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Balanced Drive sounds better? How?!  

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

I recently came across balanced headphone driving and just don't understand how this will make it sound better.
I understand how Balanced line transmission can cancel out interference induced to the cable using a Differential receiver.

but a headphone with a max cable length of maybe 5 meters?

post #2 of 24
The (headphone) driver is usually the weakest link so I don't see a balanced amp making the sound much better if at all. On a nice unbalanced amp neither distortion, nor noise or crosstalk is a problem which are areas a balanced amp could improve.
post #3 of 24

As I understand it, with some headphones, the increased voltage swing can make a difference. But otherwise, it appears to be mostly marketing. 

post #4 of 24
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaphoenix View Post

Read this and learn:

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

 


All well and good but it would be nice to see the results of some level matched blind tests and/or some FR measurements for the different ( balanced/unbalanced) configurations
 

 

post #6 of 24

Quite true Nick. Care to indulge in your fancy of FR measurements?

post #7 of 24

It's a design choice, like the rest of an amp's circuit. Every designer has their own ideas about what works best for what they wish to achieve.

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

It's a design choice, like the rest of an amp's circuit. Every designer has their own ideas about what works best for what they wish to achieve.

True, but just being a choice doesn't necessarily justify it. I can choose to smear cake over my PCB and even entertain the idea that it works best for optimum treble clarity...it's a deliberately stupid example, but the principle of being able to challenge a design choice stands, especially when the advantages are ill-defined and/or offset by significant disadvantages.

 

 

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

I made a simple test circuit on a breadboard to try out Balanced drive, its basically a OP-amp output stage using 2 OP's per channel, both unity gain but one is configured to be inverting.

the test headphone is AKG K518 since it can take up to 2.5W (incase something bad happened, with a breadboard you never know...) and already have individual cables for each channel.

I hear no difference compared to driving it normally with 2 OP's parallel configured unity. So.... that means it doesn't make much difference?

 

btw nice DP Willakan, Fourier series :)

post #10 of 24
Quote:

Originally Posted by b1o2r3i4s5 View Post

 

So.... that means it doesn't make much difference?

Exactly that.

post #11 of 24

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by b1o2r3i4s5 View Post

I hear no difference compared to driving it normally with 2 OP's parallel configured unity. So.... that means it doesn't make much difference?

 


How does that apply to amplifiers with a dominant second order harmonic distortion? 

How does it apply to amps with lowish damping factor? Lets define it as anything less than 5 single ended.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

 

How does that apply to amplifiers with a dominant second order harmonic distortion? 

How does it apply to amps with lowish damping factor? Lets define it as anything less than 5 single ended.


Even order distortion is reduced, and output impedance is increased (so lower damping factor). But for reducing the distortion, it might be more cost effective to build a better amplifier with unbalanced output.

 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by alphaphoenix View Post

Read this and learn:

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

 


Something tells me that a website that sells $1700 balanced headphone amps isn't going to be a great source of factual, unbiased information on the subject.


Edited by brod - 3/7/12 at 12:22am
post #14 of 24

Did you read it and find it biased and after that made you want to smack down $1700 balanced cans?

post #15 of 24

I haven't expressed an opinion on the merits and value of balanced sources/headphones, because I am not an expert on the matter. Just pointing out what should be obvious - that any claims of improved sound quality from a website that sells said equipment should be treated with suspicion.

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