Originally Posted by drew911d
I recently got balanced cables and I had that "what is what" idea. Basically, I though what is the difference from? Cable material (silver Litz), diameter (more current capacity) or the balance mode? Well, I think now it's a bit of each. First, I think the diameter is the main difference. I've been an electronics tech for 30 plus years and I know wire diameter has a great deal to do with current flow, resistance and such.. really can affect sound reproduction in low impedance circuits. IEM is that circuit, typically.
Anyway, I really noticed a difference with my K10's. The extra current had a lot to do with it. I have an adapter that let's me use my silver litz cables in stereo mode, so I can say that the cable material and gauge does make an improvement, probably equal to the balanced mode because even in stereo mode there is a great improvement over the already great OEM cables Noble uses (SPC of a smaller guage, but more flexible). However, I can see that it takes high end HP or IEM to get that extra benefit of the balanced mode. When I use balanced mode vs stereo silver litz the difference is slightly less than going with the silver litz greater diameter cable. So, that means the greater gain in my perspective is with better wire material/diameter. However, the balanced mode really adds to it in an extra perceptive with high end HP or IEM. You have to look for it with lesser HP/IEM, but it is really there if your phones can deliver. The sum is greater than the parts, in this case. Great IEM/HP will be great return.
The flexibility of a cable has a lot do with AWG. The bigger the cable, the less flexible. Material can make a difference, but bulk is bulk. I'd rather appreciate the extra current capacity for the bulk. See any high end after market cable and you'd see that there is a trade off, one most of who's buy an after market cable will accept. For what? I guess there has to be a reason. Most after market cables are rather bulky, with few exceptions. Hell, I considered an 8 wire, Silver/Copper hybrid. That's some bulk, indeed! The sound quality is up for you to decide.
I'm sorry but I have a problem reading this
I've been an electronics tech for 30 plus years and I know wire diameter has a great deal to do with current flow, resistance and such.
and then everything else you wrote that really doesn't give a vibe of knowing what you're talking about.
you make it sound like bigger diameter means better sound, that higher end products will be more sensitive to what cable will be used(ahhh the good ugly elitism "you can't hear if you don't have the best"), and that balanced output means more current. it goes from overly simplified to dead wrong.
there is all the knowledge you can hope for explaining many many things about reactance, resistance, capacitance, it's perfectly known and mastered. like what will roll off high freqs faster, how diameter influence skin effect or allows for more current to pass, how braided cables are different from one big junk of cable, how insulation can affect a great many things, and most of all, how you don't need a 2cm diameter cable when your IEM will most likely be loud when fed 0.1v and a few mA...
same thing for balanced output in audio. so maybe go read all that before making relations on bigger cable diameter/current/high end gears.
the extra current ability for a bigger diameter is real, except that in the audio circuit, the headphone will set the limit for current(unless the source is not right for the headphone), not ever will it be the cable. do you imagine how bad a cable would need to be, for it to be the current limiting factor between an amp and a headphone?
high end HP and IEMs have nothing to do with seeing the benefits of balanced output. the IEM/HP needs more voltage or it doesn't, the single ended connection has audible defaults that might be solved or reduced on the balanced one, or not. stuff like crosstalk or whatever, the point is, it's bad enough to be audible, or it's not. but there is nowhere saying that balanced amps give better specs than single ended ones. twice the same thing might be better for some stuff, but that's the limit of improvement, you can get crazy good specs out of SE outputs. and nowhere was it showed that people needed high end stuff to tell them apart.
as far as I know, what the balance circuitry offers on a "voltage" amplifier(99% of audio amplifiers and the one in the pono too) is more "voltage". what is done is doubling the max voltage swing(able to go 6db louder). that should mean 4 times the power from voltage alone, yet we know that we actually get only about double the power. and that's because we also usually double the impedance. so P=U²/R=4/2=2 here we are, twice the power output in balanced mode. but if the current was going up and the voltage was going up, how would you explain only twice the power? you couldn't unless the impedance would get very much bigger(but then how would the current be able to flow more? we go in circle), because if more possible current is a thing for larger cable diameter, it isn't for this balanced output. your idea was oversimplifying things and just plain wrong.
it's also wrong because we're talking maximum voltage, when most likely your IEM will never ever need 1V(couldn't find the sensitivity for the k10). so double the max voltage has obviously no impact at all on you listening to music with most IEMs.
I have a 300ohm etykid that might be an exception and could maybe show audible change from more voltage, but I'm not even sure a 1V would already be super loud. but who knows, maybe it's one of those 50$ high end product you need to get differences?
now using a source with about double the impedance on an IEM with crossovers, that most likely has a very real audible effect! and in all those differences it would often be the most noticeable one.
you see how your conclusions are false and unrelated to how high end an IEM is? you can get BA driver IEMs that will be very much affected by impedance and other stuff for less than 100$. hell my 30$ XBA-1 sounds different into a 5ohm source. hearing differences between to ways just shows that at least one is wrong, it's certainly not related to a device being high end.
my point is, can we sometimes stick to reality? I know it's not as fun, but it has that nice perk of being real to everybody, which isn't bad when talking on a public forum.
PS: still looking for any measurements into a few loads for the pono, if anybody ever get that, thanks for giving me a link.