Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Balanced VS. Single ended - Poll
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Balanced VS. Single ended - Poll - Page 2

Poll Results: Balanced or Sigle ended - which sounds best?

Poll expired: Oct 25, 2011  
  • 52% (10)
    Balanced!
  • 47% (9)
    Single Ended!
19 Total Votes  
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adda View Post

 

 

The reason for balanced systems is not sound quality, but to make PA sound systems quiet and noise free.



actually its mostly used in studios and was developed afaik for telephone systems, but differential signalling finds its place all over the place wherever low error/distortion is prized. instrumentation, usb, ethernet, hdmi etc etc. regardless of the reasons it does provide audible benefits, speaking for myself anyway.

 

see we aren't just talking about the cable here, but balanced signal path as a whole, it allows error the whole way back to the source to be largely deleted. there is a reason that the majority of dac chips of today, whether used in audio or scientific endeavour are balanced, i see no reason not to extend that all the way to the transducer. even with the doubling of the output impedance a properly designed amplifier will have damping factor good enough for any headphone load


Edited by qusp - 10/18/11 at 12:21pm
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorHalgaard View Post

What have you gained in terms of sound from balanced vs. SE? And which headphones have you mainly used? High/low impedance etc. ?


To me the balance sound stage is bigger, less restrictive, and better imaged.  The sound is cleaner, more air, darker background, more involving and as Qusp said, better bass response. This is comparing within the same amp as most of my balance amp also can output or drive single ended also.  Don't get me wrong though, there are excellent, excellent SE amps that are better than balance amp.  It all depends on the implementation.  But when compare apples to apples within the same class or same amp, I definitely prefer the balance amp.  

 

As for headphones that I have used in balance mode, they are: GS1000 (2 years, sold), HD800 (since release, balanced w/ SAA voice cable and Crystal Piccolino), LCD2, v1 (since release, ALO chain mail cable), ED8 LE (1 year, balance w/ ALO ChainMail cable), JH13 (since release, balance w/Crystal Piccolino).  

 

post #18 of 29

From a different perspective and leaving all technicality of the merit of balance vs SE aside for a second, this voting exercise is misleading just strictly on a statistical bases.  For instance, If we are sampling from a hundred people with regard to, let say, language preference where 80 percent of the sample is English speaking natives and twenty percent of the sample is all others, guess what the result would be?  By the same token, if single ended design occupy the majority of the amp market (especially the low end market), then the result will be skewed just by the design of the voting exercise.  On the contrary, if the question is for those amps that are above $1,500.00 the result could be totally different.  That is why a statistician can give you any answer you want by phrasing the question and the parameters differently.  Just tell me what you want to hear and I'll tell you how to ask it wink_face.gif

post #19 of 29

I'm starting to think the whole balanced vs. single ended discussion is misleading, I don't think one design is inherently better then the other.

There are good balanced designs and good single ended designs, some single ended are better then balanced but it also goes the other way.

I prefer simple designs because 20+ years down the road I might need to repair my gear, and single ended designs are just more simple and therefore easier to maintain.

 

It all comes down to preferences.


Edited by Adda - 10/18/11 at 1:28pm
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adda View Post

I'm starting to think the whole balanced vs. single ended discussion is misleading, I don't think one design is inherently better then the other.

There are good balanced designs and good singe ended designs, some single ended are better then balanced but it also goes the other way.

I prefer simple designs because 20+ years down the road I might need to repair my gear, and single ended designs are just more simple and therefore easier to maintain.

 

It all comes down to preferences.


biggrin.gifblink.gif 20 years down the road it will be my brain not my gear that needs to be repaired.

 

post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

biggrin.gifblink.gif 20 years down the road it will be my brain not my gear that needs to be repaired.

 


But the point is, I would be able to go buy a single ended amp that's better then your balanced amp, but then you could also go buy a balanced amp that even better, and then we could go on and on until diminishing returns makes fools of both of us.

post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adda View Post

I'm starting to think the whole balanced vs. single ended discussion is misleading, I don't think one design is inherently better then the other.

There are good balanced designs and good single ended designs, some single ended are better then balanced but it also goes the other way.

I prefer simple designs because 20+ years down the road I might need to repair my gear, and single ended designs are just more simple and therefore easier to maintain.

 

It all comes down to preferences.


This is a given.  Of course, it goes without saying that a $3,000.00 SE amp is going to out perform a $300.00 balance portable amp on any given day.  That is why I said when comparing apple to apple within the same class and/or same model, I prefer balance.

 

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adda View Post

But the point is, I would be able to go buy a single ended amp that's better then your balanced amp, but then you could also go buy a balanced amp that even better, and then we could go on and on until diminishing returns makes fools of both of us.


Your point is well taken.  But in audio, a piece of twenty year old equipment regardless balance or SE is not going to out perform (at least I hope not) twenty years of addition research.  There are exceptions, of course, like Sony R-10 for instance, twenty five year old and still going strong.  But that is exception and not the rule.

 

post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

This is a given.  Of course, it goes without saying that a $3,000.00 SE amp is going to out perform a $300.00 balance portable amp on any given day.  That is why I said when comparing apple to apple within the same class and/or same model, I prefer balance.

