New TT : Balanced vs. Unbalanced Connection?

I am in a six-month process of assembling a system will last me for the next 5-10 years. I’m set on the components, so please do not try to talk me out of my selections. My question here is a technical one.

I have purchased a Thorens TD–1601 and a Nagaoka MP–200 cartridge. I am trying to decide on the Integrated amp between Yamaha’s A-S3200 and A-S2200. The key difference for this question being the A-S3200 has two balanced inputs and the A-S2200 has one. I will use the first balanced connection to connect a recently purchased HiFi Rose RS-150b Streamer/DAC.

Now to my real question. The semi-automatic Thorens TD-1601 has both balanced and unbalanced outputs. I am considering buying a Schitt Skoll phono pre which has balanced in-and-out. In that case, I would buy the Yamaha A-S3200, needing two balanced inputs.

So, ASSUMING the phono preamp on the Yamaha A-S2200 is comparable to the Schitt Skoll, will I get markedly better sound by going fully unbalanced, with the Skoll and the much more expensive A-S3200, or unbalanced direct from Thorens TT into the highly regarded phone pre of the A-S2200?

What benefits will I get by going balanced? How much benefit? It is worth the complexity, extra box, cables, $2,000-3,000? I can afford it if much better, but don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. The TT and the integrated will be right next to each other, so distance is not a factor. Or is the A-S3200 that much better? …I like the BIGGER meters.

My current speakers are Paradigm Reference Studio 40 v2, which I love and have two pair, a super sleeper. They are not likely to be changed…one day Fyne Audio.

To reiterate, this is a technical question about the merits of balanced turntable connections. Thanks for the input. I have learned much from this forum over the last few years.



I  like to say “all other things being equal” (same cartridge, same phono stage, same everything downstream) a balanced connection will get you 6db compared to an SE connection of all the same components.. usually this comparison is not actually feasible.

@atmasphere THANKS.  Great tip on the SS cartridge screws.  Compliance is an advanced concept for many of us.  

Does anyone have experience with the new Schitt Skoll? Good reviews.

And again, thanks everyone, this thread has been very helpful.

This discussion has gone off-topic. It is supposed to be about the virtues of balanced, differential interconnects vs single-ended. Yes, much of it applies to other interconnects, but this discussion is about the interconnects between the turntable’s tonearm and the phono stage. 

OP here. I personally don’t perceive the thread off-topic. With all due respect, this thread’s applied intention is to help a fellow audiophile with a complex (to him) technical scenario & purchasing decision. While it may have broadened, as the OP, I have leaned much, and am open to the other considerations that have arisen. My true curiosity is to achieve the best sound, and in my case, there is much to consider and study. I appreciate the community’s willingness to apply their experience and time & energy.