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Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 94

post #1396 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsung View Post


Thanks for the info, Kendoji, the Forza Audioworks site looks interesting! smile.gif

 

A noob question for anyone here... Instead of buying a whole new cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for my HD800 to replace the current cable that has the 1/4" connector, can I buy an extender cable like this, which has a 1/4" socket on one end and a 4-pin XLR male connector on the other? Thanks in advance.

 

I'm trying to fully understand what you're asking. I think you're saying can you buy a cable with a female 1/4" TRS on one side and a male 4 pin XLR on the other? 

 

 

 

post #1397 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsung View Post


Thanks for the info, Kendoji, the Forza Audioworks site looks interesting! smile.gif

 

A noob question for anyone here... Instead of buying a whole new cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for my HD800 to replace the current cable that has the 1/4" connector, can I buy an extender cable like this, which has a 1/4" socket on one end and a 4-pin XLR male connector on the other? Thanks in advance.

 

You could probably find one but whats the point? The HDVD800 already has 1/4" headphone plugs built in.

post #1398 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsung View Post

A noob question for anyone here... Instead of buying a whole new cable with a 4-pin XLR connector for my HD800 to replace the current cable that has the 1/4" connector, can I buy an extender cable like this, which has a 1/4" socket on one end and a 4-pin XLR male connector on the other? Thanks in advance.

 

No it is not possible, and if someone DID attempt to make one, it could potentially be damaging to your amp.

 

The 1/4 inch connector is a three terminal connector. You have four wires coming from your headphones, i.e., one pair for each side of the headphones. At the 1/4 inch jack, the +ve side for each of these two circuits goes to its own separate terminal on the jack (specifically the "tip" connecter and the "ring" connector). The -ve sides for each of the two circuits are spliced together and connected to the main sleeve connector (i.e., the ground) of the jack. 

 

For balanced operation, the -ve sides of the two circuits must be kept separate (that's what the 4th pin in the XLR is for). For an adapter like you have suggested, they would be spliced together not only in the adapter, but also in the jack going to the headphones as well. The minute you plug this "adapter" into the balanced output of the amp (even if the headphone hasn't been plugged into the adapter yet), you electrically short the -ve signal outputs of the left and right channel amp sections together, and depending on how the amplifier has been constructed, it's probably not going to like that very much.

 

In fact, this is kind of the reason that using the unbalanced output of the HDVD800 doesn't work nearly as good as the balanced. In order to connect to the front panel 1/4 inch jack, the output circuitry of the HDVD800 for the -ve signal sides of the left and right channels are just bypassed completely (i.e., removed from the output signal path). Electrically, this means that you now only get 1/4 of the power to each ear cup than you would if running full balanced.

 

Running a fully balanced designed amplifier but only using a single ended output is basically a waste because nearly half of all of those expensive electronics in the box are not even being used. They are just sitting there eating electricity.redface.gif

 

A 4 pin male XLR connector is only $6 - $8 off the shelf. It only takes 10 - 15 minutes to cut the original 1/4 inch jack off, re-prepare the wires, and re-solder to the new XLR connector. It doesn't usually take much expertise on regular wires (although with exotic wires, having previous experience along with one or two special tools can make a difference).

 

- Jeff

post #1399 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

 

You could probably find one but whats the point? The HDVD800 already has 1/4" headphone plugs built in.

 

Without some schematics of the HDVD800 I can't say for sure, but I would guess that the 1/4 inch outputs on the HDVD800 are only using half of each channel's electronics, i.e., probably a maximum of 1/4 the power capabilities of the balanced outputs.

 

Such an "adapter" would force the balanced configuration down through a single ended configuration so you lose many of the advantages of balanced outputs. Theoretically, if it doesn't damage the amplifier, you would be running at the maximum full power output though.

 

That's theoretically. I suggest that you don't even try. If you want to use a 1/4 inch jack on your headphones, plug it directly into the HDVD800.

post #1400 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

 

You could probably find one but whats the point? The HDVD800 already has 1/4" headphone plugs built in.

It only works the other way around since the TRS shorted the ground pin for both channels.

