Straight Dope on Balanced out vs S.E on dac/amp
Jun 1, 2015 at 8:35 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 41

Ghaunty22

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
106
Likes
10
Why do my hd600's sound so different & better using the front xlr out compared to the trs out on my audio-gd nfb10?
 
 
Of all the dozens of pages & sites I read on this stuff, there clearly is two camps.
 
1-the apparent experts who talk up this balanced tech like it so incredible, probably to promote their insane priced cables and amps.
2- the apparent experts who say there is nothing in balance design that could possible give alot more open soundstage or cleaner music over using S.E, just like 1000dollar silver core cables can't give your passive speakers alot more soundstage.
 
So are manufacturers doing something to make the S.E out sound worse? I mean its like a flat numbing experience.
 
Jun 1, 2015 at 9:08 AM Post #2 of 41

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,280
Likes
3,065
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
What info have you been able to gather on the circuitry of the two outputs?

Is the unbalanced output just the balanced output adapted to unbalanced, or can both outputs run concurrently?

If the latter case, do you know what differences there may be to the two outputs?
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 3:57 AM Post #4 of 41

arnyk

Repeatedly defended arguments with personal attacks.
Joined
May 30, 2015
Posts
737
Likes
116
What info have you been able to gather on the circuitry of the two outputs?

Is the unbalanced output just the balanced output adapted to unbalanced, or can both outputs run concurrently?

If the latter case, do you know what differences there may be to the two outputs?

 
I would expect significant volume and frequency response differences.
 
A balanced output is 6 dB louder, all other things being the same.
 
The headphone output should have a lower source impedance, which will change the in-use frequency response of the headphones.
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 4:29 AM Post #5 of 41

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,280
Likes
3,065
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
What info have you been able to gather on the circuitry of the two outputs?


Is the unbalanced output just the balanced output adapted to unbalanced, or can both outputs run concurrently?


If the latter case, do you know what differences there may be to the two outputs?


I would expect significant volume and frequency response differences.

A balanced output is 6 dB louder, all other things being the same.

The headphone output should have a lower source impedance, which will change the in-use frequency response of the headphones.


I assume you mean to refer to the unbalanced output as the only headphone output.

Are you familiar with balanced headphone outputs?

The "balanced" headphone output of this product uses four poles to deliver two channels of what we in headphone audio call "balanced" output.

I leave it to you to figure out what exactly is going on.

Welcome to head-fi--sorry about your (insert suitable item here) :popcorn:
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 4:42 AM Post #6 of 41

arnyk

Repeatedly defended arguments with personal attacks.
Joined
May 30, 2015
Posts
737
Likes
116
I assume you mean to refer to the unbalanced output as the only headphone output.

Are you familiar with balanced headphone outputs?

The "balanced" headphone output of this product uses four poles to deliver two channels of what we in headphone audio call "balanced" output.

I leave it to you to figure out what exactly is going on.

Welcome to head-fi--sorry about your (insert suitable item here)
popcorn.gif

 
Yes, I am aware of the balanced headphone jack fad  trend. I've been wondering for decades when someone would actually try it. Psychoacoustically worthless, but you knew that, right?
 
Given the available very skinny doc, who can tell?  
 
All the pictures tell me is that I have rarely seen so many parts used to accomplish so little.
 
If someone actually properly engineered something to do this job...
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 4:48 AM Post #7 of 41

Joe Bloggs

Member of the Trade: HiBy / EFO technologies Co
His Porta Corda walked the Green Mile
Joined
Oct 21, 2001
Posts
11,280
Likes
3,065
Location
Hong Kong and Melbourne
I assume you mean to refer to the unbalanced output as the only headphone output.


Are you familiar with balanced headphone outputs?


The "balanced" headphone output of this product uses four poles to deliver two channels of what we in headphone audio call "balanced" output.


I leave it to you to figure out what exactly is going on.


Welcome to head-fi--sorry about your (insert suitable item here) :popcorn:


Yes, I am aware of the balanced headphone jack fad  trend. I've been wondering for decades when someone would actually try it. Psychoacoustically worthless, but you knew that, right?

Given the available very skinny doc, who can tell?  

All the pictures tell me is that I have rarely seen so many parts used to accomplish so little.

If someone actually properly engineered something to do this job...


What I was trying to point out was that an actual balanced headphone audio output with the kind of 6dB extra signal power / amplitude (err :xf_eek: ) you describe would come from one using, say, two XLR connectors for +/-/GND each channel, so for two channels you need 6 connectors.

What we have here is 4 connectors :wink:

So something else is going on :wink:

^^Edited for clarity
 
Jun 2, 2015 at 5:14 AM Post #8 of 41

arnyk

Repeatedly defended arguments with personal attacks.
Joined
May 30, 2015
Posts
737
Likes
116
What I was trying to point out was that an actual balanced headphone audio output with the kind of 6dB extra signal power / amplitude (err
redface.gif
) you describe would come from one using, say, two XLR connectors for +/-/GND each channel.

What we have here is 4 channels
wink.gif


So something else is going on
wink.gif

 
I don't think so. This picture seems to show a 4 pin XLR on the left.  That would apparently be a standard stereo headphone jack connection with the grounds separated.
 
http://www.audio-gd.com/pro/headphoneamp/nfb10xlr/nfb10en.htm
 

 
 
The addendum for making a headphone jack adapter seems to bear this out.
 
