Awesome thanks! My hope is to soon pair an HE6/S1 along with my HD800/Zana, sas my girlfriend was so blown away with movies on my rig.
Im gonna try do a little listening tonight comparing the two. Just got the balanced version of a cable that I wanted for a long time. http://www.audiometallurgy.com/gold-alloy0-interconnect.html
Have the rca for a couple of years now and just recently got the xlr. Very good cable for a 100.00 used. Beat my Nordost Blue Heaven and Red Dawn in rca.
It also raises the question as to whether the built-in headamp is internally fed from the balanced or unbalanced output?
People like to say that the balanced/unbalanced difference only boils down to a volume increase but most DAC chips output in balanced mode and require an additional buffering opamp stage in order to go unbalanced, so as usual the rabbit hole goes deeper
A/B'ing both off the DP1 could turn out to be complicated due to that volume difference, but I would guess that an OPA627 buffering stage would color the sound quite a bit anyway. Balanced should only be PCM1795 > I/V stage.
From what I hear is that the xlr is higher gain than the rca output. Its so close that its almost indistinguishable. I just turn the volume up a bit and they sound almost the same. Only thing I can hear is a little more of airiness in the xlr but thats it. Amp used Schiit Mjolnir. I have to say that the Schiit does fairly good with the rca input. This was a quick comparo between both outputs and only used one song. May have to do further listening for a better comparison.
Based upon my comparisons with a pair of matching Eximus S1 Amps the SE and XLR levels seemed pretty close.
Sound wise I think the quality of the interconnect made a bigger difference than whether it was SE or XLR. The S1s needed the ground to be lifted (via the switch underneath) in SE mode so I ended up seeking out my preferred interconnect in an XLR variant.
An update with another good i/c. Just got myself a good set of Nordost Frey XLR interconnect. Man this cable does change the sound. Like in my last post the Audio Metallurgy is a step above the Nordost Red Dawn, well this Frey is a step above the AM. The AM sound diffused, the instruments are clear but no sense of location, now the Frey has a narrower soundstage but instruments are better define. The background seems a littler darker. I would not say that with the Frey I'm able to hear things now that I didnt before. But those little things are better defined. Its all there it just I can hear them clearer and better now. Another weird thing is the bass of this cable, I now hear less of it. With the AM the bass is more pronounce but this Frey the bass doesnt carry the same quantity of the AM. You guys think this is of the sound characteristic of silver cables?
My experience and that of people I know has been that if you're going to go with silver cables go with solid silver or else stick with copper.
These silver cables have all the qualities associated with copper plus all qualities you'd expect from silver. Very nice. http://www.tempoelectric.com/cables.htm
These might be worth a try as well http://www.vhaudio.com/interconnects.html
I tend to take this post very seriously: http://www.head-fi.org/t/250436/silver-plated-copper-wire-how-good#post_3160410
SPC sounds nasty IME and so do low purity silver and braided wires. I also agree that high purity mono-crystal copper sounds as "one note bass" as it gets and that sometimes every strand of a multistrand wire seems to be adding its own distortion. This guy obviously talks from real world experience.