 

So it is 4 conductor v.s. 3. In addition, there is a hidden chassis ground also exist on the 4-pin xlr connector for the cable shielding, so you better get your own cable. The simplest thing to do is reterminate your stock cable for 4-pin xlr. You just need a solder gun and some solder, pretty easy to do~~~~

 

Otherwise, stay with the 1/4" jack of the HDVD800~~

post #1401 of 2367

Many thanks for all the responses, especially the very interesting and informative explanation from wisemanja! smile.gif

 

elwappo99: Yes, I was enquiring whether a cable adaptor exists that contains the 2 connectors you shown, just to see whether it was a potential cheap way of getting some of the benefits of a balanced connection. Sadly, after reading wisemanja's response, it's not possible. However, even with the current single-ended cable, I'm really enjoying the sound from the combination of the HD800 and HDVD800. I guess I'll just have to wait until my local stockist has the Sennheiser balanced cable in stock so I can demo it and see whether I'm able to hear an improvement. If I do I'll try to get my existing cable reterminated with the 4-pin XLR connector.
 

post #1402 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsung View Post

Many thanks for all the responses, especially the very interesting and informative explanation from wisemanja! smile.gif

 

elwappo99: Yes, I was enquiring whether a cable adaptor exists that contains the 2 connectors you shown, just to see whether it was a potential cheap way of getting some of the benefits of a balanced connection. Sadly, after reading wisemanja's response, it's not possible. However, even with the current single-ended cable, I'm really enjoying the sound from the combination of the HD800 and HDVD800. I guess I'll just have to wait until my local stockist has the Sennheiser balanced cable in stock so I can demo it and see whether I'm able to hear an improvement. If I do I'll try to get my existing cable reterminated with the 4-pin XLR connector.
 

 

rsung,

 

For what it is worth, I can't think of any reason at all that you will not see an improvement with the balanced configuration with the same exact headphone cables.

 

In any event, If I were in your position, chomping at the bit to hear the differences (and I would be, trust me! tongue_smile.gif) Just have someone competent at working with cables cut the jack off of your existing headphone cable, leaving a short tail of cable 8 to 10 inches on the jack. Then install a 4 pin male XLR on the headphone cable and a 4 pin female XLR on the 8 inch tail to the original 1/4 inch jack using the wiring pinouts documented in the HDVD800 manual. Now you have the ability to use BOTH balanced and unbalanced and it should only cost you 2 XLR connectors ($12-$20 cost total) and the labor to terminate just 2 cables (20-30 minutes total).

 

Now the adapter will also look the same as the headphone cable (if you are at all concerned with looks bigsmile_face.gif In fact, if you are, make sure that they use the all black Neutrix connectors and not the nickel plated ones).

 

And you will be able to immediately A-B compare the 1/4 inch jack and XLR outputs of the HDVD800 by simply moving the one male XLR connector on your headphone cable between the XLR connector on the HDVD800 and the XLR connector on your new adaptor (which you just leave plugged into the HDVD800 unbalanced jack all the time)

 

Easier than what you were planning and you can start on it today instead of waiting for cables to show up. Sennheiser seems to have a long history of getting stuff on the shelves much later than they advertise sometimes. After all, weren't the HDVD800s supposed to have originally been on the selves last September or earlier? They didn't really start showing up until May...

 

- Jeff


Edited by wisemanja - 8/29/13 at 2:15pm
post #1403 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by rsung View Post

Many thanks for all the responses, especially the very interesting and informative explanation from wisemanja! smile.gif

 

elwappo99: Yes, I was enquiring whether a cable adaptor exists that contains the 2 connectors you shown, just to see whether it was a potential cheap way of getting some of the benefits of a balanced connection. Sadly, after reading wisemanja's response, it's not possible. However, even with the current single-ended cable, I'm really enjoying the sound from the combination of the HD800 and HDVD800. I guess I'll just have to wait until my local stockist has the Sennheiser balanced cable in stock so I can demo it and see whether I'm able to hear an improvement. If I do I'll try to get my existing cable reterminated with the 4-pin XLR connector.
 

 

Ah! Yes in that case wisemanja's post up above here is pretty thorough on why you can't. The balanced schiit amplifier (mjolnir) actually has a circuit that will turn the amplifier off if you were to use something like this. I don't think many other balanced amplifiers have that and ultimately it would damage the amplifier. 

post #1404 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

rsung,

 

For what it is worth, I can't think of any reason at all that you will not see an improvement with the balanced configuration with the same exact headphone cables.

 

In any event, If I were in your position, chomping at the bit to hear the differences (and I would be, trust me! tongue_smile.gif) Just have someone competent at working with cables cut the jack off of your existing headphone cable, leaving a short tail of cable 8 to 10 inches on the jack. Then install a 4 pin male XLR on the headphone cable and a 4 pin female XLR on the 8 inch tail to the original 1/4 inch jack using the wiring pinouts documented in the HDVD800 manual. Now you have the ability to use BOTH balanced and unbalanced and it should only cost you 2 XLR connectors ($12-$20 cost total) and the labor to terminate just 2 cables (20-30 minutes total).

