Adventures in Balanced Cables for IEMs
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BRCMRGN

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I've had several IEMs with balanced cabling for a while - HIFIMAN RE262, RE272 and RE600. I didn't have an amp or player with balanced output, so I just used the included TRRS-to-TRS adapters. Then along came the HIFIMAN HM-901. I go it with all of the different amp cards, but so far, I having so much fun with the balanced card that I haven't spent much time with the others. The balanced amp card is powerful and it sounds great on the above IEMs. I had recently gotten the Audeze LCD-X and LCD 2.2 and one comes with a balanced cable and it's an inexpensive option on the other. The HM-901 drives them easily. Same story for the HIFIMAN HE500 and HE400 and Mr. Speakers Alpha Dog. For the Alpha Dog and Audeze phones, I need an adapter to go from 4-pin XLR to HIFIMAN TRRS and that led me to Moon audio. They have HIFIMAN TRRS as an available termination on all of their cables, so I went a little crazy. I ordered the XLR-TRRS adapter and a Silver Dragon MMCX to TRSS cable to use with my Shure SE846 & SE535LTD, Westone UM50, UE900. Then of course, I had to get a Silver Dragon cable for Westone/Earsonics to TRRS. And then, Fitear to TRRS. Then balanced cables for the Sennheiser HD800 amd HD600/650.You get the idea. The cables are great and they all sound wonderful with the HM-901.
 
I am a big fan of the Westone W4 and when the W4R was on sale for $300, I picked up 2, one for regular use and one for use with a balanced TRRS cable.  One small problem with all of this - the HM-901 is not very portable, so when the HM-700 player was released, I ordered one. It comes with the balanced version of the RE400 and while it only has 32GB of storage, it at least gives me a way to use all the balanced IEMs and still be very portable. I was just now listening to a balanced W4R with the HM-700 and it is is a very good pairing. The instrument placement is very solid and precise, and the whole presentation is rich and clean, with excellent timbre. 
 
Eventually, I will have to do some direct balanced vs. single-ended comparisons (same IEM and player), but so far, I'm very pleased with performance of the HIFIMAN players with a wide variety of balanced IEMs.
 
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jonathane40

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I've had several IEMs with balanced cabling for a while - HIFIMAN RE262, RE272 and RE600. I didn't have an amp or player with balanced output, so I just used the included TRRS-to-TRS adapters. Then along came the HIFIMAN HM-901. I go it with all of the different amp cards, but so far, I having so much fun with the balanced card that I haven't spent much time with the others. The balanced amp card is powerful and it sounds great on the above IEMs. I had recently gotten the Audeze LCD-X and LCD 2.2 and one comes with a balanced cable and it's an inexpensive option on the other. The HM-901 drives them easily. Same story for the HIFIMAN HE500 and HE400 and Mr. Speakers Alpha Dog. For the Alpha Dog and Audeze phones, I need an adapter to go from 4-pin XLR to HIFIMAN TRRS and that led me to Moon audio. They have HIFIMAN TRRS as an available termination on all of their cables, so I went a little crazy. I ordered the XLR-TRRS adapter and a Silver Dragon MMCX to TRSS cable to use with my Shure SE846 & SE535LTD, Westone UM50, UE900. Then of course, I had to get a Silver Dragon cable for Westone/Earsonics to TRRS. And then, Fitear to TRRS. Then balanced cables for the Sennheiser HD800 amd HD600/650.You get the idea. The cables are great and they all sound wonderful with the HM-901.

I am a big fan of the Westone W4 and when the W4R was on sale for $300, I picked up 2, one for regular use and one for use with a balanced TRRS cable. One small problem with all of this - the HM-901 is not very portable, so when the HM-700 player was released, I ordered one. It comes with the balanced version of the RE400 and while it only has 32GB of storage, it at least gives me a way to use all the balanced IEMs and still be very portable. I was just now listening to a balanced W4R with the HM-700 and it is is a very good pairing. The instrument placement is very solid and precise, and the whole presentation is rich and clean, with excellent timbre.

Eventually, I will have to do some direct balanced vs. single-ended comparisons (same IEM and player), but so far, I'm very pleased with performance of the HIFIMAN players with a wide variety of balanced IEMs.
Are you still using the W4? If so, was it really worth it using them in balanced mode? I’m planing on getting this earphones to use them balanced with my new Sony DAP and am wondering if there would really be a sound advantage going balanced. It will cost about $200 to just get the balance cable so I keep wondering if it’s worth it! Thanks!
 
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BRCMRGN

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I do still user the W4 and W4R. I have several balanced cables that I use on the W4R, but the gains on the W4R are nowhere near as much as on some other IEMs. Harder to drive IEMS are usually better on balanced and some players (like Pono) are much better on balanced output. Knowing what I know now, I probably wouldn't buy a balanced cable just to use with the W4R unless it was for a Pono player.
 
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