Portable balanced headphones: recommendations?
Apr 10, 2020 at 10:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 5


100+ Head-Fier
Oct 12, 2013
A few weeks ago I purchased the new DAC/AMP Fiio BTR5. Unfortunately, given the current times, the Italian importer is in difficulty both in receiving supplies of new products and in shipping them, so I'm still waiting to receive it.
In the meantime, I read some reviews and I follow the dedicated thread which speaks that the double DAC can only be used in the balanced 2.5" output.

While at home I have full-size headphones that I can use in balanced, not when I'm in motion, so I'm looking for "battle" headphones that allow me to take advantage of this output even when I'm on the move (in fact, when I'll be back, now I'm at home!).

I try to be more specific in the request:
- headphones with balanced 2.5 "cable - NO WIRELESS
- easily transportable and not too delicate (and storable in a backpack)
- NO IEM (I can't stand them)
- decent sound quality
- budget as much as possible under € 100

Just to give an idea of my reference for sound in this area I mention the Koss KSC75 and the V-Monk Plus, easily transportable headphones, with a low cost, but with very satisfactory quality.
The V-Monk long ago were also sold in a balanced version, but unfortunately this version is no longer available.

Do you have any suggestions? Is there anything in balance comparable to KSC75 or V-Monk?
Thanks for the attention
Apr 10, 2020 at 10:48 AM Post #2 of 5
Headphones need a balanced cable, to work with a balanced headphone jack.
Can't see why anyone would make or sell a balanced cable for a 100 Euro headphone (no demand).
I really doubt the un-balanced headphone jack does not take advantage of dual DAC chips.
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Apr 10, 2020 at 10:50 AM Post #3 of 5
Honestly, no point for you using balanced cable except to say you could. You won't need the power, and not to mention at your budget it'll be hard to get an IEM with a balanced cable, let alone a headphone.
Apr 10, 2020 at 11:02 AM Post #4 of 5
Technically you could run almost any dual entry headphone with removable cables balanced, you would just have to buy aftermarket cables. Same for any IEM with removable cables, you would just have to buy an appropriate balanced cable separately (MMCX, 2-Pin, whatever).

You'll probably have a harder time with headphones since you don't want IEMs, because most cheap headphones are either gonna have an attached cable or a single-entry removable cable. I don't think you're gonna find a lot of options for cheap headphones that already come with balanced cables though as it's just kind of silly. Balanced doesn't matter for efficient portable headphones.
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Apr 17, 2020 at 11:03 AM Post #5 of 5
Thank you for answers.
So let me change the request.
Another headset that I love very much are the Grado SR80: unfortunately the ones I had are broken and at the moment a new pair cost more than my budget.

The SR80s are not very small, but certainly more transportable than other full-size headphones.
Also I know that you can modify them and make them balanced without too much effort ...

Can you recommend a model of headphones under € 100 that have sound characteristics similar to the SR80, maybe a little smaller (more portable!) and that are easily modifiable to make them balanced?

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