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  1. Mhog55
    I'll ask this question one last time. Can a single ended cable terminated with 3.5mm on one end (headphone entry), and 2.5mm trrs jack on the other end (balanced dap entry), actually serve as a fully balanced circuit?
    I'm finding more and more cables like this for cans such as my H6 and Edition S. Seems to me that while the cable may work, all I'd really be getting is the additional power the balanced option offers. I've been told that the headphone has to be wired to accept a balanced circuit, but it's still unclear to me if that simply means it must have dual sided cable entry, or something more.
  2. tomb
    I won't get into the weeds too much, but there are people who object to the usage of the word "balanced" instead of "differential." One camp will tell you that even if the cable is not fully "differential" on one end (I assume that's the 3.5mm one in your case), if it allows a connection to a balanced output/input, then the circuit is balanced. Some actually market amplifiers this way, even if the amplifier circuit itself is only single-ended.

    The other camp says that a differential music signal stream is only fully differential if there is a differential circuit throughout. That means a four-wire connection, minimum, all the way from the source output to the headphone drivers. It's certainly easy enough to prove that if the circuit at any point in the string goes from 4 wires down to three, it's no longer a differential circuit. Whether you can still call that "balanced" or not, I'll leave to the semanticists.

    Another factor that complicates this is in the reverse to what you are thinking and what the conventional wisdom would tell you: there is value in a differential circuit, even if it's not balanced at the source and at the headphones, because the differential circuit in between (the amp) will cancel out all common-mode distortion. That means all things being equal, if the amplifier is differential on the inside, then it will sound better.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  3. Mhog55
    Well it says it's a 4 pole cable. L+L-R+R. I'll just grab one. If it works, it works. Clearly there is no definitive answer, though it doesn't seem like it should be subjective.
  4. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    If by "headphone entry" you mean "one 3.5mm two pole TRS in each earcup" going towards a 2.5mm TRRS four pole cable, then yes, that works for balanced drive or differential drive or whatever since you have separate L+, L-, R-, and R+ through and through.

    If by "headphone entry" you mean "an adapter with a 3-pole female 3.5mm TRS" on one end and 2.5mm four pole TRRS on another," I can't say how badly that's gonna go but at least be prepared to say goodbye to the DAP you're going to try that on.
    Redcarmoose likes this.
  5. Mhog55
    It's just one single wire
    On one end - 3.5mm male that plugs into headphones
    On other end - 2.5mm male that plugs into dap
  6. Mhog55
    This is the exact cable HTB1vi4TXjzuK1RjSsppq6xz0XXar.jpg
  7. Redcarmoose
    2.5mm Balanced to 3.5mm Balanced.
  8. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    First off...that's not a single ended cable. It's a balanced line out cable with separate L- and R- instead of a shared GND.

    Second, I'm saying that it's mostly used for line output because how will that even work with your headphones? If your headphones have only one 3.5mm (or 2.5mm) input on one earcup, that's designed for SE by default, with a 3-pole socket connected to the L+ with the left driver's L- connected to the GND and there are two wires going through the headband to hook up the R+ and the R- to the same GND pin on the socket.

    In short, if that 4-pole 3.5mm even fits into the socket, at best there's going to be a mismatch as to what should go where and it just plainly would not work, but you might even end up shorting the DAP unless you just rewire the headphones themselves to have a four pole socket with the L- and R- wired separately or put in a separate socket on each earcup.
  9. Mhog55
    Okay. That's my bad. I was under the impression that single ended simply means that the cable is terminated with one jack on each end.
    That has always been my question though - if the headphones are designed for single ended / entry, would a balanced cable even work. Evidently not. Aliexpress and ebay have this same cable listed multiple times. Each listing is different, advertised for use with specific headphones. I know that the plug is too large for my Beoplay H6, but it would work with my Edition S and Q40. The other strange thing is that the cable is only 20 bucks. So I'll take a pass. I'd probably cry if it fried my Opus #1s. Thanks for your help
  10. Mhog55
    While I have you guys here, can you think of any headphones that would work with this cable straight from the box, no modding required? I think there's a few that were additionally designed for balanced such as the Pioneer se-mhr5. If not, no biggie. I just got a really nice balance cable for my 58X, and to be honest, I'm having a hard time discerning any difference.
  11. ProtegeManiac Contributor
    Your best bet other than opening the headphone is to look at the TRS plug that goes into your left earcups.

    If the TRS plug has two black rings it's single ended with a shared GND, with the L- and R- joining there. If it has three black rings then they're probably wired separately. I'm saying "probably" because portable headphones might have some kind of provision for a mic, and even if the mic cable doesn't have to go inside the headphone cup, there's still the possibility that the manufacturer might have used a 4-pole socket just because they might have been able to get it cheap.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  12. megabigeye
    Oppo PM-3 has a single 3.5mm cable entry that can be used as both single ended or balanced. I don't know if this particular cable will work with it, though I assume it will.
    Of course, Oppo Digital went out of business in April, so you can only get the PM-3 used.
  13. Mhog55
    Great, thank you.

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