Best balanced cable for hd650 around 200$?
Mar 14, 2006 at 6:42 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 46

BrianS

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What are your opinions on the best balanced cable for hd650 for around 200 or less? what are the benefits of running balanced? I am considering a balanced setup.
On the other hand I am running a mobius cable that has been slightly chewed on by my cat when I wasnt looking and stepped on, and a chair has made it flatter in some other areas -- do you think it would be damaged sonically? does Zu upgrade their cable to balanced connections for a fee?

Thank you
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 9:29 AM Post #2 of 46

RnB180

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IMO one can enjoy a single ended set up as much as a balanced set up.

When you speak of balanced you really are taking it up to audiophile OCD territory lol.

Once you start balancing starts hitting the catastrophic price points. Can you afford a balanced rig? because if you go balanced you have to have everything balanced to enjoy it fully.
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 11:53 AM Post #3 of 46

InSides

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Assuming the OP will continue to use his current source, the EMU 1212m is balanced, so the source side is covered. However, a balanced amp can set you back for quite a bit...
 
Mar 14, 2006 at 7:19 PM Post #4 of 46

Alwayswantmore

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Hi Brian,

If you do an advanced search on the word "balanced" in "titles only" you'll come up with a number of posts over the past few years. Even the posts on amps often contain comments on cables.

I've spent a number of hours researching this same topic, and came up with the usual suspects: Zu, Headphile, Moon, etc..

I wanted the warmth of copper, so I ordered Moon's Blue Dragon which is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow. Headphile cables also seem to get good feedback for the price.

I've bookmarked this thread to watch your progress on this topic. In a few days I should have initial feedback posted to my Journal (link in sig).

BTW: Both Headphile and Moon fit comfortably into your price range.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 3:12 AM Post #5 of 46

grandenigma1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by RnB180
IMO one can enjoy a single ended set up as much as a balanced set up.

When you speak of balanced you really are taking it up to audiophile OCD territory lol.

Once you start balancing starts hitting the catastrophic price points. Can you afford a balanced rig? because if you go balanced you have to have everything balanced to enjoy it fully.




Quote:

Originally Posted by InSides
Assuming the OP will continue to use his current source, the EMU 1212m is balanced, so the source side is covered. However, a balanced amp can set you back for quite a bit...


That is not necessarily true... You can get a Dynamid or balanced M3 for at or less than the price of a HR-2 / GS-1 / PPX3.


I think sending in the Zu for retermination is the best bet. Your only other options are to have someone make you one. But since you already have the Zu and apparently like it then that is what I would suggest.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 3:22 AM Post #6 of 46

RnB180

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Quote:

Originally Posted by grandenigma1
That is not necessarily true... You can get a Dynamid or balanced M3 for at or less than the price of a HR-2 / GS-1 / PPX3.


I think sending in the Zu for retermination is the best bet. Your only other options are to have someone make you one. But since you already have the Zu and apparently like it then that is what I would suggest.



800-900 is still a big investment.
I think Brian should listen to the amps first before he decides balanced is right for him.

Balanced and single ended.. Two different sounds. It does not necessarily reflect whether the listener will prefer the balanced sound. Also any perceived improvements from single ended to balanced is different from listener to listener.

It also does not mean a low cost balanced (place $1000k amp here) will be sonically superior then the single ended upper tier amps you mentioned in your post above to the "listener". thats a subjective decision.

both balanced and unbalanced can hit very high performance levels and sound quality.
I ve listened to a pair of balanced 650s before, and a pair of single ended 650s, both two different sounds, it wasn't a question of what sound was better, it was which sound I thought I would prefer.

Balanced headphone set ups should be listened to first before deciding. All this balanced talk sounds more like bragging rights more than anything, IMHO. I think balanced headphone amplification was introduced as a high end audiophile rig, then people sought a cheaper alternative to what was offered afterwards, the headphones themselves were designed for single ended use
smily_headphones1.gif
. But as with the law of audiophilia, it gets extreme
smily_headphones1.gif


and remember balanced rigs dont stop at the amplifier, each succeeding headphone you get afterwards has to be modified $$$$$$, new XLR interconnects need to be purchased. Single ended amps mentioned above do not require this so that is the trade off.. Even for the budget conscience balance rigs still require a lot of money to support.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 3:25 AM Post #7 of 46

agile_one

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Unless the Zu Cable has 4 conductors, it would not be easily upgradable to balanced operation. The guys at Zu will know.

I'll second the Moon Blue Dragon balanced, as I have one, and am very happy with it. Only downside is it's a bit stiff, but you should be used to that from the Zu.

