“Balanced audio” refers to a method of transmitting audio signals using a balanced cable that reduces the impact of noise, interference, and hum picked up along the cable length.
Although balanced audio is more commonly found in professional audio applications like recording studios, live sound reinforcement, and broadcast facilities, its use in modular synthesis can help maintain signal integrity and minimize noise in specific situations.
A balanced audio cable typically consists of three conductors: a positive signal wire (hot), a negative signal wire (cold), and a ground or shield wire. The positive and negative signal wires carry the same audio signal but with opposite polarity. When the balanced signal reaches its destination (e.g., a mixer or audio interface), the receiving device inverts the polarity of the negative signal and sums it with the positive signal, canceling out any noise or interference that was introduced along the cable.
In modular systems, unbalanced audio is FAR more common than balanced audio, as most modular racks use unbalanced connections with TS (Tip, Sleeve) cables for audio and control voltage signals.
If you need balanced inputs/outputs of your modular synthesizer you will need specialized modules such as the Joranalogue Receive 2 (RX2) or Transmit 2 (TX2) respectively.