Adjusting Integrated Amplifier Channel Balance Knob

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seancito, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. Seancito

    Seancito Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    I have a Rogue Audio Sphinx integrated amplifier for a basic two channel setup for my VPI Scout. The amplifier has three knobs: one for input, the other for channel balance, and the third for volume. I have my turntable set up accurately, and I have spent much time thoroughly getting it properly aligned and adjusted. Sometimes I feel like I want to slightly (very slightly) adjust the channel balance on the amp. Does anyone adjust this usually? Why do hardware companies make this as a feature? Sounds like a dumb question, but I am just curious as to how many listeners adjust this while listening to vinyl.

    It could be the acoustics in my small listening room or speaker placement, but some recordings I want to slightly adjust the balance. Thoughts?
     
  2. MonkeyMan

    MonkeyMan Forum Resident

    Is the same channel quieter than the other every time you need to adjust?
     
  3. Brando4905

    Brando4905 Active Member

    Location:
    Marion, NC
    I have to use my balance knob. My room is open to another on the right side, the left side speaker has a wall to reflect off of. I adjust the right side higher to help with this.
     
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  4. Seancito

    Seancito Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    For my setup, it definitely has a very very slightly higher output volume in the left channel, but honestly, there isn't much else I can adjust correctly. I guess my question was whether people sometimes use the channel balance knob ever to compensate with some recordings...
     
  5. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I think channel balance control is an essential feature. It would be almost a miracle if a system is truly perfectly balanced absent a control (perfect electrical balance, perfectly symmetrical room, perfect speaker placement, etc). When I used a Levinson No. 32 preamp, a change in channel balance of .2 db was clearly audible even though an absolute volume change of a 1.0 db was not audible when playing music. It is SO much easier to hear a channel balance difference than a change in volume. A balance change is particularly audible when you can make immediate comparisons (remote control, another essential feature, to me).
     
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  6. Seancito

    Seancito Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    Thank you. Sometimes it seems like its part of the recording - like the stereo recordings have more in the recording in the left channel. It could be recorded that way - I don't know. I will try adjusting it manually while listening now.
     
    Dave likes this.
  7. Seafinch

    Seafinch Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Utah
    I use the balance control on my Sphinx, because similar to Brando, one of my speakers is near s side wall and the other side is open.
     
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  8. Lester Best

    Lester Best Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bklyn NY
    You have a balance control. Why not use it? The music won't know that you adjusted the balance.
     
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  9. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    stereo cartridges often have a bit of channel imbalance, which the balance control can be helpful for. Well, any component can have a channel imbalance really, but it is fairly common on cartridges (or possibly because of cartridge alignment or other turntable factors). How does it sound balance-wise with a digital source?
     
  10. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Even really expensive cartridges have specifications suggesting that channel balance would be within 2 db. If two channels are off by that much, that is a VERY audible difference. I like the feature on some linestages that allow for an input by input change in channel balance so that each source can be custom tailored for balance. This would make life easy when switching between phono and other sources.
     
  11. riddlemay

    riddlemay Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    On CDs of older (LP-era) material, I often notice a channel imbalance (most noticeable by the vocalist, who "should" be dead center, not being). Don't know if this is because the tapes deteriorated over the years, the tapes were always that way, or what. But I sometimes feel I have to redress the balance (literally) with a touch of the balance knob.
     
    Dave likes this.
  12. hesson11

    hesson11 Well-Known Member

    I don't know whether it's me or the recordings I listen to (classical), but I use my balance control quite a bit. Sometimes images are set off to the left, sometimes to the right, and I often have to make minor adjustments (usually a couple of dB at the most) to get everything balanced. I wouldn't really worry about it. And I would NEVER be without a balance control. For me, it is absolutely essential.
    -Bob
     
  13. qwerty

    qwerty Forum Resident

    I have seperate L + R volume controls, so don't need a balance control. But I find that I constantly need to adjust the stereo balance for different inputs and different recordings. Some people don't mind if the balance is slightly off-centre, but I need to have it set correctly. My constants adjustments really annoy MrsQwerty.
     
  14. tdogzthmn

    tdogzthmn New Member

    I’ve recently discovered the benefits of the balance control with my Sansui AU517. Normally I just run it with both channels even but I noticed the left channel outputting at a higher level while playing a Shure Test LP. The imbalance is subtle but with the speakers but more noticeable with headphones. Seems to change between sources and music but I’m learning not to be scared of the balance control and give it more use.
     
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  15. Thouston

    Thouston Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Mattoon, IL
    Try swapping the tubes. See if the slight imbalance changes channels.
     
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  16. Vinylfindco

    Vinylfindco Forum Resident

    Location:
    Miami
    I've often gone crazy thinking something was wrong because a stereo recording sounded louder on the left or right.
     
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  17. Waxfreak

    Waxfreak Forum Resident

    Sometimes, and even resort to switching to mono if the signal is too imbalanced
     
  18. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I see you still have the Sphinx...are you still experiencing the imbalance? Which channel was/is louder?
     
  19. Seancito

    Seancito Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    It hasn't been much of a problem lately. I don't know if it's because I made slight adjustments to azimuth on my tonearm or maybe I just don't notice it anymore. When it was an issue it always seemed slightly louder on the left side speaker. Lately, it seems pretty balanced.
     
    Dave likes this.
  20. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Every amp I've used with an Alps pot favors the left channel.
     
  21. Morbius

    Morbius Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Brookline, MA
    My integrated doesn't even have a balance control. I think music is often recorded with a slight bias in one channel or the other. Sometimes it will seem to favor the left one record after another then the next record there will be a bias to the right. You should listen to more jazz recordings where these differences are deliberate.
     
  22. fogalu

    fogalu Forum Resident

    Location:
    Killarney, Ireland
    Yes indeed! It's not like one is using ...... dare I say it .....TONE CONTROLS....... :eek:
     
  23. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Houston TX
    Balance changes should not be needed with digital, but with vinyl the cartridge could be off a little.
     
  24. riddlemay

    riddlemay Active Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    One way the balance control is needed with digital is with the many CDs (and streams, and downloads) of vintage material in which (for whatever reason) the balance was either off to begin with or has shifted due to deterioration of source tapes. I have many stereo CDs from the sixties in which the vocalist is just enough right or left of center to be disconcerting. The balance knob comes in handy.
     
  25. Daedalus

    Daedalus Forum Resident

    I was thinking the same thing
     

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