 

Now the adapter will also look the same as the headphone cable (if you are at all concerned with looks bigsmile_face.gif In fact, if you are, make sure that they use the all black Neutrix connectors and not the nickel plated ones).

 

And you will be able to immediately A-B compare the 1/4 inch jack and XLR outputs of the HDVD800 by simply moving the one male XLR connector on your headphone cable between the XLR connector on the HDVD800 and the XLR connector on your new adaptor (which you just leave plugged into the HDVD800 unbalanced jack all the time)

 

Easier than what you were planning and you can start on it today instead of waiting for cables to show up. Sennheiser seems to have a long history of getting stuff on the shelves much later than they advertise sometimes. After all, weren't the HDVD800s supposed to have originally been on the selves last September or earlier? They didn't really start showing up until May...

 

- Jeff


Well, if you can find a cheap HD800 connector, I can make the cable for you~~~~~ Excluding the connector, the rest of the material will not be more than $20 if you choose to have a very very long high quality cable~~~ I believe the cheapest HD800 cable sales on ebay is about $170. Mine cost like $100 and the connector itself cost like $50~~~~

post #1405 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHell View Post


Well, if you can find a cheap HD800 connector, I can make the cable for you~~~~~ Excluding the connector, the rest of the material will not be more than $20 if you choose to have a very very long high quality cable~~~ I believe the cheapest HD800 cable sales on ebay is about $170. Mine cost like $100 and the connector itself cost like $50~~~~

 

So here is an example of what I did with my T1. I paid the folks I bought it from to cut off the 1/4 inch jack and put on the 4 pin XLR for me. I reused the 1/4 inch jack for my adaptor but if they had cut off the jack and left some tail, I would have only needed to add one connector of my own for the adapter. I also made a 20 foot balanced extension cord for it I get too feeling constrained too much regular_smile%20.gif

 

 

 

Note that the cable I used for the extension and adapter were some of Headroom's "Fat Pipe" headphone cable. This is really just some Cardas cable that Cardas re-brands for Headroom so it is good stuff but can be tricky to work with (see below) I'll explain a bit about how soldering specialty wires can be a real issue for the uninitiated wink.gif

 

 

The black cable shown in the above picture was a 12 inch scrap (although at $5 to $6 a foot, it's hard to call it "scrap") piece that I was experimenting with prior to actually soldering on a connector. I did not use the shield so it has been cut way back to below the end of the insulation so you cannot see it. The liner insulation layers on each side of the shield as well as the coating on each of the four signal conductors is Teflon -- slippery, stretchy, teflon. When you try to strip it off the inner conductors, it can stretch and if not cut completely through, it will retract and bunch up all of the inner conductors (they will literally fold up inside of the teflon casing). If you strip too deep and it grabs even a little bit of the inside bundle of conductors, the entire conductor bundle can completely pull out of the cable as it did here with almost no resistance at all (the 12 inch long copper conductor bundle from the white wire is what is laying on the paper next to the cable it pulled out of rendering my "short cable" as scrap now).

 

But here's the real trick. Let's say that when you strip the insulation off of the copper conductor bundle, you break off 2 or three of the inner wires (they are very tiny). Normally you would think, "No problem". After all, they are all touching each other inside the cable so they are all being used. NOT in this case. These are Litz wires and each tiny strand is individually insulated with a clear insulation from all the others. So each wire that is broken off during handling is not ever used. The second problem is that these 24 or so tiny wires must each be striped or they cannot be soldered. If you try scraping the insulation off (it's like an enamel) the strands will always break. This typically requires the use of liquid solder flux and a solder pot. If you know what you are doing for one-off jobs, an acceptable connection can be made by tinning with liquid solder flux and a VERY hot iron (e.g., 1000 degrees as opposed to 600-700 which is more typical) in order to burn the insulation away. If you look at the green wire in the photo, an attempt was made to tin (solder) the wire with a normal soldering pencil. The solder just blobs on top and all of the wires are still insulated from each other. Only a fraction of the wire strands going down the connector would be used and there's no guarantee that the same ones would be connected at the other end!

