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Sennheiser HDVD800 Headphone Amplifier - Page 99

post #1471 of 2293

Great review Windsor!

Must get myself a balanced cable...

post #1472 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post

With the same source I used the stock cable and then switched to the balanced cable without changing the volume control of the HDVD 800.

I suspected as much.

Its no wonder the balanced output sounded better to you...rolleyes.gif
post #1473 of 2293

I understand your point palmfish, but do you know that the balanced out is louder given the same volume knob position?

post #1474 of 2293
post #1475 of 2293

Well done.  Sorry to make you search.  tongue_smile.gif

post #1476 of 2293
No problem. Im a stickler for details and accountability too. wink.gif
post #1477 of 2293

Good man.  beerchug.gif

post #1478 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


I suspected as much.

Its no wonder the balanced output sounded better to you...rolleyes.gif

 

I really think that most people just don't get how "balanced" operation (i.e. bridged outputs) doubles the amplitude, hence giving a 6dB gain with all the sonic benefits that come along with that.  I just sort of expect it now, and it does not bother me so much.

post #1479 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

I suspected as much.

Its no wonder the balanced output sounded better to you...rolleyes.gif

Hi mate -

Just to clarify, my above point about the volume was to state the fact that with the same audio file playing and at the same volume level of the HDVD 800, the balanced cable produces a louder output volume level than the stock cable.

When I did my comparisons, I adjusted the HDVD 800 volume to ensure my listening levels were the same with each cable.

smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by Windsor - 9/3/13 at 2:47am
post #1480 of 2293
Here's a trick for comparing the stock and balanced cable. Get an xlr to 1/4 jack adaptor and put the balanced cable in the second trs out of the amp. Then A/B using the same trs outs. Then you may hear the sonic differences caused by the wire materials, and not simply due to the superior balanced out.
Edited by dleblanc343 - 9/3/13 at 5:55am
post #1481 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post

When I did my comparisons, I adjusted the HDVD 800 volume to ensure my listening levels were the same with each cable.

 

yet

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post

with the same audio file playing and at the same volume level of the HDVD 800, the balanced cable produces a louder output volume level than the stock cable.

 

confused.gif

post #1482 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by Windsor View Post
 
The HDVD 800 and the HD 800 headphone cables
The subject of cables has been a topic of much debate on head-fi and other forums and I attest to having definitely heard a difference whenever I have changed and compared headphone cables. But have never heard such clearly cable-induced sonic differences as when switching between the official stock and balanced HD 800 cables.

Thanks for the review which continues to reinforce the advantages of using the HDVD800 in full balanced mode! smile.gif

 

However, to avoid confusion for other folks here I really want to reiterate that this comparison had absolutely nothing to do with "cable induced sonic differences". My understanding is that the only difference between the standard HD800 cable and the HD800 balanced cable is that one terminates on a 1/4 inch single ended jack and the other on a 4 pin XLR connector. The cable itself is identical and thus induces no sonic differences in the system. All sonic differences here are 100% due to the balanced or unbalanced configuration of the HDVD800 that is being used. If you plug into the 1/4 inch output jack of the HDVD800, you are only using about half of the electronics in the box and the -ve signal returns from the headphones are shorted together and then likely fed back through a common chassis based return scheme. If you plug into the XLR, the -ve signal returns are isolated from each other and the electronics for the -ve signal are all activated (which doubles the voltage output swing effectively increasing your output power by a factor of 4 -- the reason that the volume increases with the same setting on the volume knob).

 

This is all independent of cable type. I suspect that if you were to replace the HD800 balanced cable with a balanced cable made from standard old-school telephone wire and ran these tests again, you would still find that the balanced cheap-o telephone wire would still produce pretty nice results compared to the stock unbalanced HD800 cable in many ways.

