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"Mad Dog" by MrSpeakers, modified Fostex T50RP review - Page 351  

post #5251 of 6388

Get the hifiman balanced adapter, Should work for the HE4/6 and the MadDog.

 

I have one and plan to use it for a balanced MadDog.
 

post #5252 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

 

My thoughts exactly.

 

However curiosity is piqued now to see what a balanced set sound like. Is there that much difference?

 

Just speaking from experience from other headphones, being wired for balanced use doesn't make much if any difference on its own.  However, it opens up the ability to use the headphones on a bunch of other amps (including many more speaker amps).  There are also plenty of amps that have balanced and singe-ended outputs.  For instance, the Bryston BHA-1 can has both outputs, but the balanced output is far better IMO.  At RMAF on a BHA-1, I was able to AB a single-ended LCD-2 and a balanced K701, and the K701 blew the LCD-2 out of the water.  It wasn't remotely close.  Having heard both cans on plenty of other setups, I don't think the K701 is a better headphone but rather that the single-ended output of the BHA-1 is substandard while the balanced output is very good.  Not all amps follow this pattern, but some certainly do.  Others, like the Schiit Mjolnir, only have balanced outputs.  Like I said, it's more about opening up options than actually being better outright.

post #5253 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzerdave View Post

 

Just speaking from experience from other headphones, being wired for balanced use doesn't make much if any difference on its own.  However, it opens up the ability to use the headphones on a bunch of other amps (including many more speaker amps).  There are also plenty of amps that have balanced and singe-ended outputs.  For instance, the Bryston BHA-1 can has both outputs, but the balanced output is far better IMO.  At RMAF on a BHA-1, I was able to AB a single-ended LCD-2 and a balanced K701, and the K701 blew the LCD-2 out of the water.  It wasn't remotely close.  Having heard both cans on plenty of other setups, I don't think the K701 is a better headphone but rather that the single-ended output of the BHA-1 is substandard while the balanced output is very good.  Not all amps follow this pattern, but some certainly do.  Others, like the Schiit Mjolnir, only have balanced outputs.  Like I said, it's more about opening up options than actually being better outright.

 

I have a set of balanced phones that were built specifically for use with a TA2024 amp. I know about the performance diff on the amp side. My curiosity was with the MD's themselves. Hard going comparison as testing both phones with the same amp is impossible to do fairly.

 

 So it comes down to the desire to use balanced amplification. Which leads me back to the belief that the balanced headphone market is extremely small.

 

Drat forget my whatevers if they weren't in a bag. I have a favour to ask the community here in the interests of R&D. Can some enterprising soul reverse the pads on their MD's so the thin side is back and the thick end forward and let me know what you hear?  I would really appreciate this.


Edited by Hutnicks - 4/15/13 at 6:39pm
post #5254 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzerdave View Post

 

Just speaking from experience from other headphones, being wired for balanced use doesn't make much if any difference on its own.  However, it opens up the ability to use the headphones on a bunch of other amps (including many more speaker amps).  There are also plenty of amps that have balanced and singe-ended outputs.  For instance, the Bryston BHA-1 can has both outputs, but the balanced output is far better IMO.  At RMAF on a BHA-1, I was able to AB a single-ended LCD-2 and a balanced K701, and the K701 blew the LCD-2 out of the water.  It wasn't remotely close.  Having heard both cans on plenty of other setups, I don't think the K701 is a better headphone but rather that the single-ended output of the BHA-1 is substandard while the balanced output is very good.  Not all amps follow this pattern, but some certainly do.  Others, like the Schiit Mjolnir, only have balanced outputs.  Like I said, it's more about opening up options than actually being better outright.

 

Correct, the phones are not "balanced" in the true sense of the word: they just get the ground separated for each channel.

A true balanced headphone would have one common GND, VL+/VL- and VR+/VR-. The phones must be designed for balanced operation from the ground up and, electrostatic aside, I don't see how one could design such a phone anyway (that is, that would really take advantage of being balanced).

 

Like you said, the ability to use them on balanced headphones amps or speaker amps is what it is all about.

I get a similar experience with the NFB-27: using the 1/4 headphone jack (SE), the MDs don't sound much better than with my Fostex HP-A3...

I would really benefit from going "balanced" with the NFB-27...

post #5255 of 6388

Umm this is very interesting Clem,

 

 

Balanced headphones are wired L- L+ for the left channel and R- R+ for the right. The left and right headphone drivers are then actively driven at both sides of the coil with normal and inverted audio signals.

 

IMO and in my experience balanced headphones used with a fully balanced amp and source "can" offer superb clarity, resolution and sound stage.  I found this to be the case with certain headphones ie..HD800, HD650, HE-6, HE-5L5, AKG 701, and the T1.   And not the case with a few as well.  Denons, Audio Technicas and any sensitive headphone.  

 

Para and myself was "I think" was among the first few to get the Mad Dogs re cabled to balanced..  As far as an improvement.  I wouldn't know.  I never listened to them any other way.

 

Here's some good reading:

 

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/balanced-drive-article-series.php


Edited by preproman - 4/16/13 at 4:36am
post #5256 of 6388

"Balanced" headphone also benefit from twice the voltage (4x the power). This is the main improvement over single ended for cans that need a good deal of power/control. They, however, don't benefit from the noise cancellation property of a true balanced transmission.

