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What does a balanced cable do?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am fairly new in this whole head-fi experience and I am curious about balanced cables. I know they are supposed to improve sound but what exactly do they do to improve the sound? 

post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 

Can anybody explain?

post #3 of 10

Headphone cables or interconnect cables?

 

Just the cables or a balanced circuit & cable?

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well I supposed the balance circuit too because I'm guessing that's what makes the balanced cables work. I'm just wondering what is the benefit/sound improvement from using balanced cables (obviously with an amp with a balanced input) over using standard 3.5 or 6.3mm cables.

post #5 of 10

ok I'll take a stab at this. I did some reading on it when determining whether to get the CLAS -R or -dB. Ultimately went with the classic CLAS but thats besides the point. So for headphones that support balanced input, Sennheiser 600, 650, 700,800, LCD-2s, 3s, and many more, it basically changes the way it powers the drives making a more 'balanced setup', which, in theory, sounds better, although for many it is not distinguishable. Also some of the JH CIEMs support balanced input if I recall correctly.  Basically, it should make for a higher quality sound with less distortion, in practice the difference is sound is likely near-inaudible to the human ear.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks Matt.

 

It is interesting though if the difference is pretty much inaudible why on earth would anyone spend $200+ on one of the balanced cables from Sennheiser?

post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kdavis71 View Post
 

Thanks Matt.

 

It is interesting though if the difference is pretty much inaudible why on earth would anyone spend $200+ on one of the balanced cables from Sennheiser?

never underestimate the power of million dollar marketing campaigns, the desire for audiophiles to 'improve' their rigs even if the SQ difference is not discernible, and aesthetics. Some of ALO's cables, for example. are beautiful pieces of not only technology but in a sense art. Those woven cables do have an appeal to them. Some people will swear that you get better conductivity with cables such as that, which is true, but there again can you hear it? Don't count on it.

 

On an unrelated note 24bit audio is also a marketing ploy. In theory 16bit doesn't cover the entire theoretical hearing spectrum, but in practice it does. The only reasons studios use 24bit or even 32bit audio is to make clipping easier, but anything beyond 16bit has always been, and will always be, overkill given the biological constraints of the human ear. People say they can hear the difference, that makes about much sense as claiming to be able to see ultraviolet rays.

 

Hope that helps! Sorry for the 'rant' :)

post #8 of 10
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kdavis71 View Post
 

Well I supposed the balance circuit too because I'm guessing that's what makes the balanced cables work. I'm just wondering what is the benefit/sound improvement from using balanced cables (obviously with an amp with a balanced input) over using standard 3.5 or 6.3mm cables.

 

HeadRoom has an excellent FAQ and series of articles outlining why someone might might prefer a fully balanced setup.

 

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/balanced-drive-faq.php

http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/art-i-balanced-vs-unbalanced.php

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank's everyone for repying. It seems like it just gets rid of a little distortion that unless you have a really trained ear, you'd never notice anyways.

 

Idk, guess I'll just have to listen at a meet or something some day and see if I can tell a difference.

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