Headamp Blue Hawaii Special Edition
Sep 19, 2013 at 7:26 PM Post #3,991 of 9,738

Golfnutz

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  The gain will be different, so difficult to make an objective comparison.
But the less signal conversions = better.
So, if you have a true balanced source (and/or use longer cables) use XLR, otherwise use RCA, simple as that.

 
I agree, it is difficult to make objective comparison because you're always changing the volume to compensate for the difference in gain.
 
But there seems to be a better balance with 1/2 the output gain of the RCA compared to XLR with SR-009.
 
I fell I get better sound at higher volumes from the BHSE using RCA than XLR (at what I'm guessing is close to the same level of volume).
 
So I just wondered if anyone else has tried the same thing, and what their experience was.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 5:20 AM Post #3,994 of 9,738

johnwmclean

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With a fully symetrical feedback scheme as well DC coupled, my DAC shines with balanced gear such as the BHSE, my latest DAC has no SE output, as I greatly prefer balanced as it's superior by principal.
David, I believe the K01 uses 8 parallel/differential DAC circuits per channel, balanced is the intended optimum setting, using the SE output is a silly waste money and pointless from this particular DAC design, the SE output is probably there more for convenience than anything else. If you don't like balanced output, the K01 is not the DAC for you.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 5:58 AM Post #3,995 of 9,738

David1961

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I find the opposite with my GS-Xmk2, using XLR's with that amp sounds a lot better than with RAC's.
Regarding my K-01, at the time I got it my intention was only to use CD's and SACD's, and it's only in the last 4 or 5 months I've started using it's DAC, but to my hearing I can't hear any difference between using CD's and it's DAC, I am 52 though.
As I've mentioned, I didn't get the K-01 just for it's SQ, looks and build quality also had a big influence.
I'm not saying using XLR's with the BHSE / 009 / K-01 makes that combo sound bad because they don't, with some songs using XLR's the SQ is a lot better than with RCA's, it's I just prefer the SQ using RCA's with most of the songs I listen to.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 7:37 AM Post #3,996 of 9,738

Golfnutz

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I find the opposite with my GS-Xmk2, using XLR's with that amp sounds a lot better than with RAC's.
Regarding my K-01, at the time I got it my intention was only to use CD's and SACD's, and it's only in the last 4 or 5 months I've started using it's DAC, but to my hearing I can't hear any difference between using CD's and it's DAC, I am 52 though.
As I've mentioned, I didn't get the K-01 just for it's SQ, looks and build quality also had a big influence.
I'm not saying using XLR's with the BHSE / 009 / K-01 makes that combo sound bad because they don't, with some songs using XLR's the SQ is a lot better than with RCA's, it's I just prefer the SQ using RCA's with most of the songs I listen to.

 
And this makes sense to me...
 
I like XLR up to a moderate volume level, better that RCA. However, if I want to listen at levels I would consider higher than normal, RCA seems to handle that request better.
 
I think it's more to do with the SR-009's than anything else, which is why you probably prefer XLR on your other system 100% of the time (you can push HD650 harder, compared to SR-009).
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 9:23 AM Post #3,997 of 9,738

johnwmclean

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I find the opposite with my GS-Xmk2, using XLR's with that amp sounds a lot better than with RAC's.
Regarding my K-01, at the time I got it my intention was only to use CD's and SACD's, and it's only in the last 4 or 5 months I've started using it's DAC, but to my hearing I can't hear any difference between using CD's and it's DAC, I am 52 though.
As I've mentioned, I didn't get the K-01 just for it's SQ, looks and build quality also had a big influence.
I'm not saying using XLR's with the BHSE / 009 / K-01 makes that combo sound bad because they don't, with some songs using XLR's the SQ is a lot better than with RCA's, it's I just prefer the SQ using RCA's with most of the songs I listen to.

 
 
   
And this makes sense to me...
 
I like XLR up to a moderate volume level, better that RCA. However, if I want to listen at levels I would consider higher than normal, RCA seems to handle that request better.
 
I think it's more to do with the SR-009's than anything else, which is why you probably prefer XLR on your other system 100% of the time (you can push HD650 harder, compared to SR-009).

 
 
It must be all that external noise creeping in from your RCAs, makes the music sound more euphonic and suits the SR009s bright character. All makes sense now.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM Post #3,998 of 9,738

David1961

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My XLR's are pure silver cable, whereas the RCA's are copper, which I find makes quite a difference.
I also have a 4 pin XLR pure silver custom cable on my HD-600's, which also makes them sound a lot better than the stock cable of those headphones.
Head-fier IanG has pure silver RCA's which were made from the same place I got my silver XLR's, ( in fact they're the same cable just different connectors ) so I'll ask him if I can try them out with both my BHSE and GS-X.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 10:40 AM Post #3,999 of 9,738

perrew

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I think the K-01 uses AKM4399 dacs (8/channel) which if I recall correct have balanced outputs so in order to do SE it needs an additional stage which would result in more stuff in the signal path for the RCA output....
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 11:12 AM Post #4,000 of 9,738

David1961

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I don't normally like to mention anything about my K-01 because it seems that some are offended by my comments about it, however with johnwmclean writing about it I felt I had to reply.
Sorry but I've also just written something about it on another thread.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 12:41 PM Post #4,001 of 9,738

t1174

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I am a user of K01 too. But I don't think the K01 XLR is a must.
 
I have the K01 connect both XLR and RCA, XLR with +6DB connected on headphone amp and RCA for speaker amp. The XLR pair are stealth sakra v10. And  RCA pair are nordost Odin. I feel that use of XLR for Headphone better only because of the sound stage. 
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 2:36 PM Post #4,003 of 9,738

Golfnutz

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  I am a user of K01 too. But I don't think the K01 XLR is a must.
 
I have the K01 connect both XLR and RCA, XLR with +6DB connected on headphone amp and RCA for speaker amp. The XLR pair are stealth sakra v10. And  RCA pair are nordost Odin. I feel that use of XLR for Headphone better only because of the sound stage.

 
I have a similar experience regarding the soundstage, which is why it sounds better up to a certain level of volume than RCA. But once you exceed that level, RCA seems to do a better job since there is 1/2 the output gain (with SR-009). The differences in soundstage are not huge, I think just noticeable where you can tell there's a difference. Both are still very good, but if I fell the need to listen louder (w/o losing sound quality), I toggle to RCA.
 
Pretty sure my DAC uses all four DAC modules in either SE or XLR.
 
Output Switch – There is toggle switch , marked BAL and S. This is a new feature, which allows the unit to use all four DAC modules in
a Single Ended system. The Balanced setting (BAL) is the standard setting and will work in all systems. The Single ended setting (S.)
is for Single ended systems only.
 
Sep 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM Post #4,004 of 9,738

spritzer

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There is no way under any circumstance that a RCA input outperforms the XLR if both are fed from truly equal circuits.  This is easily measured even though the effect is slight. 
 
Just because the BHSE has 4 tubes does not make it a quad monoblock.  It's fully complimentary up to the last stage. 
 

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