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DAC1 and HD650 balanced - Page 4

post #46 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
Wow, good stuff. Haven't seen this explanation before.

So if the damping factor is 10 coming straight out of the balanced line output to the HD650s, and it's 2727 coming out of the headphone jack, how and why is it that so many people are reporting significant improvement in quality when going through the balanced outs from the DAC1 directly to their HD650s? Virtually everyone reports significant improvements in bass handling, tightness and articulation -- all the things one would typically expect from a balanced amp versus unbalanced.

Why are the numbers lying?
The benefits only apply for balanced amps versus unbalanced amps. I'm guessing that the balanced line out from the DAC1's XLRs may sound good for a different reason - because you bypass the coloration and loss of detail from having to go through an amp.
post #47 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
Wow, good stuff. Haven't seen this explanation before.

So if the damping factor is 10 coming straight out of the balanced line output to the HD650s, and it's 2727 coming out of the headphone jack, how and why is it that so many people are reporting significant improvement in quality when going through the balanced outs from the DAC1 directly to their HD650s? Virtually everyone reports significant improvements in bass handling, tightness and articulation -- all the things one would typically expect from a balanced amp versus unbalanced.

Why are the numbers lying?
There was a comment I read by Andrea Ciuffoli in an this tube amp design on HeadWize:

Quote:
My first test was done with the E182CC (figure 1), but there is the limitation on the usable impedance of headphones in the range of 300 to 600 ohms for maximum performance. The output impedance of the amplifier is about 35 ohms, and I don't accept any damping factor less than 8. (About damping factor: for some, a damping factor of 4 or less is acceptable, but only because they have not heard a better tube headphone amplifier like this one.)
So a tube amp user/designer doesn't expect a damping factor of < 8, which is less still than our theoretical 10 above.

I wonder if people are used to low damping factor from decade of slack equipment. I wonder if the tightness and very short decay of the bass with 300Ω loads from the DAC1 is what makes it 'too clinical' to some people.

My theory: when you take the lines off the back of the DAC1 and run them through your balanced headphones, the damping factor returns to something the average user thinks is correct and is thus better to them.

Can we get the output impedance specs for a balanced headphone amp? There's some for the Rudistor NX-33, but it says 0.1-1200Ω which I think means that's what the amp can drive, not the actual impedance of the amp itself.

This is a very interesting discussion, let's keep it up!
post #48 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
The benefits only apply for balanced amps versus unbalanced amps. I'm guessing that the balanced line out from the DAC1's XLRs may sound good for a different reason - because you bypass the coloration and loss of detail from having to go through an amp.
The THD+N products at -3dBFS are both within 1dB of each other and below the DAC noise floor of -107dB. They are nearly co-incident at lower outputs.

I don't think I need to say much about distortion that's that low with regards to 'coloring' the sound. As for the detail, it's probably all there, but not controlled enough from the XLR out to drive headphones accurately.

Of course, I'd like to see the old Headamp Gilmore paired with the DAC1 (Note this is not my recommendation. I don't think headamp makes it anymore anyways)
post #49 of 68
Wait, so if 4 is acceptable, 8 is great, and 10 is off the charts awesome for damping factor, what does it mean that the headphone out of the DAC1 has a theoretical damping factor of 2727, per lowmagnet's math above?! Is it actually that high, and just irrelevant? Don't almost all high end unbalanced amps have extremely low resistance (< 1 ohm) output?
post #50 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowmagnet View Post
The THD+N products at -3dBFS are both within 1dB of each other and below the DAC noise floor of -107dB. They are nearly co-incident at lower outputs.

I don't think I need to say much about distortion that's that low with regards to 'coloring' the sound. As for the detail, it's probably all there, but not controlled enough from the XLR out to drive headphones accurately.

Of course, I'd like to see the old Headamp Gilmore paired with the DAC1 (Note this is not my recommendation. I don't think headamp makes it anymore anyways)
What you want to hear is the Gilmore Dynamight out of a balanced source. That's the closest to straight wire with gain that I know of, so it would be useful for judging sources. I beleive daba is bringing his Dynamight/DAC1 combo to the National Meet.

