Rodbac, I don't mean any offence, but when your starting post argues that +2V and -2V terminals would produce "0v", it's clear that your lack of understanding of such a basic electrical concept means that you just don't have the knowledge to properly evaluate the technical aspects of most of these discussions regarding the benefits or lack thereof of 1) balanced amplification and 2) balanced cables. These two concepts have been regularly mixed up in this thread, despite numerous and repeated attempts by some of the more technically astute and informed members in this thread to clarify things. On one hand you defend your right to criticize and question concepts such as balanced connectors, cables and amplification, but you are offended that people respond to your arguments. I think that some of the personal digs are unwarranted, but as I say in my opening sentence (not too rudely I hope) it's hard not to draw some conclusions about your level of knowledge based on your posts and arguments. And believe me there are many valid arguments for and against balanced audio, but none that you have originally raised here.
This is not a dig, and I'm not saying that balanced audio is a universally good thing, but it is a valid design philosophy, and it's not voodoo. Many of the most respected names in high-end audio (some would argue that respected and high-end should never be used in the same sentence
)employ fully balanced circuits in their products despite the additional cost. Some companies provide balanced connectors in unbalanced products, a common source of derision, but there are a good number of truly balanced designs as well. The increase in complexity, if handled properly is not a universal downside, as it results some measurably improved parameters in the output, and more importantly results in good sounding products, which I, and many other members here (not to mention respected magazines and reviewers) all have experienced. As to whether they universally sound better than unbalanced components, I'm personally not completely convinced. I think it's just as possible to make a good sounding unblanced component / cable (in many situations) but I have seen than most components *with proper balanced designs* that provide both balanced and unbalanced inputs / outputs (note the emphasis on proper balanced design) sound better when utililizing the balanced i/o and as part of a fully balanced component chain. Balanced audio may not be as prevalent in the world of consumer audio as unbalanced, but in the high-end it's way too late at this point to call it a fad. If anything, it's growing more common and prevalent all the time.