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I've seen the light....I am now balanced!

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I started a thread about 8 months ago about balanced vs unbalanced and because I come from a pro film/video background, I couldn't understand why so many of these 1000+ headphone were being made unbalanced.

Many opinions in that thread said there is not much of a difference.

Well today my portable setup for my LCD2 is unbalanced and I'm telling you there is a MASSIVE difference. I am running an iPod classic, cypher labs solo, and Ray Samuals SR71b. Each and every note sounds separate from the next. There is a much better sense of separation. Now let me mention the bass....I shook my head for 10 minutes when I heard the bass, it deeper and richer. (LCD2 v1).

I can't stress enough of how much a difference I am hearing on my first day in a balanced world.

I'm now re-thinking  my home Lyr setup.
Edited by sperandeo - 9/24/11 at 2:37pm
post #2 of 27

You once were blind and now you see...

post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
You know when you buy a new piece of equipment for your setup, then you have a listen and you need to struggle to try and hear a difference. (because you are trying to justify the new expense).
Well this did NOT happen with me today, the difference is so great that I can't believe everyone in these forums isn't screaming BALANCED !!!!!!!!!!

I am shocked with every single song I listen to.

If someone would have blindfolded me, and let me listen to my new setup and told me it as a Stax 009 (which I've never heard) with a Woo audio WES (I've also never heard) I would have totally believed it and started saving ten thousand dollars.  Now one day I may hear a Stax 009 with a Woo WES setup and find it's much better than this. But for now I'm in a perfectly balanced heaven.
post #4 of 27
Sperandeo, I am sorry that I have to be the one to bear you the bad news.You are not in balance heaven yet, cause you are only half balanced. At least not until you feed some balance signal into the sr71b from a balance Dac. not until then, you won't hear how your music can open up.wink.gifwink.gif
post #5 of 27

LOL... Sorry Sperandeo. Looks like it is time to get the iBasso DB2! I am loving mine. I will post a review after it has all burned in. Balanced is a whole new way of listening for me. Mind blowing how different it is. Everything is richer and more textured. We are going to be seeing a lot more Balanced portable gear!

post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

Sperandeo, I am sorry that I have to be the one to bear you the bad news.You are not in balance heaven yet, cause you are only half balanced. At least not until you feed some balance signal into the sr71b from a balance Dac. not until then, you won't hear how your music can open up.wink.gifwink.gif

If I am truly only half balanced then I will happily get the ibasso to get me all the way to heaven.

smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 27
You're mostly hearing the effects of having a bridged amplifier. More power and a few other benefits.

If you want to be balanced, you need a balanced source and your amp needs to have two power supplies so the ground isn't shared. I don't know if your amp is like that, but it is necessary to go fully balanced.

What you have right now isn't terribly different from a powerful single-ended amp.

Which is why I - and many others - are fine with single-ended.

The benefits of balanced are:

1. Ability to drive cables over long distances, like 50 feet or more.
2. Additional power from bridging an amp.
3. Noise cancellation.
4. Channel separation.

My take:

1. I don't need to drive long lengths of cable.
2. My amp has more power than I need.
3. I do not have a noise problem.
4. I do not have a channel separation problem.

Therefore, I don't need to double the components and double the price for something that won't provide a benefit.

Also, doubling the parts doubles the risk of failure. I keep it simple.

Further, it's not always easy to find balanced sources. I listen to a few radios and don't know of a balanced shortwave. Balanced phonostages are difficult to make and the options are limited and expensive or difficult to build. So I'll stay single-ended because I'd end up paying a lot of money for something that wouldn't give me any benefit.
post #8 of 27

A bridged amplifier is not the same as a balance amplifier.  The balance concept is not that hard to understand either (see below references).  These days, you don't really need to use balance phonostages to get balance sources.  Digital sources can do the job just as good.  To me, the elimination of common ground, a fully differential discrete and independent channel, noise cancellation, channel separation, not only left versus right, but four discrete channels combine to made a big difference to me.  The problem with a bridged amplifier is not only the power is increased all the other problems also get increased.  When the power of a balance amplifier is increased, it keeps the other problem out.  I don't think Sperandeo hears only a louder volume, he hears improved sound quality.  But to each his own.

 

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/art-i-balanced-vs-unbalanced.php

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/fully-differential-balanced-drive-sources.php

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/art-ii-balanced-transmission-vs-fully-balanced.php

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/art-iii-balanced-sources.php

post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

I don't think Sperandeo hears only a louder volume, he hears improved sound quality.  But to each his own.


What he probably hears is placebo from thinking he's balanced.

 

What benefits do you think the elimination of common ground, discrete channels, noise cancellation, channel separation, and four discrete channels bring that have concrete, measurable and audible effects on the sound? I haven't done much research on balanced, I've just read stuff along the lines of Uncle Erik's post. The effects seem oft hyped.

post #10 of 27

Please read Andrea Sundaram's review on Soundstage Experience where she articulates the benefit of balance operation and channel separation.

