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SE846 + AK240 Balanced out.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I think this is the right place to post this question. I have an AK240 and I have a pair of SE846's.

 

I would like to use a balanced cable but have some reservations and questions.

 

Several custom cable manufacturers are now offering 2.5mm TRRS jack termination for AK240 compatibility and that can be as cheap as an extra $5. My understanding however is that in order to have a proper balanced cable, you don't just need to change the terminator but also the wiring.

 

Q1) Am I correct to say that a single ended IEM cable will have two main signal wires (left and right) and a common ground that would be wired up to the shielding of the cable?

 

Q2) If I am correct about the above, then surely moving from single ended to balanced required adding an extra signal wire to each side and in the case of 4 pin balanced the shielding would not be used? Surely somebody wiring up a 4-pin TRRS cable to what is normally a single ended cable would not use the shielding to send one of the signals?

 

Q3) Therefore, how can it only cost a small amount of money to change from a single ended to a balanced jack?

 

Q4) How can I be sure that the provider isn't simply jumping on the 'balanced' band wagon and hacking the balanced connector on?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks

post #2 of 12

I'm not sure about the SE846, but exactly how to go about it depends on the cable. On some, you get four conductors only up to the Y-junction, and from there on the two ground cables are wired together, so from the Y-junction to the plug, there would only be three conductors. This is the kind of cable that needs to be rewired, if at least up to the Y-junction, if not all the way up to the shells.

post #3 of 12

to start you assume alot of cables being made the same with only 3 wires from 3.5mm plug to y. a good rule is to research what the cable your using is actually made of.

 

a1. dont assume anything ever. if your cable has 4 distinct wires then it will work fine to change plug but makes more sense to get all 4 wires the same ie: aftermarket cables. the shared/common ground is generally tied at 3.5mm plug but yes some will only use 3 wires then splice at y. hence getting aftermarket you'll be eliminating that issue entirely if its 4 braided wires to ends like most are.

 

a2  again it depends on what original cable is made of as not all cables are alike. i wouldn't use any stock cable unless specifically asked to as they generally have small awg wires. 

 

a3 if original cable has 4 separate wires it can be as simple as adding plug but i think it might cost more than $5 with return shipping.

 

a4 you'll have to ask provider to tell you exactly what they plan on doing.

 

the safest way to ensure the best cable is just buying an aftermarket cable with 4 separately braided wires from any cable maker its not rocket science.

i would think almost all cable makers who braid 4 wires can add a 2.5mm 4 pole plug on to the order for $5 or less probably no charge since your ordering a custom cable from them.

post #4 of 12
I had Moon audio make me a 1/4 and a 2.5 balanced cable for my HD 800. I ordered there Black dragon V2 cable , and he worked his magic. Would love to also do something with my IE-800, so I can listen in balanced mode.
post #5 of 12

Open question:

 

Do you think that a balanced cable for IEM's would really improve the sound?  While I haven't heard a balanced HP solution I can see how it may improve the SQ.  I'm struggling with balanced IEMs.  What do you think and does anyone have experience with a solution?

 

Thanks.

post #6 of 12
I have only listened through balanced on my HD-800, there are several guys running balanced iem cables , and some even using balanced amps, they say it up the sound quality greatly in some cases, other folks may only pick up small changes. There's some guys using balanced iem cables over on the AK-240 thread.
post #7 of 12

Thanks for the reply.  After dropping my life's savings on the AK-240 I think I will postpone going balanced for now and just listen to the great SQ coming out of the 240.:L3000:

post #8 of 12
You ain't lying, I had to sell one of my kidneys & the dog to get my AK-240
post #9 of 12

All IEM cables have four conductors, because it is a double sided cable (2 wires go to each earpiece, this is mandatory).  It isn't like a Beats headphone cable with a minijack on one earcup, and hidden wiring in the headband running the signal to the other earcup - you could do that cable with 3 wires.  Balanced just means that instead of the ground being shared (2 conductors, L- and R-, going to the ground of the single ended mini plug) there are separate grounds for left/right channels.  So it's a matter of a simple retermination.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootermafia View Post
 

All IEM cables have four conductors, because it is a double sided cable (2 wires go to each earpiece, this is mandatory).  It isn't like a Beats headphone cable with a minijack on one earcup, and hidden wiring in the headband running the signal to the other earcup - you could do that cable with 3 wires.  Balanced just means that instead of the ground being shared (2 conductors, L- and R-, going to the ground of the single ended mini plug) there are separate grounds for left/right channels.  So it's a matter of a simple retermination.

 

No, there is a possibility that some IEMs merge into a three conductor cable at the Y-junction, and it's not usually easy to count the conductors without taking the plug apart first. My cheaper IEMs do, but that doesn't mean that paying more money means it's four conductors all the way through from the ear piece to the plug.

post #11 of 12

I have the Shure SE 846 IEM's and was thinking of upgrading to something like the Moon Audio Sliver Dragons or possibly the Double Helix cables in sliver.  You mention " There's some guys using balanced iem cables over on the AK-240 thread"  Could you be kind enough to please point out some of these references?   Before I drop $ 399 usd on cabling I want some feedback between the balanced vs unbalanced input on the AK240 and cable choices and experiences.  Thank you Speedracer1

post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by speedracer1 View Post
 

I have the Shure SE 846 IEM's and was thinking of upgrading to something like the Moon Audio Sliver Dragons or possibly the Double Helix cables in sliver.  You mention " There's some guys using balanced iem cables over on the AK-240 thread"  Could you be kind enough to please point out some of these references?   Before I drop $ 399 usd on cabling I want some feedback between the balanced vs unbalanced input on the AK240 and cable choices and experiences.  Thank you Speedracer1

 

Here are my impressions

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/704698/the-astell-and-kern-ak240-impressions-thread/645#post_10442299

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