about the unbalance... it's completely due to my noobiness and carelessness...
I didn't realize that the two sets of gain controls are controlling left and right channels separately... I thought they are for input 1 and input 2 separately.
I'm confused by this design though... Why would anyone want to have different volumes coming out from left and right sides?
Are there any technical reason for this design?
Nobody wants two different volumes from left and right!
They would have to use a more expensive switch than the little switches you see on the bottom of the M Stage.
So you could say it keeps the costs down.
Most people set gain to 10 dB with Q701 and leave it there.....forever.
I just compared 5 different phone pre-amps, they all have that funny feature: separate switches for left and right.
It's even worse, because you can adjust:
but all switches are separate for left and right!
But once you set the switches the way you want them, you never change them unless you change to another phono cartridge.
Seems to be mark of passage for M Stage owners, they all need to mix up gain settings.
As far as headphones go, it's mostly for people with differing levels of hearing between their ears. For example, I'd say I have maybe 85% hearing with my left ear compared to my right. All I have to do is adjust the balance a bit towards the left speaker and voila my hearing is magically fixed