 

By the way, that blob on the green wire was how I discovered the cable used Litz wire blink.gif. Exotic cables have many peculiarities in material and construction that is different from traditional cables and require special handling and most often cannot be mass produced as easy. One of the reasons for their prices. The Litz wire is one of them. The technology has been around for many years. It is a technique for increasing the amount of surface area of a conductor which can assist in assuring that hi frequency signals that tend to pass along the surface of a wire and lo frequency signals that don't, will arrive at the destination at the same time (or so that theory goes).

 

So if Sennheiser is not using Litz wire in their headphone cables, soldering shouldn't be a problem. The only other thing is to be careful of is that the braided nylon jacket that they are using over their wires will likely melt at a temperature much lower than most heat shrink activates, so be careful of the heat you are using, I've been surprised at how fast that stuff can melt!

 

- Jeff

post #1406 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

In any event, If I were in your position, chomping at the bit to hear the differences (and I would be, trust me! tongue_smile.gif) Just have someone competent at working with cables cut the jack off of your existing headphone cable, leaving a short tail of cable 8 to 10 inches on the jack. Then install a 4 pin male XLR on the headphone cable and a 4 pin female XLR on the 8 inch tail to the original 1/4 inch jack using the wiring pinouts documented in the HDVD800 manual. Now you have the ability to use BOTH balanced and unbalanced and it should only cost you 2 XLR connectors ($12-$20 cost total) and the labor to terminate just 2 cables (20-30 minutes total).

Thanks for this great suggestion, wisemanja, I'll start searching for someone who's competent at working with cables (unfortunately not me!) to carry out the modifications you suggested. I really can't wait to hear the difference this will make! smily_headphones1.gif

post #1407 of 2367
Quote:
Originally Posted by James-uk View Post

I'm sure it is but In 2013 it's harder to find a bad dac than a good one. any well designed dac will be transparent and any improvement on that is pointless and inaudible. It's like having an amp with 0.00000000001 THD and saying it sounds better that an amp with 0.00001 THD . I'm a believer that dac technology was settle a long time ago and as long as a company doesn't deliberately make it sound bad somehow then the should all sound the same now. Same could be said for solid state amps I suppose and now it comes down to amp / headphone matching rather than a ''transparent " amp that suits a wide range of headphones but is a master of none. Ive got an O2 and it's a great little amp but it isn't perfect for the HD800 that's why I brought the HDVD800. I trusted that sennheiser would build an amp that makes no compromises to work well with all phones but would be the master of the HD800 and I feel they have achieved this .

 

I disagree with most of the things you have said. Your example with amplifier distortion figures, while graphic, is simply ridiculous and you are guided ny a flawed logic. Don't you think that there are other parameters that are a bit more difficult to put on paper and that manufacturers don't specify but that do mean something in real-life conditions? How about power distribution linearity or linearity of response at different output levels. Don't you think these numbers mean something? I would suggest, not only to you but everyone else, to stop making observations on the basis of what you have heard or what you have read without knowing why and how those numbers were obtained. It isn't making it easier for any newcomer.

 

You think more expensive converters are not better than the more affordable ones - fine. If you cannot afford them or simply don't think they are worth it - fine. Either you have never experienced a top flight front end (be it digital or analog) or you lack the necessary experience to distinguish between the two. It is as simple as that mate. No grudges and no bad feelings, but that's really it. 

 

There's nothing I would like more than to be able and buy a DAC that costs a grand and have the same performance as if I spent two and a half grand. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. While it is possible to buy something affordable and nice - like the HDVD800 you are fond of, it is also even more true that the really good things cost a lot more. 

 

As for he HDVD800, I will tell you first hand and from someone that has used it for serious work, it gets the job done. It is resolving enough and quite well balanced. It lacks the finer dynamics and this is what gives it away as if often the case with cheaper equipment. It sounds good but there is always a bit of information missing. 

 

Cheers!

post #1408 of 2367
Can you give me some examples of how these super dacs translate 1 and 0s into electrical signals better. Using the HDVD dac as a comparison. I'm interested now in all the extra engineering that makes them better. I am clearly misguided and I need educating.
post #1409 of 2367
There are plenty of people here who have heard fancy DACs and reported improvements. I'm not one of them (I haven't had the opportunity to hear many). Which DACs have you heard that you think sound the same?
post #1410 of 2367
I've also heard plenty of people on here say they heard differences using silver vs copper cable. Doesn't mean it's true . I'm just happy that I've saved thousands of pounds in my approach to this hobby so I can now go and buy a stax rig and then maybe some ie800s for walking the dog . Happy days smily_headphones1.gif
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