I reckon, the common ground "issue" might be a concern if the cable quality is poor and the "common ground path" is long. Hifiman's cables have the 2 grounds separated on the cable. The junction is only at solder points on the jack.

 

In essence, balanced headphones are no different than regular dual-mono speaker designs (also found on tripath amps: the "grounds" are isolated and should not be connected).

 

Edit: that reminds me I should try the Hifimediy T1 headphone edition with the 5LEs. Will buy it soon ^^


Edited by Clemmaster - 4/16/13 at 5:04am
post #5257 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

 

Correct, the phones are not "balanced" in the true sense of the word: they just get the ground separated for each channel.

A true balanced headphone would have one common GND, VL+/VL- and VR+/VR-. The phones must be designed for balanced operation from the ground up and, electrostatic aside, I don't see how one could design such a phone anyway (that is, that would really take advantage of being balanced).

 

Like you said, the ability to use them on balanced headphones amps or speaker amps is what it is all about.

I get a similar experience with the NFB-27: using the 1/4 headphone jack (SE), the MDs don't sound much better than with my Fostex HP-A3...

I would really benefit from going "balanced" with the NFB-27...

 

When we ship a balanced phone it is fully balanced.  A balanced phone does not require a common ground at all, it require L+/L- and R+/R-.  We rewire the phone to eliminate the internal common ground, and you then have a fully symmetric balanced driver; as with electrostatics the driver is inherently balanced.  If the cable is shielded the shield is attached to the common ground of the amp.  

 

This is why the Schiit amp has a 4 pin XLR, for example, for stereo.  Since the headphones are plastic there is nothing to create a common ground for on the headphone side.  

 

Using an adaptor L-/R- are shorted to create a common ground for use with a single ended amp.


Edited by mrspeakers - 4/16/13 at 7:21am
post #5258 of 6388

My bad, I was referring to differential operation (which is not possible with no common ground). That's the way we call "balanced lines" in French (we have no equivalent for balanced, we call them "symétrique" which involves a common ground for reference...).

 

By design, Electrostatics can be fully differential. Could you elaborate of how planar drivers are fully symmetric? 

post #5259 of 6388

Inside the phone each driver has an "input" and an "output," not in/out/ground.  A balanced amp assumes only two terminals on the speaker or headphone, positive and an out of phase negative.  If the headphones are wired with a common ground, like the stock Fostex, you simply have to separate the ground to create four, not three conductors.  There is no need for a common ground for safety or signal quality because the headphone is plastic.  

 

This works because electrically the driver doesn't care if the negative terminal is ground or an out of phase signal, both act as a current soiurce or sink for the other input. In balanced it's out of phase so you have 2x the voltage swing because the "ground" is not actually moving in the opposite phase as the signal, so there's 2x the motor force working the driver for a given voltage swing on one channel,  That said, you could increase the gain and voltage swing of a single ended design to achieve 2x the voltage relative to ground, and in fact that's what SE amp designers do to get the same output power rating.

 

That is why people debate whether balanced is better or not at the amplifier level.  There are many other factors to consider, but this isn't the venue, and I'm not trying to be an expert on balanced amp benefits vs single ended.  I'm just to make a phone for those who want balanced. 

 

I tried to make this short and simple but if it's confusing start up on sound science and PM the link and we can get into it further.  I bet if you search it's already in some detail there...


Edited by mrspeakers - 4/16/13 at 8:55am
post #5260 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

My bad, I was referring to differential operation (which is not possible with no common ground). That's the way we call "balanced lines" in French (we have no equivalent for balanced, we call them "symétrique" which involves a common ground for reference...).

 

By design, Electrostatics can be fully differential. Could you elaborate of how planar drivers are fully symmetric? 

 

Electrostatics work the same way, btw.  The signal is L+/L-.  The only place ground comes into play is in establishing the bias voltage on the transducer, which is simply a fixed voltage with respect to ground.  Planars use magnets not a bias voltage, so there is no reference to a ground.   

post #5261 of 6388

Hello, How do these compare to the DT990 Premium 600 OHM? Price is around the same...

post #5262 of 6388
They don't compare. The 990 is bright, bass and treble heavy, the Mad Dog is dark, linear, and well balanced. They are very different. It's also closed vs open. Depending on your taste, preferences, and needs, one will be better than the other.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 4/16/13 at 1:43pm
post #5263 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

They don't compare. The 990 is bright, bass and treble heavy, the Mad Dog is dark, linear, and well balanced. They are very different. It's also closed vs open. Depending on your taste, preferences, and needs, one will be better than the other.

How is the Bass on them? How well would this pair with a Woo Audio WA6? Does anyone have this combo?

 

Thx

post #5264 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrspeakers View Post

Electrostatics work the same way, btw.  The signal is L+/L-.  The only place ground comes into play is in establishing the bias voltage on the transducer, which is simply a fixed voltage with respect to ground.  Planars use magnets not a bias voltage, so there is no reference to a ground.   
Thanks for the clarification Dan ;-)
post #5265 of 6388
Quote:
Originally Posted by teknikk7 View Post

How is the Bass on them? How well would this pair with a Woo Audio WA6? Does anyone have this combo?

 

Thx

 

The MD seems to respond well to most desktop amps. It does need a decent amp though. The WA6 is a great amp and it's a good pairing. I have the lyr and bifrost and it sounds tremendous...biggrin.gif

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