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Do earbuds need balanced output?

  1. Thomasl
    Will balanced output negatively cause over-amplification, or will it positively cause bigger stage, dynamic?
  2. yong_shun
    So far I never heard of balanced output will cause any over-amplification. I think bigger soundstage and dynamic is true. The signal is cleaner as well.
  3. onevstheworld
    It depends on your gear. Balanced amps do tend to have higher power output compared to single ended, so if you have very sensitive IEMs and a powerful amp, you can run into a problem where your volume knob has a tiny usable range before it becomes too loud.
  4. Oscar-HiFi
    It all depends on the gear you are using. To be honest a well implemented balanced circuit won't really sound very different to the single ended output.

    It mainly helps when you are looking to power hard to drive loads, where the balanced output normally outputs more power.
  5. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    You can "overdrive" any transducer but

    1. Clipping - ie running out of power trying to drive something too hard - can do damage more easily

    2. To "overdrive" something you'd basically have the amp push it beyond excursion limits or just get a lot of waste heat accumulating in the drivers' mechanical parts, and barring using weak amp on a low sensitivity headphone (or speaker), you're waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more likely to blow your eardrums first. Not to mention you'd hear hard clipping or distortion piling on to make you turn it down, unless you're one of those people who just want it loud and can't tell there's already bad distortion in there.

    You might hear some improvements but those would come from having whatever single ended amp you were using having really crappy channels separation or problems with power delivery. It's really more of "it can't hurt" when it comes to balanced drive. If it won't break the bank for you to get an affordable balanced cable and your DAP already has balanced output anyway, then go for it. At the very least, you have a spare SE cable in case the balanced cable breaks, which is more likely to happen on portables that have to get lugged around, more likely to snag something, etc.
    PaganDL likes this.

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