 

http://www.soundstagexperience.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=199:headroom-balanced-ultra-desktop-amplifier-and-sennheiser-hd-800-balanced-headphone-system&catid=38:equipment&Itemid=2

 

If you can see into Sperandeo's mind that he is hearing a placebo effect, you are a smarter man than I am.

 

And yea, by the way, nothing set a man off faster than telling him the equivalent of "yea, you didn't really marry your wife, you really married your mother, you just don't know it." 


Edited by Jalo - 9/24/11 at 6:06pm
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

Please read Andrea Sundaram's review on Soundstage Experience where she articulates the benefit of balance operation and channel separation.

 

http://www.soundstagexperience.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=199:headroom-balanced-ultra-desktop-amplifier-and-sennheiser-hd-800-balanced-headphone-system&catid=38:equipment&Itemid=2

 

If you can see into Sperandeo's mind that he is hearing a placebo effect, you are a smarter man than I am.

 

And yea, by the way, nothing set a man off faster than telling him the equivalent of "yea, you didn't really marry your wife, you really married your mother, you just don't know it." 


Before I bother, is there any included data or just subjective impressions?

 

You should never feel ashamed for falling for placebo. We all do it every day.

 

post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


Before I bother, is there any included data or just subjective impressions?

 

You should never feel ashamed for falling for placebo. We all do it every day.

 

 

Don't bother, even though she is a professional hifi reviewer, but I am sure everything she said with regard to the perception of balance benefit is under the spell of the placebo effect.  In fact, everything that anyone ever said on the subject of balance amplification is the byproduct of placebo.

 

I have learned long ago that the only way to get inside of a delusion system is through that very delusion.
 

 

post #13 of 27

I have both balanced and non-balanced amplifiers and have adapters to enable the use of my headphones with either type of amplifier, thus I am able to compare my phones both ways, using both balanced and non-balanced sources.  

 

While I have not been able to hear any great differences tonally, I can say that the accuracy of the imaging is improved when running balanced, either with my amplifiers bridged or fully balanced.  This can only be a subjective measurement, as I know of no way to measure the stability or accuracy of imaging.   After a lifetime of music listening, I feel that I am able to detect the differences between the imaging qualities of balanced vs non-balanced using music selections that I have heard hundreds of times.   

 

I agree that a great SE amplifier will sound better than a poorly designed balanced amplifier, but comparing apples to apples, I prefer the sound of my balanced equipment because imaging accuracy is a very important part of my listening experience.  

 

It should be noted that balanced lines for professional audio recording and mixing (line noise cancellation) serves a different purpose than balanced headphone listening (elimination of common ground with both positive and negative outputs being actively driven)

 

My opinions, YMMV!

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiFlight View Post

I have both balanced and non-balanced amplifiers and have adapters to enable the use of my headphones with either type of amplifier, thus I am able to compare my phones both ways, using both balanced and non-balanced sources.  

 

While I have not been able to hear any great differences tonally, I can say that the accuracy of the imaging is improved when running balanced, either with my amplifiers bridged or fully balanced.  This can only be a subjective measurement, as I know of no way to measure the stability or accuracy of imaging.   After a lifetime of music listening, I feel that I am able to detect the differences between the imaging qualities of balanced vs non-balanced using music selections that I have heard hundreds of times.   

 

I agree that a great SE amplifier will sound better than a poorly designed balanced amplifier, but comparing apples to apples, I prefer the sound of my balanced equipment because imaging accuracy is a very important part of my listening experience.  

 

It should be noted that balanced lines for professional audio recording and mixing (line noise cancellation) serves a different purpose than balanced headphone listening (elimination of common ground with both positive and negative outputs being actively driven)

 

My opinions, YMMV!


Ron, I agree and appreciate your comments above.  I wouldn't second guess your ability to detect differences between the imaging qualities of SE and balance and you shouldn't either.  There is no better or more sensitive instrument to measure sound qualities than the human brain.  I have read so many posts on these forums that disregard firsthand report as heresy and unless something can be measured by some devices, they don't exist.  That is so wrong.  The human brain is a thousand times more powerful than any computer we have today.  In fact, the human brain is extremely capable to notice differences--sometimes to the extend of the difference of 0.1 hertz in a small part of the brain.  I do research and train human brainwave as part of my job, from astronauts to professional athletes to head injury population, it is just a matter of published science, that we have the ability to notice minute differences in our brainwave down to 0.1 hertz from 0 to 40, 50 hertz.  The frequency difference between a narrow and expanded sound stage is a lot more than 0.1 hertz be that in the delta, theta, beta, or gamma range.  If we cannot use this ultimate device then no one on these forum can say that the LCD2 has more bass than the HD800, or that there is qualitative differences between tube amps and SS amp, or even rolling opamps as you are so capable of doing.  In fact 90 percent of what is observed on these forums have no so call "objective findings" and yet there are consensus on many of these sound qualities.

 

Of course a great SE amp will sound better than a balance amp poorly implemented.  Balance is not everything.

 

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

There is no better or more sensitive instrument to measure sound qualities than the human ears

 


I fixed it for you. Measured by the ears, analysed by the brain.

 

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