sure ur cables are shielded…

Shielded unbalanced cables at the very least IMO, but if you can get most signals travelling on balanced cables then I would. Anything not behaving, such as Dfam, you can resolder the connection to be unbalanced on one cable if needs be, or use a DI inbetween the unit and loom. But I wouldn’t use an unbalanced loom just because of a few oddly wired devices.

Price increase is worth it for lack of noise/hum IMO.

Once I went fully balanced I would not ever consider going back…