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OT: Unbalanced connections sound much better than balanced, any idea why?

This a weird, off topic question, but I've got a Focusrite 2i4 audio interface that I initially connected to my M-Audio CX8 powered monitors with 1/4" TRS balanced cables using the balanced connections on the Focusrite and the speakers. The sound was disappointing, lacking both top end and bottom end.

It didn't occur to me to try the the unbalanced connections on the Focusrite and the speakers until just the other day, and the difference is startling. Much punchier and deep bass, crisper highs. There is a little bit of digital hash from computer interference, but I'll live with it for now because the sound is so much better.

Any theories on the difference? I've got cheap monoprice 1/4" TRS cables, but I'd be surprised if that's the difference.

Art Simon