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Balanced DAC > Single ended amp + Ignorent person.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello,

I have a DAC that can output 6.8(v) balanced.  It is said to offer improved performance when run balanced.

So.  Do I get an audio buffer, feed the buffer a balanced signal, then output it single ended from there?

I was thinking Burson AB-160 or Audio Horizon TB5.1.

Is this a good idea?  I assume that it is getting the DAC to output it's 6.8(v) signal that matters. Not so much that I have a fully balanced setup start to finish.  Or am I mistaken?
 

Thanks.

post #2 of 17

You don't need a buffer.  You already have way too much signal!

 

The Rane reference paper on analog interconnects:

http://www.rane.com/note110.html

 

You need to think about  "Stage Gain" or  "Gain Structure" because with a 6.8V full scale output, you probably need to attenuate the signal or your just throwing away bits.

 

This is the first paper that I found on the subject:

http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/gainstructure.html
 

post #3 of 17

the issue of going from bipolar/bridged balanced outputs to single ended input requires a differential to single ended converter - may be a audio transformer or a active electronic circuit like a instrumentation amp

 

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/index.html makes boxes with transformers, connectors - but good audio transformers are pricey - finished boxes even more  ~$200

 

many balanced outputs can be used to drive SE inputs with one phase and gnd only connected per channel


Edited by jcx - 11/7/12 at 7:46am
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.

 

So my plan is to have a buffer with a fully balanced input stage.  Then a single ended output.

 

I guess the issue is making sure that a high quality transformer is used, and that it can handle 6.8V.

 

The buffer I am looking at has -1dBA gain. It is essentially to add tube warmth, not to correct impedance mismatches.

 

I figured if I could add a little warmth + run my balanced outputs, this would be ideal.

 

Thanks for the info. I'll do some reading.

post #5 of 17
Quote:

Originally Posted by ecapsretliab View Post

 

I guess the issue is making sure that a high quality transformer is used, and that it can handle 6.8V.

 

 

I would recommend the CineMag CMLI-15/15B.

 

http://cinemag.biz/line_input/CMLI-15-15B.pdf

 

se

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post

You don't need a buffer.  You already have way too much signal!

The Rane reference paper on analog interconnects:
http://www.rane.com/note110.html

You need to think about  "Stage Gain" or  "Gain Structure" because with a 6.8V full scale output, you probably need to attenuate the signal or your just throwing away bits.

This is the first paper that I found on the subject:
http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/gainstructure.html

 

a buffer has nothing to do with boosting voltage
post #7 of 17

For more on the possible complications of going from balanced to unbalanced, some interesting papers:

 

Balanced and Unbalanced Connections
by Mike Rivers

http://mikeriversaudio.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/balanced-unbalanced_revised.pdf

 

Balanced Line Technology

by Doug Self

http://www.douglas-self.com/ampins/balanced/balanced.htm#XLRphono

 

Design of High-Performance Balanced Audio Interfaces
Bill Whitlock - Jensen Transformers, Inc. (Edited By Rod Elliott)

http://sound.westhost.com/articles/balanced-2.htm

 

and of course

Jensen AN-003
INTERCONNECTION OF BALANCED AND UNBALANCED EQUIPMENT
by Bill Whitlock

http://www.jensen-transformers.com/an/an003.pdf

post #8 of 17
some nice links in this thread!
post #9 of 17

I recently went to a balanced amp being fed by the balanced outs from my DAC.  I have a switch on the front of my amp and DAC to switch between balanced and single ended modes and I can definitely hear differences.  In balanced mode I receive much crisper bass in that it is less blurred.  The soundstage also improves giving a greater sense of space and involvement in the music I listen to.  This is all heard without using a balanced headphone and just switching between the single ended and balanced options on the DAC and amp.  The improvement to me is worth a listen.  My music is much more engaging now even with my mid-fi AH-D2000 headphones.

post #10 of 17

do the DAC and amp have exactly the same output level when switching?

 

lots of "balanced" equipment puts out more signal on the balanced output - louder sounds better when everything else is equal

post #11 of 17

There is a definite increase in volume, but I am very sensitive to bass frequency bloat which can occur with the Denon AH-D2000.  In balanced mode the bloat is completely gone while in single ended mode there is some ringing in the low end that does not sound natural.

 

Perhaps a few more people who actually own and use balanced DAC and amp units can chime in so the conversation does not become biased one way or the other.  It is clear from the debate that there are myriad ideas about balanced operation, but unless you try it and easily compare between modes you are giving an uninformed review as far as what it actually sounds like.


Edited by NA Blur - 1/22/13 at 4:47pm
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post

do the DAC and amp have exactly the same output level when switching?

 

lots of "balanced" equipment puts out more signal on the balanced output - louder sounds better when everything else is equal

 

Funny. I posted pretty much the same thing yesterday. Either I neglected to hit SUBMIT, or it's been "cleansed."

 

se

post #13 of 17

It was in another thread.

post #14 of 17

Sorry, I meant to add "OR I posted it in another thread and forgot." biggrin.gif

 

Thanks, stv014!

 

se

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

 

Funny. I posted pretty much the same thing yesterday. Either I neglected to hit SUBMIT, or it's been "cleansed."

 

se

 

Kind of like that "Balanced" thread that was deleted a few weeks ago...................all of it?

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