The jack on the right seems to be a standard locking TRS (unbalanced) headphone jack.
 
What is not clear is what the source impedance and voltage capabilities of the drive to these jacks is.
 
But all other things being equal, I'd expect the one on the left to be +6 dB louder than the one on the right.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 3:29 AM Post #11 of 41

Ghaunty22

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
106
Likes
10
Hi upstateguy,
 
There is a reasonable volume difference between two, the XLR is louder.
 
Reply to Joe,
As far as I can tell stock, both outputs can run two headphones concurrently.
 
 
The real difference between the two outputs is the XLR sounds less stereo & flat like its in your head, while XLR is more surround, 3d, like the sounds comes from 180degress from your front. Maybe its some effect?
 
I haven't been able to learn anything else about this unit, sorry.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 3:43 AM Post #12 of 41
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Posts
17,319
Likes
10,839
Location
Fukuoka, Japan
The balanced out is using double the circuitry of the single-ended in that amp. Audio-gd simply happens to like using that kind of design and it was made to be used in a balanced configuration. 
 
I wouldn't worry about "experts" and whatnot beyond that. If you like the result, then enjoy listening. Every different designer has different ideas about what is good and bad.
 
The whole thing came about when HeadRoom made a balanced amp called the Blockhead, which was two single-channel balanced amps re-jigged into a massive case. They then wrote up all the marketing on it. Back then, AMB was offering the Beta 22 DIY amp. People started building it in 4-board balanced configurations, leading to the question for people building it whether or not to "go balanced". The discussion only comes about because it affects how one terminates one's headphones nowadays (if not building a DIY amp). End users don't discuss the dozen or so different amp topologies available the same way beyond "tubes or solid-state".
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 3:46 AM Post #13 of 41

arnyk

Repeatedly defended arguments with personal attacks.
Joined
May 30, 2015
Posts
737
Likes
116
  Hi upstateguy,
 
There is a reasonable volume difference between two, the XLR is louder.
 
Reply to Joe,
As far as I can tell stock, both outputs can run two headphones concurrently.
 
 
The real difference between the two outputs is the XLR sounds less stereo & flat like its in your head, while XLR is more surround, 3d, like the sounds comes from 180degress from your front. Maybe its some effect?
 
I haven't been able to learn anything else about this unit, sorry.

I think the above pretty well explains it. The two outputs have vastly different signal levels for very ordinary reasons. One is balanced and receives two out-of-phase signals per channel, so the difference between the + and - terminals for that output is 2X that of the corresponding unbalanced outputs.
 
A simple voltmeter would make this clear.However, we are dealing with audiophiles and they usually don't even have a $5.95 DVM that would show this quite clearly. If you buy a meter the audio audio gods send a secret emissary with jack boots who knocks on your door at midnight and pulls your audiophile card. :wink:
 
As is not unusual, two different sets of subjective attributes have been assigned to the same signal at two different levels which are easy to differentiate because one is vastly louder than the other. If you equalized the levels between the two outputs, they would very likely be indistinguishable. This is why good level-matching is a prerequisite for a reasonable test of inherent sound quality.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 4:00 AM Post #14 of 41

Ghaunty22

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
106
Likes
10
  The balanced out is using double the circuitry of the single-ended in that amp. Audio-gd simply happens to like using that kind of design and it was made to be used in a balanced configuration. 
 
I wouldn't worry about "experts" and whatnot beyond that. If you like the result, then enjoy listening. Every different designer has different ideas about what is good and bad.
 
The whole thing came about when HeadRoom made a balanced amp called the Blockhead, which was two single-channel balanced amps re-jigged into a massive case. They then wrote up all the marketing on it. Back then, AMB was offering the Beta 22 DIY amp. People started building it in 4-board balanced configurations, leading to the question for people building it whether or not to "go balanced". The discussion only comes about because it affects how one terminates one's headphones nowadays (if not building a DIY amp). End users don't discuss the dozen or so different amp topologies available the same way beyond "tubes or solid-state".

Well this sound I seem to like, but I would be hesitate getting another amp unless I heard it in person. I think Ill stay with audio gd balanced range.
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 4:09 AM Post #15 of 41

Ghaunty22

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Posts
106
Likes
10
  I think the above pretty well explains it. The two outputs have vastly different signal levels for very ordinary reasons. One is balanced and receives two out-of-phase signals per channel, so the difference between the + and - terminals for that output is 2X that of the corresponding unbalanced outputs.
 
A simple voltmeter would make this clear.However, we are dealing with audiophiles and they usually don't even have a $5.95 DVM that would show this quite clearly. If you buy a meter the audio audio gods send a secret emissary with jack boots who knocks on your door at midnight and pulls your audiophile card. :wink:
 
As is not unusual, two different sets of subjective attributes have been assigned to the same signal at two different levels which are easy to differentiate because one is vastly louder than the other. If you equalized the levels between the two outputs, they would very likely be indistinguishable. This is why good level-matching is a prerequisite for a reasonable test of inherent sound quality.


If I understand you, if both outputs were same perceived volume they would sound same? I reject that straight up. And its easy to do this, xlr 48volume = trs around 60 something. They both sound very diff.  Anyway it seems I don't really have an answer to what's going on. There is absolutely a big diff, even a typical person who thinks dr dre beats off his iphone are awesome can easily here that something is different among the two at pretty much same volume.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top