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HD800 and LCD-2 vs Auralic Taurus

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I currently own the HD800 and LCD-2 (love them both). Up until now I have been running them from the Auralic Taurus amp from the 1/4" jack. The Taurus have both jack output and 4-pin XLR. Since I am a bit lazy I would like to have one connected to the XLR and the other to the jack out for easy switching.

 

The question is, should I run the HD800 balanced or the LCD-2? What I have concluded so far is that I would get almost the same power available for the LCD-2 with jack and balanced, the HD800 get 0,5w @ 300ohm from the jack out while with the balanced out almost 2w.

 

So LCD-2 1/4" jack and HD800 XLR out?

 

Finally, would it be better to get balanced cables for both with respect to sound quality?

post #2 of 3

If you go balanced keep in mind to get any advantage doing it you have to go fully balanced from DAC, Amp, and headphones.  In the end when I did a ton of balanced testing with my BUDA the only difference I heard was a +6dB gain in volume.  There may be measurable differences and benefits in long cable runs, but in the end I did not hear a difference and believe me I tried.

 

Do you need more power for your headphones?  Is the volume not high enough on your current setup?

 

The balanced route is more for the hobbyist in your than the technical listener.

 

Before those opinions start popping up about balanced and SE setups know that I have tested both and many balanced amps designers can tell you the technical differences, but the whole "must go balanced" phase is a thing of the past for the most part.

 

If you want more power get a WA3 or WA6-SE tube amp and drive your HD800 that way instead of going balanced just to end up realizing that it did not change the sound at all.

 

If you want one of those setups that looks, feels, and you can write home about go ahead and go fully balanced.

 

Asked another way what is the loudest level you listen to in dB and what output power would you need to achieve that loudness.  It is not going to be anywhere near 500mW.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your reply NA Blur. Primarily it is mostly for the ease of use I want to have one connected with XLR. I am considering getting a DAC with balanced out ( Parasound ZDAC is the top contender at the moment) in the near future but that's not to get balanced outs, just to upgrade from my Xonar STX card.

 

I rarely listen at very high volumes, typically in the range of 70-80db, so the 500mw available is probably more than enough in any case. Never heard any clipping or major distortion but I never listen past 12 o'clock on the Taurus. If the need to blow some eardrums occurs I can always crank it up with the LCDs.

 

Just placed an order for the balanced cables for the LCD-2. They are quite reasonably priced compared to the Sennheiser cables. So far in my hifi career I have never gotten blown away by upgrading to fancy high end cables so I assume I will get the same results as you with comparing XLR vs jack.

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