Help needed ref Balanced Dap.
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barontan2418

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Please excuse my ignorance but totally new to balanced gear. Have just purchased a used AK240 and wish to use my Westone 50 pro IEM in its balanced output. Would I need to have a new cable made or is there an adapter on the market to allow single ended IEM to work fully balanced from the AK's balanced output. Live in hope. Thanks for reading.
 
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Roseval

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You can’t use an adapter as what they call “balanced” in the headphone world requires a 4 wire connection. If you use a common ground for L/R , you might fry your amp using the balanced output.
 
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barontan2418

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You can’t use an adapter as what they call “balanced” in the headphone world requires a 4 wire connection. If you use a common ground for L/R , you might fry your amp using the balanced output.
Thanks for that Roseval. Guess new IEM's are called for depending on how good my regulars sound. The 👍
 
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Tennstrong

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You can’t use an adapter as what they call “balanced” in the headphone world requires a 4 wire connection. If you use a common ground for L/R , you might fry your amp using the balanced output.
Could you elaborate please? This is my current confusion as well- so the issue is in using a 3.5mm -> XLR? Was debating the Erish if all I needed was to make my own cables since I prefer XLR anyway, but as far as I know there are not separated grounds in a 3.5mm jack. (Would be thinking about using a pair of T50rp with a 3 pole 3.5mm to a 4 pin XLR) Part of my confusion is from the people saying 'well it's just the connector' in articles, but others seem to agree it would theoretically fry the amp.

Edit: shoot I might've gotten this backwards looking back at the comment you made, but I frankly don't know so I'll leave this here
 
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Roseval

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Normally you have 3 wires, TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) so a common ground.
Lets change this to TRRS, basically the same as we connect our speakers to an amp.
Maybe we reduce crosstalk a little but I don’t think we gain much.
Note that nobody calls the way we connect our speakers to an amp “balanced”.
Small wonder as there is nothing balanced about this connection.

The question is what is happening inside the amp.
If both amps ( yes, 2 as it is stereo) have a common ground, we probably wasted out money by buying that expensive third party “balanced” cord.
But often a balanced out produces much more power than a single ended out.
How do they do that?
An option is to use 2 amps per channel, one “pushing” , the other produces the inverted signal so it is “pulling”.



Obvious in this configuration the L en the R channel don’t share a common ground.
This is the scenario where shortening inverted L and inverted R (using a TRS) might damage the amp and certainly will deliver a horrible sound.
 
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Tennstrong

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Normally you have 3 wires, TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) so a common ground.
Lets change this to TRRS, basically the same as we connect our speakers to an amp.
Maybe we reduce crosstalk a little but I don’t think we gain much.
Note that nobody calls the way we connect our speakers to an amp “balanced”.
Small wonder as there is nothing balanced about this connection.

The question is what is happening inside the amp.
If both amps ( yes, 2 as it is stereo) have a common ground, we probably wasted out money by buying that expensive third party “balanced” cord.
But often a balanced out produces much more power than a single ended out.
How do they do that?
An option is to use 2 amps per channel, one “pushing” , the other produces the inverted signal so it is “pulling”.



Obvious in this configuration the L en the R channel don’t share a common ground.
This is the scenario where shortening inverted L and inverted R (using a TRS) might damage the amp and certainly will deliver a horrible sound.
I think I get you, though the very last bit about shortening has me confused- did you mean shorting? Or is something happening to the voltage ranges that leads to that/messes with sound?
Regardless, if I'm understanding correctly, the only use case for XLR -> TRS would be if you had dedicated left and right cables (i.e. 2x TRS -> 1-2x XLR) from the headphones/speaker? To give separate grounds between channels?

Thanks so much for the explanation, and apologies for the barrage of questions hehe - I really appreciate you explaining this
 
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Roseval

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"Shortening" - you can imagine that connecting either the 2 + or the 2 min in the pic above won't work as you have different signals.

Cabling is a matter of having luck (each cup has a connector) or rewiring the headpone.
Termination might be 4 pin XLR or a TRRS plug or any other configuration allowing for a 4 wire connection.
Maybe this link is of use: https://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/HW/Headphone/Connect.htm
 
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Tennstrong

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"Shortening" - you can imagine that connecting either the 2 + or the 2 min in the pic above won't work as you have different signals.

Cabling is a matter of having luck (each cup has a connector) or rewiring the headpone.
Termination might be 4 pin XLR or a TRRS plug or any other configuration allowing for a 4 wire connection.
Maybe this link is of use: https://www.thewelltemperedcomputer.com/HW/Headphone/Connect.htm
I read that article a couple times now (thanks so much for the resource!) and I feel a little more confident - though I still feel a bit confused by the paragraph under "The Myth of Unbalanced Headphones". My first question would be -> in the conversion from TRS->TRRS, does mic act as a left ground? Second (also sort of related to the linked article)- if the connection between 4 pin XLR (edit: meant both 1/4" & XLR) to output is always 'balanced' due to the nature of parallel drivers, then is the only benefit seen in the input side (i.e. dac/amp having balanced [mirrored] circuitry for the separation & increased power, and balanced interconnects between dac/amp)? So output (maybe not power, but in cleanliness/SQ) between a (theoretically) equally set up single ended and 4pin xlr both using balanced circuitry would end up being the same? Like it seems to me the majority of benefit seen is through the balanced dac -> amp connection rather than the end point. I hope I'm not too far off base, but again thanks so much for the resources & support

Edit: So after speaking around- seems like you can run this as long as you don't ground the connectors (if I understood properly) & connect only R+ & L+, I'm thinking that's because the individual lines within the amp & dac are grounded a few times prior as in the diagram above. Also said it may/will raise the noise floor (I'm not quite sure what the increase is from- would guess that it is from the full power being pushed through the full unit instead of half to each driver. With this said, I think I might plan around a proper balanced dac heading to a single ended amp output to create a baseline expectation for myself and reduce the amount of variables if the increased noise floor is something audible, then move to a separate balanced unit when my equipment demands it & see if there is a perceptible difference .
 
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buke9

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Please excuse my ignorance but totally new to balanced gear. Have just purchased a used AK240 and wish to use my Westone 50 pro IEM in its balanced output. Would I need to have a new cable made or is there an adapter on the market to allow single ended IEM to work fully balanced from the AK's balanced output. Live in hope. Thanks for reading.
If the cable is not balanced yes you need another cable as adapters will not work.
 
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