I've been away from this thread for a while, but WOW!! Imagine my surprise to find that it's not really balanced. But I would like to applaud Michael for chiming in to explain things. So, is there any real benefit to using the balanced out? If not, then I must say I'm a bit disappointed for several reasons. First, when people think of balanced, they don't necessarily thing of "impedance" balanced. And of course not all amps claiming to be balanced are not really balanced. But at the very least they are bridged which would mean the + and - terminals are both actively driven. That's what many feel is the only benefit of running headphones balanced. So all of the discussions previously about this having a balanced amp is misleading. Although technically no one actually lied. This is what leads to my reasons of being a bit disappointed.
First, had I known that this wasn't really a balanced amp, I wouldn't have chopped up my very nice plusound solid core silver cable with it's nice viablue 1/8in connector in favor of a less audiophile friendly neutrick 4pin xlr. This added a ton of unnecessary bulk and weight to my jh13s. And I also wouldn't have chopped up the stock cable on my d600s, removing the iphone control etc, to make them balanced. I'm also reminded of another headfier who did major surgery on his momentums so that they could be balanced to go with his hifi m8. I can't even imagine the ones not in the diy crowd who spent serious coin to make their cans balanced.
I of course wouldn't have opted for the very large and unnecessary fullsized 4pin balanced connector that's an eye sore imo. The explanation Michael gave would have been good to know in the beginning instead of misleading people into thinking the m8 was balanced.
But does this mean I'm putting mine up on the forsale forum? Not a chance. Remember I said a bit disappointed and not very disappointed. At the end of the day, this thing sounds incredible for a battery power device(or any device). And I think it's still a downright bargain at 699. But had I've known what I know now it would have saved me a lot of time, trouble, and a little money on supplies.