Just be sure to get the correct polarity on the XLR plugs for your application. Pro DACS like the Lavry DA10 or Benchmark Dac1 will have male jacks, so you will need female XLR's for them. Most balanced headphone amps follow the convention started by the Blockhead of having female jacks, so you would need male XLR's for them.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 5:37 AM Post #8 of 46

BrianS

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oh, thanks guys for the responses. gave me lots of good reasons to think about. i would be using the balanced out of the lavry directly to my headphones bypassing my singlepower single ended amp. since you say the 1212m is balanced wouldnt the whole setup be balanced or are there special "balanced" headphones required?
if it is only a matter of taste i probably would prefer to use my singlepower amp more so it doesnt go to waste and plus its an easy volume control for my headphones plus i can tube roll plus it would be less expensive possibly in the long run.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:07 AM Post #9 of 46

RnB180

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Quote:

Originally Posted by BrianS
oh, thanks guys for the responses. gave me lots of good reasons to think about. i would be using the balanced out of the lavry directly to my headphones bypassing my singlepower single ended amp. since you say the 1212m is balanced wouldnt the whole setup be balanced or are there special "balanced" headphones required?
if it is only a matter of taste i probably would prefer to use my singlepower amp more so it doesnt go to waste and plus its an easy volume control for my headphones plus i can tube roll plus it would be less expensive possibly in the long run.



Dont get me wrong, there are a lot of options, the lower end balanced amplifiers Im sure sound great, how much of a jump it is from a single ended amplifier in the same price point? not sure.

You start getting to the hardcore balanced rigs the improvements would most likely be larger, but so is the costs.

Not to rule out balanced applications entirely, you should give a listen to a balanced amp that is within your budget and compare it to your current singled ended amp and you decide if it is something you would like to invest in.

any full sized headphones can be balanced I suppose, whether the headphone is worth balancing is the issue.

cheers
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:17 AM Post #10 of 46

BrianS

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well im going to my first meet saturday i hope to learn a lot more about this. the main questions are nos, or oversampling dac and if i want a truly balanced out on the dac or rca out or both.
just trying to not pay for something i probably wont use
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:23 AM Post #11 of 46

RnB180

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meets are really difficult to conduct critial listening sessions. You'll be in an unfamiliar environment, you wont be as relaxed an comfortable as you are at home, a lot of ambient noise and chatter.

It should give you a small taste of what to expect however.

bring some familiar cd's with you and give it a whirl in a balanced rig.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:39 AM Post #12 of 46

Alwayswantmore

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Quote:

Originally Posted by BrianS
well im going to my first meet saturday i hope to learn a lot more about this. the main questions are nos, or oversampling dac and if i want a truly balanced out on the dac or rca out or both.
just trying to not pay for something i probably wont use



Hey Brian,

I did a web search on EMU 1212m. They claim to have balanced out, and they have XLR plugs, but I could not tell if it was truly a balanced source. Others more familiar with your DAC may be able to give you a definitive answer. If it is truly balanced, it will have four channels + and - left and + and - right. On top of that the signal will be inverted for the - on each channel.

If you do a search on the word "balanced" in "titles only" you will find several threads that discuss balanced technology.

You asked if the phone need to be balanced. In the case of HD-650s the answer is no. But they do need to be either recabled or reterminated with XLR plugs.

I also spent considerable time looking for user comments on 650s balanced. Almost every comment I found was very favorable to going balanced. In a few days I should be able to share first hand experience on single ended vs balanced.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:41 AM Post #13 of 46

RnB180

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Alwayswantmore
I also spent considerable time looking for user comments on 650s balanced. Almost every comment I found was very favorable to going balanced. In a few days I should be able to share first hand experience on single ended vs balanced.



oooh, Id be interested in reading your findings. How will you be conducting the comparisons? What kind of equipment will you be using?

From my understanding, 650s on one of headrooms balanced amps is a dramatic difference. But then the headroom balanced amps and max dacs are very high performing amplifiers. the max dac reclocks the incoming digital signal and sends them to the dac, fully balances it to sends it to the amplifier section in a single chasis. the entire thing is made with very high performing parts and it is entire resolved in fully balanced mode the entire way up to the headphones.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 6:58 AM Post #14 of 46

Alwayswantmore

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Hey RnB180,

Check out the links in my sig (my journal and the will this work?). I plan to run directly from my Wadia 830 (CDP). In my journal you will find a dialog between JaZZ and me where we explored the feasibility of this option.

Specs for the 830 are also posted in one of the threads, and they are very similar to dedicated headphone amps (ie low impedance with high voltage).

I could not find anyone else doing this, so I really don't know how well this config stacks up to dedicated amps. I did however sell my Aria after discovering the Wadia was capable of driving headphones, and with the exception of crossfeed, felt it sounded better without the Aria.

The Wadia has both RCA and XLR / balanced outs, so it will be very easy to do A/B comparisons. I also plan to attend a meet on 4/1 where I hope to gather additional input from HD-650 users.

Again this is all new, but I am hoping for good results.
 
Mar 15, 2006 at 7:08 AM Post #15 of 46

RnB180

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Alwayswantmore
Hey RnB180,

Check out the links in my sig (my journal and the will this work?). I plan to run directly from my Wadia 830 (CDP). In my journal you will find a dialog between JaZZ and me where we explored the feasibility of this option.

.



I just read the thread, you will be using a balanced RCA out with an unbalanced Y adapter? the return signal will be merged as one for both left and right via adapter.
 

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