Hi there. I think this is where differences in individuals hearing come in to play. My ears are 48 very hard years old and I think they are simply not as sensitive as yours which is probably why I have to have the volume turned up more and don't experience the imbalance issues that you have. Also I think what I am listening with is not as sensitive as your equipment. I can totally understand where your coming from in balanced mode, it does require quite a bit less volume than single ended mode in my experience. I wonder what amp would be able to do what the blackbird and ALO do but with a much lower noise floor and lower gain for the more sensitive IEM's? As to the bit rates, There really is no difference of note between the lossless files in my experience but I find enough with lesser rates not to use them. If I was pushed and if it was a good day and nice and quite and on very few recordings I would say there is a tiny bit more air and space to the music between ALAC and AIFF but it is so small and fleeting that it really does not matter. I guess its just that my rig as it is now just digs so much information out that hard drive space being so cheap and I had time on my hands then why not re rip it all totally uncompressed, who knows what the CLAS will be like if they end up making a balanced version, then maybe the difference would be greater. But most certainly there is a difference in emotion, texture and dynamics between 320k and lossless/AIFF even to these tired old ears to warrant having uncompressed files. I am glad you have found the RX an upgrade, I think as I said at the end of my last post. Between all four we can all have our own personal audio nirvana. For me it is not about better or worse, just different but all good different!