This is something I have always wondered but never heard firsthand. I have only ever owned unbalanced gear but recently purchased an amp with both balanced and unbalanced inputs and was wondering if getting a balanced preamp would be worth it (I probably won't buy a balanced pre in the near term, but I can at least plant the seed). I know balanced signals run hotter and block out RF noise, but if one has a quality unbalanced preamp (and a quality amp that offers both connections), is the improvement in sound quality (of a similar sounding preamp but with balanced connections) of balanced connections really that noticeable? I definitely have heard differing levels of RF interference in different unbalanced interconnects and if balanced eliminates this altogether then I consider this pretty significant. Then again, some unbalanced cables do a darn good job of blocking out RF, but not completely (I think, the overall signal path is more than just interconnects). I've just never owned a balanced system to do the same tests for balanced. Has anyone who has owned a preamp and amp that offers both options compared the two? Also (for balanced, though Id guess the answer is the same for unbalanced) is the source>pre connection more important than the pre>amp connection? Or vice versa? From what I've gathered, the difference in sound quality is better for balanced, but how much? Are we just slightly more than splitting hairs or is the improvement in sound quality noticeably significant with balanced connections? Thanks!