Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy
It all sounds like hyperbole and expectation bias. People dont compare directly with unbalanced. They get their headphones balanced and because they're expecting improvements, thats what they hear. I only trust those who compare balanced and single ended DIRECTLY.
I have heard plenty of people who didn't hear a difference. If it's that subtle (and I have no doubt improvements would be slight), not worth it to me.
Thought I'd chime in on this subject. The implementation has so much to do with the sonic quality of SE, or the perceived gap in performance between Balanced and SE. Often, an amp is designed to be Balanced (bridged or fully differential) and an opamp is used to provided SE output. In such cases, the Balanced output is often superior as the sonics of the SE output are governed by the opamp (bandwidth, slew rate, etc.). Even in the balanced camp, a well done fully differential implementation has sonic advantages over a well done bridged.
In the SE camp, a good circuit design can outperform a less than stellar balanced circuit design (bridged for fully differential). As with most things audio, everything matters. Most of my gear is balanced, but here I sit enjoying the hell out of my T90's, fed by an SE parafeed Torpedo.
Disclaimer: I'm not an expert by any means - just an avid DIY'er/audiophile. Just sharing what I've learned.