Driving HD650 Balanced with DAC1
Oct 15, 2004 at 11:30 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 70

Iron_Dreamer

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So a few days ago I got bored. A though entered my head "hey, the DAC1 has balanced output, and it is only 60ohms output impedance, why not use that to drive the HD650 balanced?"

A pair of neutrik XLR's and one spare stock cable (thanks Sennheiser!) later, I was ready to go.

The sound is a definite improvement over using the DAC1's headphone amp. The sound ismuch more impactful, and larger/more direct, more "live" if you will. It did not make the soundstage as wide as I recall the balanced Gilmore doing, but the soundstage is a bit wider, and just differently presented. Bass on bass-heavy or very dynamic songs is now very very powerful, to the point the bass of the E5's sounds disappointing by comparison. It is not a frequency response change though, because if anything the mids and trebles come through at least as well, if not better, than through the headphone jack using the Headphile silver cable. This is not a knock on that cable, more a testament to the power of balanced drive.

I highly recommend anyone with a DAC1 (or any DAC with balanced output) and HD580/600/650 to give this a try. Just chop the plug off the stock cable, pull the two cables apart a bit, strip down to bare wire, and solder an XLR to either side, putting signal to pin 2 and ground to pin 3. Total cost $6-12 for the XLR's ($30 or so if you consider the opportunity cost of the stock cable).
 
Oct 15, 2004 at 11:33 PM Post #2 of 70

ayt999

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how would you control the volume when you do that?
 
Oct 15, 2004 at 11:36 PM Post #3 of 70

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ayt999
how would you control the volume when you do that?


Well in my case, there are two ways, using the digital volume control in foobar, or using the potentiometer on the front of the DAC1 when it is in pre-amp mode. I use the former, as I did not want the pot in the signal path. Now that I think about it, I forgot that a lot of people use their DAC's with CDPs, and if it is a DAC without integrated volumne control of some sort, they are out of luck. D'OH!
biggrin.gif
 
Oct 15, 2004 at 11:50 PM Post #4 of 70

ayt999

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so this will be your setup for a while?

sounds like it is a nice one.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 15, 2004 at 11:52 PM Post #5 of 70

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ayt999
so this will be your setup for a while?

sounds like it is a nice one.
smily_headphones1.gif



I think so. I was lusting after a balanced Gilmore, but that wasn't happening any time soon. I had pascified myself with the DT880's (I might still try them out balanced), but this is just WAAAAY better, particularly for anything with drums.
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 7:43 AM Post #7 of 70

3lusiv3

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
So I guess my little discovery is not that interesting to most of you...
tongue.gif



Well, I'm interested, and I subscribed to the thread, but have nothing of value to add.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 8:48 AM Post #8 of 70

Jasper994

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Not that I have a DAC1 or HD650's but I'm just waiting to hear them on Sunday...
wink.gif
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 9:56 AM Post #9 of 70

JaZZ

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Irondreamer...

...I don't know -- the sonic improvement may rather come from the more direct signal path, bypassing an amplification stage, than from the balanced operation.

peacesign.gif
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 2:09 PM Post #10 of 70

kunwar

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Well the Senn 6XX sound doesn't appeal much so trying it is a bit hard.
plus I don't have any cables lying around the house.

Hey if you are after a balanced Gilmore, then why not go the whole hog and get the Balanced Dynahi instead.
I can put you onto someone who is willing to build it and seems to know what he is talking about.
the dynahi would whoop the balanced gimore anyday, if Kevin's own comments are anything to go by.
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 2:14 PM Post #11 of 70

remilard

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I'm extremely interested, but then you already know that.
smily_headphones1.gif
I'm hoping this upgrade can tide me over until I can buy a balanced amp, which will probably be at least 6 months. I also like the idea of driving the HD650s not only without a dedicated headphone amplifier but without a headphone jack even
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Oct 16, 2004 at 3:14 PM Post #12 of 70

Iron_Dreamer

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JaZZ
Irondreamer...

...I don't know -- the sonic improvement may rather come from the more direct signal path, bypassing an amplification stage, than from the balanced operation.

peacesign.gif



That's a good point, it probably is a combination of both ultimately.

Kunwar, if I could I would go for the balanced Dynahi, but heck if I could afford one
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Oct 18, 2004 at 6:50 AM Post #14 of 70

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Puddleglum
Just wondering, are you essentially making the cable that headroom uses for the senns and the blockhead? Seems a lot more cost effective to do what you've done or pay someone else.


Yeah, but the blockhead and other balanced amps need male XLR connectors on the cable, whereas mine has a female. That is the only difference. other than that the the commerically sold balanced cables are upgraded cables, not stock cables with balanced connectors put on
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