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Does balanced = more power?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I understand the concept and wiring of balanced headphone output/cabling however am a bit confused as to what it does to the power output. 

 

Does running balanced mean the drivers are getting any more power?

post #2 of 17

Yes.

 

Balanced power = +4dBu 1.23 Vrms, unbalanced power = -10dBV  0.316 Vrms. More or less 6dB or twice as loud.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Yes.

 

Balanced power = +4dBu 1.23 Vrms, unbalanced power = -10dBV  0.316 Vrms. More or less 6dB or twice as loud.


Cool, thanks.
post #4 of 17

That's more gain, not more power. More power would have to do with how the power supply is being used and the circuit itself. Depending on load, configuration etc. there isn't an absolute for this but generally, balancing an existing unbalanced circuit will give more power as stated.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post

Yes.

Balanced power = +4dBu 1.23 Vrms, unbalanced power = -10dBV  0.316 Vrms. More or less 6dB or twice as loud.

I'm afraid that has nothing to do with balanced versus unbalanced as it relates to headphone amps. Those are the voltage reference "standards" for pro and consumer audio. It's pretty meaningless for consumer audio as no one really adheres to that standard. I mean, Redbook CD output is 2 VRMS full scale for example.

Balanced versus unbalanced really has nothing particularly to do with power. Sure, if you take two amplifier channels and bridge them together (what much of the headphone industry calls "balanced"), effectively increasing the overall gain by 6dB, you can ideally achieve four times the power you would get using just one channel on its own. But that's utterly meaningless as you can just as well build a non-bridged amp that has 6dB more gain and still get four times more power.

So people need to stop thinking about "balanced" in terms of power. A given amp will deliver a given amount of power into a given load depending on how much power the designer is aiming for, period.

se
post #6 of 17
Without getting into the math of it all...........
If you have a headphone amp with "balanced" outputs and single ended outputs, all else being equal, the balanced (I.e. Bridged) output will output twice as much voltage as the single ended output.
But output current will not increase, it will remain the same.

If you are only looking for more power, balancing is generally more useful for high impedance 'phones, less useful for low impedance cans.

Or you could just get another, more powerful amp..........
Edited by Chris J - 12/27/13 at 8:37am
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Without getting into the math of it all...........
If you have a headphone amp with "balanced" outputs and single ended outputs, all else being equal, the balanced (I.e. Bridged) output will output twice as much voltage as the single ended output.
But output current will not increase, it will remain the same.

Ohm's Law notwithstanding?

I know you don't want to get into the math, but last I looked, I = E/R. biggrin.gif

Quote:
If you are only looking for more power, balancing is generally more useful for high impedance 'phones, less useful for low impedance cans.

Or you could just get another, more powerful amp..........

Bridging is fine if you're dealing with a limited supply, such as with batteries, but beyond that, I see no meaningful benefit except to the companies that are selling all those extra parts due to doubling all the circuitry.

se
Edited by Steve Eddy - 12/27/13 at 9:14am
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

Balanced versus unbalanced really has nothing particularly to do with power. Sure, if you take two amplifier channels and bridge them together (what much of the headphone industry calls "balanced"), effectively increasing the overall gain by 6dB, you can ideally achieve four times the power you would get using just one channel on its own. But that's utterly meaningless as you can just as well build a non-bridged amp that has 6dB more gain and still get four times more power.

Thanks Steve, makes sense. 

post #9 of 17

Kinda related: I often get the feeling that people think different (better) amps will "squeeze more power into the headphones" at a given volume. That is not the case.

No matter if you power headphones with an unbalanced on-board soundcard or balanced headphone amp, or 1000W monoblocks ... the drivers will receive the same amount of power for a given volume level.

 

All the extra gain usually does is increase noise and distortion and reduce the usable volume control range (and many pots have channel balance problems at very low positions).

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

Kinda related: I often get the feeling that people think different (better) amps will "squeeze more power into the headphones" at a given volume. That is not the case.

No matter if you power headphones with an unbalanced on-board soundcard or balanced headphone amp, or 1000W monoblocks ... the drivers will receive the same amount of power for a given volume level.

 

All the extra gain usually does is increase noise and distortion and reduce the usable volume control range (and many pots have channel balance problems at very low positions).


Wow, thank you for saying this. I have been practically fighting people in the HE-400 thread lately, trying to tell them that "more powerful" amps do not put more power, or more current, into the darn headphones at a given volume level. They practically ran me out of town, and told me that Ohm's law is a high school equation that is not applicable in "real life," because there are "more variables." 

:rolleyes:

post #11 of 17

Excellent posts here, and very informative! 

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post


Wow, thank you for saying this. I have been practically fighting people in the HE-400 thread lately, trying to tell them that "more powerful" amps do not put more power, or more current, into the darn headphones at a given volume level. They practically ran me out of town, and told me that Ohm's law is a high school equation that is not applicable in "real life," because there are "more variables." 

rolleyes.gif

More variables can equate to more power for many speaker setups and a few cans, but this can damage pcbs, driver units, or your hearing. Sounds like they have damaged one of those things and felt you didn't deserve to know that. Oh well.

For the OP, more raw power does not equate to a more balanced sound. More balanced equipment might equate to a more balanced sound, but that is not necessarily true, too. It is all on your ears, and you know you need to be careful with that kind of handling.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post


Wow, thank you for saying this. I have been practically fighting people in the HE-400 thread lately, trying to tell them that "more powerful" amps do not put more power, or more current, into the darn headphones at a given volume level. They practically ran me out of town, and told me that Ohm's law is a high school equation that is not applicable in "real life," because there are "more variables." 

" src="http://files.head-fi.org/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif">

 




Wow!
Sounds like the HE-400 guys almost know what they are talking about, BUT DO NOT KNOW HOW TO APPLY IT!

While it's true that there is more to it than Ohm's Law, a more powerful amp does not magically drive more power at the same volume level.
LOL! There is the whole concept of resistive, inductive and capacitive loading, but:
The irony is that the HE-400 is very resistive load, so the power calculations are fairly simple when compared to a headphone with a varying load phase angle (i.e. has a far amount of inductance and capacitance).
.
What exactly is their weird rationale for More Power Is Better?
LOL!
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Wow!
Sounds like the HE-400 guys almost know what they are talking about, BUT DO NOT KNOW HOW TO APPLY IT!

While it's true that there is more to it than Ohm's Law, a more powerful amp does not magically drive more power at the same volume level.
LOL! There is the whole concept of resistive, inductive and capacitive loading, but:
The irony is that the HE-400 is very resistive load, so the power calculations are fairly simple when compared to a headphone with a varying load phase angle (i.e. has a far amount of inductance and capacitance).
.
What exactly is their weird rationale for More Power Is Better?
LOL!


I started a thread about my claims. Perhaps you'd like to chime in? I'm interested in learning, if I'm making any mistakes here:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/697974/volume-power-voltage-current-and-amplifier-output-impedance-in-planar-headphones

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


I started a thread about my claims. Perhaps you'd like to chime in? I'm interested in learning, if I'm making any mistakes here:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/697974/volume-power-voltage-current-and-amplifier-output-impedance-in-planar-headphones

 



Much as I detest the Sound Science Forum I will post in your thread! LOL
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