Despite the low distortion figures of the Gilmore Lite/Dynalo, I heard the balanced version and they sound nothing alike. The balanced version had even stronger bass slam and sounded fuller. Dynahi continues this trend even though it is not balanced. These amps still have a solid state sound until you get to the Dynamight, which is pure amp and you stop noticing any of that solid state coloration.
post #51 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
Wait, so if 4 is acceptable, 8 is great, and 10 is off the charts awesome for damping factor, what does it mean that the headphone out of the DAC1 has a theoretical damping factor of 2727, per lowmagnet's math above?! Is it actually that high, and just irrelevant? Don't almost all high end unbalanced amps have extremely low resistance (< 1 ohm) output?
Maybe for 600 ohm headphones, 10 is good enough, but for us 60 ohm AKG K701 users, we'll want a damping factor of 100.
post #52 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
Wait, so if 4 is acceptable, 8 is great, and 10 is off the charts awesome for damping factor, what does it mean that the headphone out of the DAC1 has a theoretical damping factor of 2727, per lowmagnet's math above?! Is it actually that high, and just irrelevant? Don't almost all high end unbalanced amps have extremely low resistance (< 1 ohm) output?
10 isn't off the charts awesome. Because a tube amp designer won't accept anything below amp doesn't mean anything above that number is OMG great. Damping factors of 100 in loudspeaker design is considered OMG great. I'm probably getting nothing above a factor of 100 by being @ 2727, no. Doesn't mean it's irrelevant though.

A lot of headphone amps have low resistance outputs, some are 2Ω, iPods are 5Ω, etc. Trade-offs are involved, I'm sure
post #53 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
What you want to hear is the Gilmore Dynamight out of a balanced source. That's the closest to straight wire with gain that I know of, so it would be useful for judging sources. I beleive daba is bringing his Dynamight/DAC1 combo to the National Meet.

Despite the low distortion figures of the Gilmore Lite/Dynalo, I heard the balanced version and they sound nothing alike. The balanced version had even stronger bass slam and sounded fuller. Dynahi continues this trend even though it is not balanced. These amps still have a solid state sound until you get to the Dynamight, which is pure amp and you stop noticing any of that solid state coloration.
I don't know, I'm of the school that thinks high impedance to low impedance out shouldn't change the sound. This is the main reason I'm such a chart junkie especially with regards to harmonic distortion and its presence in a design.

The comment about wire with gain is how amplifiers of course should sound. I just wish people would stop tweaking good systems and play some music

And beside, if you search for 'coloration solid state amplifier', it's all about adding tubes to color/warm up the sound of solid state amplifiers. That tells me something about people's expectations of sound and what they expect amplifiers to deliver
post #54 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowmagnet View Post
x1000. This is what I came across the other day (the reason behind balanced in the studio) and after reading it, I now know that balanced headphones is just an expensive gimmick the hardware doesn't have circuitry to discriminate signal from noise by reading the balanced signal and subtracting said noise.

But this isn't the end of 'balanced' headphones. Louder = better for people. Sigh.
Have you listened to any headphone balanced? I can assure you it's no gimmick
post #55 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
Have you listened to any headphone balanced? I can assure you it's no gimmick
So instead of adding to a constructive conversation trying to get to the bottom of the issue, you intend to troll and/or flame? Reported.
post #56 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowmagnet View Post
So instead of adding to a constructive conversation trying to get to the bottom of the issue, you intend to troll and/or flame? Reported.
I didn't think kool bubba ice's post was inflammatory. We're talking about whether the added damping factor from balancing headphones makes them sound better. Some comments suggest not so much. kool bubba ice shared her opinion that it does. I thought asking whether you had listened to any balanced headphones was a logical way to preface her comment. If she were intending to flame she could have so easily phrased it differently, like: "Have you ever even listened to any headphone balanced, stupid?" Based on her previous posts I don't think there's any indication she meant that to come across negatively.
post #57 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowmagnet View Post
So instead of adding to a constructive conversation trying to get to the bottom of the issue, you intend to troll and/or flame? Reported.
So now I'm trolling I just asked a question. How am I flaming anyone?? I just asked if you listened to a headphone balanced. You are getting way too defensive. Chill out man..
post #58 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
I didn't think kool bubba ice's post was inflammatory. We're talking about whether the added damping factor from balancing headphones makes them sound better. Some comments suggest not so much. kool bubba ice shared her opinion that it does. I thought asking whether you had listened to any balanced headphones was a logical way to preface her comment. If she were intending to flame she could have so easily phrased it differently, like: "Have you ever even listened to any headphone balanced, stupid?" Based on her previous posts I don't think there's any indication she meant that to come across negatively.
X2..I don't have a rep for trolling, & have always been respectful to other members.. & she is a he..
post #59 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by kool bubba ice View Post
X2..I don't have a rep for trolling, & have always been respectful to other members.. & she is a he..
If she is a he then I might report you myself for using that sexy icon! Messes with my mind, man.
post #60 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by schaqfu View Post
If she is a he then I might report you myself for using that sexy icon! Messes with my mind, man.
No biggie. My masculinity is intact..She is pretty hot though.. Just to clear the air..She is a real woman.. But Kool Bubba Ice (me) is male..
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