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Balanced DAC/AMP with EQ preamp?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by Chapekja, May 31, 2019.
  1. Chapekja

    I'm wondering if I can run a female xlr to male RCA from a balanced dac (which I don't own yet) into my preamp/eq, then run, from the preamp, a male RCA to male XLR on my thx aaa 789?

    Will this accomplish the same thing as a xlr cable from dac to amp in theory, or will the RCA middle ground with the EQ/preamp make this not worth doing?

    And while I have you here, any recommendations for balanced amps under 280 USD?

    As always thank you thank you in advance for any and all help!
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Can't see the point of buying a balanced DAC, if your going to run an un-balanced connection somewhere between the DAC and the amp
    I would say to skip on the pre-amp/EQ, run a balanced connection straight from the DAC to the amp
    Assuming your using a computer as the audio source, better to just use the EQ that comes with whatever program you use on the PC, to play audio.
  3. Chapekja
    Okay, yeah that was what I was planning on doing if it didn't work out.

    I really like my external EQ, it really makes the M1060's sound amazing.

    Any value in running a balanced versus 1/4" connection from the THX 789 if the remainder of the circuit is not balanced. (I know balanced can supply more power but I have no problems driving the M1060's unbalanced).
  4. curentatu
  5. Davesrose
    Even if your amp is unbalanced, there are advantages of using a DAC's XLR connections to an unbalanced amp. For many years, my setup was using a Benchmark DAC with Canare XLR to RCA adapter to run to my SE Single Power tube amp. I noticed Benchmark did have a disclaimer about using inferior XLR adapters that might short the third pin with ground wire, but I think in some systems there's still power benefits with using XLR outputs (into unbalanced). I've recently gotten a fully balanced amp that lets me go XLR with the Benchmark and balanced headphones. Now when it comes to having an amp that's also balanced, of course you're going to have the best power optimization keeping everything balanced. I haven't heard the 789 yet (demand so artificially inflated), but I've read some have said best option for it is input XLR output SE? I also read it's not really a true balanced circuit, so there you go. I'm guessing it's still about power: best optimization being balanced in and balanced out you get its full 6 watts (lowest impedance). Given the rave reviews, I'm sure it's still great with SE in and out. If I could buy one at the Massdrop price, I would like to try it with my equipment. Me thinks it would be very similar to my Benchmark's headphone output (or iCan SE solid state mode). If I got the chance to also try the Benchmark HPA4: which is the highest end THX headphone amp, that would be a fair comparison between linear headphone amps.
  6. Chapekja
    It's just a mini vacuum tube amp from Amazon. Brings a lot of life to the M1060's and for 60 bucks (all in for amp and replacement tubes) an easy buy.

    I went with the dilvpoetry brand (on Amazon) based off reviews and aesthetics but the hardware amongst the different mini tube amps is very similar. The key is rolling voshkod tubes which definitely made a difference, particularly w string instruments.

    As far as settings go I have the treble essentially max'd and the bass is maybe 50-60% of full. I also use software to neutralize the frequency response of my M1060s and then control my high/low end to my ear's preference externally.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  7. bflat
    RME ADI-2 DAC has balanced output and EQ built in.
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    So it's not a pre-amp/EQ, I'm assuming it's a low cost (made in China) tube headphone amplifier, and as a side function, that comes with a line-output (pre-amp) and EQ settings?
    So you the sound of the M1060 plugged into the low cost tube amp, better then the M1060 plugged into the THX AAA 789 ?
  9. glitch39
    Stay SE from DAC to your EQ/pre. If you really want a balanced amp, there are some that will accept SE inputs and internally convert to balanced then amplify
  10. Chapekja
    Currently I have modi multibit (also own Geshelli enog pro 2) --> low cost tube amp w/ voshkods--> THX 789 --> SE to M1060s currently
    My real question is if it would serve any benefit to run the above setup balanced (using hybrid cables through the low cost tube amp).

    I really enjoy the M1060s with the mini tube amp and unbalanced setup, more than running Geshelli enog pro 2/THX 789 balanced without the amp, just wondering if there would be any benefit to running balanced cables with an unbalanced low cost tube amp in the middle
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019

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