Confused: how does a 4-pin XLR balanced output to headphones work?
Aug 7, 2017 at 9:50 PM Post #16 of 22

buke9

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They got Beta right on visual quality but people wanted more recording time with crappy quality so VHS was the norm but don't think your going to change the minds of thousands of headphones out there to change their terminations.
 
Aug 7, 2017 at 9:53 PM Post #17 of 22

gswilder

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So let me ask.... my primary "rig" is the Sony TAZH1ES and Focal Utoptia headphones. Is a balanced connection really going to make a difference for 5-6 foot cable? Should I just got with standard 1/4 inch cable terminations?

Thanks in advance.
Greg
 
Aug 7, 2017 at 10:04 PM Post #18 of 22

buke9

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I don't know is the quick answer. The other is most balanced amps almost doubles the power of the single ended but not all. Does that mean it is better that would be you to decide. Balanced was brought about for long cable runs for microphones to get rid of noise . Is it better? I think that would be determined by the amp and headphone myself. Most think when they heard the added power it sounds better and for the most part it does. To what extent that is subjective.
 
Aug 7, 2017 at 10:12 PM Post #19 of 22

gswilder

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I don't know is the quick answer. The other is most balanced amps almost doubles the power of the single ended but not all. Does that mean it is better that would be you to decide. Balanced was brought about for long cable runs for microphones to get rid of noise . Is it better? I think that would be determined by the amp and headphone myself. Most think when they heard the added power it sounds better and for the most part it does. To what extent that is subjective.

Thanks for the advice. I guess I am one of those always searching for audio nirvana. In the end, I wonder how much some of these smaller things matter. I know that aftermarket cables is an ongoing debate on here. For me, I got the Moon Audio cable for my Focal Utopia, because I wanted a shorter cable. More than thinking it would make the sound better.

Maybe to be safe, I should go with 1/4 or XLR. Thanks
Greg
 
Aug 7, 2017 at 10:20 PM Post #20 of 22

buke9

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I'm not a big cable guy even though I've heard the difference in some cables just not willing to drop almost the money for the headphones on a pair of cables but that is me. I don't begrudge anyone that does I would just spend money on headphones or amps than the cables.
 
Aug 8, 2017 at 5:34 PM Post #21 of 22

obobskivich

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I'm not a big cable guy even though I've heard the difference in some cables just not willing to drop almost the money for the headphones on a pair of cables but that is me. I don't begrudge anyone that does I would just spend money on headphones or amps than the cables.

Before replying anywhere else, I'd like to say: I very much agree with this sentiment as well. I've heard the benefit of better shielding on some analog cables, but still wouldn't go out and spend thousands (or millions? ha) on a cable or something like that. Some folks do - great for them.

I have the Sony TAZH1ES DAC/AMP and love it.

I have been wondering about the 4.4mm Pentaconn cabling/connectors, and the long term viability of that "system". I've got a couple Moon Audio cables with the Pentaconn termination. But I have other amps without the 4.4mm Pentaconn. So I am going to have to get a 4.4mm Pentacoon to XLR4 or 1/4 adaptor. (which probably doesn't exist right now.)

So do you think others Headphone amp manufacturers will adopt the Sony Pentaconn?

My guess is, like buke9 said - probably not. New connector formats are hard to "sell" because not only do you have to get manufacturers and designers onboard with changing their design/manufacturing you also have to deal with the ocean of equipment that you're trying to replace - TRS for headphones has been around since at least the 1950s, its a very well entrenched "standard." Look at how long it takes for USB changes to occur, and that's with computer hardware that has a much shorter lifecycle than audio electronics, and then extrapolate how well you think a new connector standard may take off. That said, if all of your current gear supports those connections, why not use it?

So what is your suggestion on cable terminations? 1/4 inch? Or XLR4?

1/4" (6.35mm) is stereo, "single ended" - XLR4 (or 2x XLR3) is "balanced." The vast majority of equipment that plug into headphones will do so via conventional TRS (either 1/4" or 1/8" (3.5mm)) so if you're after wide-ranging compatibility, especially with older gear and/or studio gear where there's less likely support for "balanced headphones" then I'd stick to TRS connections. If memory serves there was a period when various re-cable places would do 2x XLR3 or XLR4 and then include an XLR to TRS adapter, that would also turn the headphones back into single ended (they're just tying both - sides to one connection at the plug; a lot of higher end headphones are already wired this way anyways) which allows you to use a balanced amplifier, but also plug into other equipment that may not offer those connections.

So let me ask.... my primary "rig" is the Sony TAZH1ES and Focal Utoptia headphones. Is a balanced connection really going to make a difference for 5-6 foot cable? Should I just got with standard 1/4 inch cable terminations?

Thanks in advance.
Greg

I don't know is the quick answer. The other is most balanced amps almost doubles the power of the single ended but not all. Does that mean it is better that would be you to decide. Balanced was brought about for long cable runs for microphones to get rid of noise . Is it better? I think that would be determined by the amp and headphone myself. Most think when they heard the added power it sounds better and for the most part it does. To what extent that is subjective.

"Balanced headphones" is not the same thing as "balanced audio connections" at all. "Balanced" in the world of headphones should correctly be called "differential drive" instead. I provided more explanation/detail earlier in this thread (its a very old post, so you'd be forgiven for not noticing it): https://head-fi.org/threads/confuse...tput-to-headphones-work.830205/#post-13119478


Thanks for the advice. I guess I am one of those always searching for audio nirvana. In the end, I wonder how much some of these smaller things matter. I know that aftermarket cables is an ongoing debate on here. For me, I got the Moon Audio cable for my Focal Utopia, because I wanted a shorter cable. More than thinking it would make the sound better.

Maybe to be safe, I should go with 1/4 or XLR. Thanks
Greg

If compatibility is your ultimate goal, you can't beat TRS. However if you have equipment that does differential/"balanced" drive, and want to hook it up, having an XLR4 or 2x XLR3 connection and then an adapter back to TRS would give you the best of both worlds since you'd have compatibility with your differential equipment and also be able to plug into conventional TRS outputs with said adapter. It looks like Moon Audio actually makes such an adapter, here: https://www.moon-audio.com/black-dragon-extension-adapter-cable-v2.html (the first picture is exactly what I'm talking about - the headphone would then have 2x XLR3 and plug into that, and become TRS "single ended" again for plugging into a TRS jack on most gear, and the adapter comes out for plugging into balanced - it looks like there's lots of customization options for this adapter too, so you could probably have them do it with XLR4 and slim it down a good deal).

Note that I'm not at all getting into the debate about "does it (be it a cable, balanced vs SE, connector types, etc) really sound better and open up the heavens and let God come down and sing in your ear and is it thus worth the money?" Ultimately "value" is something you have to figure out for yourself, and sound improvements may or may not be had (or may or may not be noticeable/significant enough to care about/etc) - but there's no absolute requirement from a technical perspective to go one way or another on this, and it can be done in a way that doesn't defeat compatibility.
 

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