 

If you were to cut the XLR off of the HD800 balanced cable, solder on a 1/4 inch jack, and then compare it side-by-side to the stock unbalanced HD800 cable on ANY amplifier out there, you are going to find that there are no differences to be detected (assuming, of course, that your soldering job is half ways decent wink.gif)

post #1483 of 2293
I recently borrowed a HDVD800 for a home trial from Unilet in New Malden, UK aka Custom Cable. Unfortunately, they didn't have a balanced cable in stock for my HD800 so I could only do a test in single-ended mode. I primarily did a level matched test with the HDVD800 against the internal HPA-2 headamp on my Benchmark DAC1 . This enabled me to swop very quickly between devices. Mains cable on both devices was LAT AC-2 and the interconnects from the DAC1 RCA out to the HDVD800 were Townshend Isolda DCT-300. Unfortunately, I didn't really find the presentation to be a stepup as hoped for. It was perhaps more laidback on the HDVD800 with a bit more width and depth perspective at times but whether this is a function of the interconnect I can't say (although it's supposed to be neutral). I felt the Benchmark was a bit more upfront and dynamic overall, the effect being a bit like moving a few rows forward to the stage. Detail-wise, I didn't find there to be extra with the HDVD800. in fact, I thought the HPA-2 a bit more resolving on occasions e.g. overall clarity and portrayl of ambient/decay information. The overall conclusion for me was that the HDVD800 wasn't bringing anything earth-shattering to the party so I returned the item. I will try again when I can do a demo with a balanced cable but at £1500 plus £250 for the cable, it will need to be a clear improvement. I also have a Lehmann Black Cube which I didn't bother trying because I think there is a fairly small difference in level matched tests I've tried with the HPA-2. Just my 2c.
post #1484 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by roskodan View Post

confused.gif

 

Hi roskodan. To clarify, with the same volume setting on the HDVD 800 and with the same audio track playing, the balanced cable and standard non-balanced cable lead to (no pun intended) different volume levels. When I compared the sound of each cable with the HDVD 800, in order to to give myself a more accurate basis for hearing the differences when using each cable, I adjusted the HDVD 800's volume control so that I listened to each cable at the same listening level.

post #1485 of 2293
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

Thanks for the review which continues to reinforce the advantages of using the HDVD800 in full balanced mode! smile.gif

 

However, to avoid confusion for other folks here I really want to reiterate that this comparison had absolutely nothing to do with "cable induced sonic differences". My understanding is that the only difference between the standard HD800 cable and the HD800 balanced cable is that one terminates on a 1/4 inch single ended jack and the other on a 4 pin XLR connector. The cable itself is identical and thus induces no sonic differences in the system. All sonic differences here are 100% due to the balanced or unbalanced configuration of the HDVD800 that is being used. If you plug into the 1/4 inch output jack of the HDVD800, you are only using about half of the electronics in the box and the -ve signal returns from the headphones are shorted together and then likely fed back through a common chassis based return scheme. If you plug into the XLR, the -ve signal returns are isolated from each other and the electronics for the -ve signal are all activated (which doubles the voltage output swing effectively increasing your output power by a factor of 4 -- the reason that the volume increases with the same setting on the volume knob).

 

This is all independent of cable type. I suspect that if you were to replace the HD800 balanced cable with a balanced cable made from standard old-school telephone wire and ran these tests again, you would still find that the balanced cheap-o telephone wire would still produce pretty nice results compared to the stock unbalanced HD800 cable in many ways.

 

If you were to cut the XLR off of the HD800 balanced cable, solder on a 1/4 inch jack, and then compare it side-by-side to the stock unbalanced HD800 cable on ANY amplifier out there, you are going to find that there are no differences to be detected (assuming, of course, that your soldering job is half ways decent wink.gif)

 

Thanks for this!

 

I see the sense in the vast majority of what you said, but can't see the truth in the cable having "nothing" to do with the difference in sound. Surely without a balanced cable it wouldn't be possible to hear the effects of a balanced signal in headphones plugged into a balanced headphone amp?! 

 

Semantics aside, I'm very grateful for this informative post, which - along with some of the recent posts in this thread about balanced amping - has definitely contributed to me more clearly understanding how the HDVD 800 creates a difference in sound when listening with the balanced and unbalanced cables. I will likely accordingly amend any further impressions I create. Thank you.

 

smily_headphones1.gif


Edited by Windsor - 9/3/13 at 1:17pm
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