Originally Posted by Hybrys
Balanced operation still offers some benefits, such as eliminating source noise, and greater sound stage, regardless if it was designed for something else. If you want the very best with no budget constraints, I think balanced would be the way to go no matter the headphone/IEM.
Source noise? What?!
The sound stage argument is a myth. What happens is folks go balanced and the volume is louder since you have double the power on tap so it gets interpreted as greater sound stage. With headphones in general, ESPECIALLY IEMs, balanced output makes very little sense. I suppose once can argue about balanced GROUND but with IEMs, balanced output is a waste of time (I wish you could DBT say the Protector with a single-ended Protector, I would bet my JH-3A preoder you couldn't tell the difference). One of the biggest myths perpetrated on this site by some vendors is that balanced == better when it comes to headphones. There is a REASON why all the professional monitoring equipment has single ended headphone outputs (and its not because of cost). You get very little gain if any when used with headphones. Ok, rant over.
The BEST portable DAC/amp I've heard is the upsampling Pico (I listened to several before buying one used). The biggest downfall of the Pico is the presentation is a tad forward which some people do not like. It also doesn't have the same level of bass of say full size DACs like a Lavry or Benchmark.
Edited by Trogdor - 7/8/10 at 4:18am