 



But if you compared a 1000$ single ended to a 3000$ balanced, the situation may have changed, double the complexity and it'll cost more for that reason alone.

But I don't think price reflects how good a product is anyway, price is often just part of marketing, if it's expensive it has to be good right?

post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalo View Post

Your point is well taken.  But in audio, a piece of twenty year old equipment regardless balance or SE is not going to out perform (at least I hope not) twenty years of addition research.  There are exceptions, of course, like Sony R-10 for instance, twenty five year old and still going strong.  But that is exception and not the rule.

 


 

Well my Alpha III is from 1978 and performs as good as you can expect form a mid level 80w class A/B mosfet amp, my Aragon 18k is from 1993 and outperforms almost any preamp out there.

There is lots of great vintage gear, new tech has done little to improve analogue audio.

post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adda View Post

But if you compared a 1000$ single ended to a 3000$ balanced, the situation may have changed, double the complexity and it'll cost more for that reason alone.

But I don't think price reflects how good a product is anyway, price is often just part of marketing, if it's expensive it has to be good right?


That is something I could agree with you on.  The Shiit Lyr should worth two times the value given the sound.  It is true that price doesn't always reflect the virtue of the product.  

 

 

post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post

hmm, not sure where you are getting this information. a transformer does not lower and raise its voltage to react to the load impedance, in fact the transformer hardly does anything at all to even power the amplifier most of the time. the stored energy in the reservoir caps supply power/transient response wrt the load and the transformer is only connected to the amp through the diode bridge for about 10% of the time. so the diode bridge and transformer are literally doing nothing most of the time. opamps can slew with the best of them, but current in most cases, for speakers anyway, is limited and many by themselves don't really have too fun a time driving low impedance headphones directly either

 

me, I prefer balanced for the bass response and speed, even for loads that you wouldn't think would need it, but single ended amps can sound fantastic as well in their own way, tbh although the dac1 is a good design, its hardly the last word and i'm getting a little bored of all this regurgitated O2, dac1, nwavguy diatribe.

 

not sure how AMB let himself go on record as saying balanced lowers output Z though


the power transformer in power amps help handle impedance matching in most cases. so when helping to match impedance it has to maintain a certain voltage and increase and decrease amperes/milliamps depending on the impedance given and demand of the source presented. that's why tube amps always has massive output power transformers(or dual transformers) cause tubes are high voltage sources but only operate in milliamps so the power transformer helps when it involves if the circuit needs amperes instead. i think in headphone amps it should be same formula maybe since they're basically just tiny low power, power-amps to drive headphones instead of speakers.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post


the power transformer in power amps help handle impedance matching in most cases. so when helping to match impedance it has to maintain a certain voltage and increase and decrease amperes/milliamps depending on the impedance given and demand of the source presented. that's why tube amps always has massive output power transformers(or dual transformers) cause tubes are high voltage sources but only operate in milliamps so the power transformer helps when it involves if the circuit needs amperes instead. i think in headphone amps it should be same formula maybe since they're basically just tiny low power, power-amps to drive headphones instead of speakers.


Most amps are capacitor or direct coupled and don't use output transformers at all.


Edited by Adda - 10/19/11 at 11:47am
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post


the power transformer in power amps help handle impedance matching in most cases. so when helping to match impedance it has to maintain a certain voltage and increase and decrease amperes/milliamps depending on the impedance given and demand of the source presented. that's why tube amps always has massive output power transformers(or dual transformers) cause tubes are high voltage sources but only operate in milliamps so the power transformer helps when it involves if the circuit needs amperes instead. i think in headphone amps it should be same formula maybe since they're basically just tiny low power, power-amps to drive headphones instead of speakers.


 

i'm sorry but you really need to get your terminology straight. a power transformer (which is quite logically; in the power supply) has absolutely NOTHING to do with impedance matching and it would be rare for a power amp to use output transformers either (a totally different device to power transformers) and the ones that do, the output transformer is a 100% passive device, it does not adjust to a load dynamically at all, it can be used for 2 main reasons:

 

• to transform a high voltage, low current signal (usually, but not exclusively from a tube amp) into a lower voltage but higher current signal that is more suitable for driving transducers (this can also happen in reverse for electrostatic speakers)

• a step up, or step down tx can be used to transform (in a completely passive and steady way) an amp with a high output impedance into one with a lower output impedance in order to drive the load more effectively. it does this to a set and unchanging ratio, based on the number of turns of wire on the core, it does not actively adjust anything and does not react to the changing load impedance (it changes over frequency too) at all.

 

as mentioned above, the vast majority of modern amps are either DC coupled (no caps) or AC coupled (with caps) its only really tube amps that use output or interstage transformers and even then the trend now, even for tube amps is towards OTL (output transformer less) designs. by in large most power amps (certainly ones that have any actual power, not pissie little 5W single ended, direct heated triode amps) are solid state, or chip amps and these do not as a rule use output transformers at all.


Edited by qusp - 10/20/11 at 4:47am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Balanced VS. Single ended - Poll