The Official 64 Audio Thread | apex & tia Technologies
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Wild Boar

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When I buy a cable from now on, I have decided to always go balanced. 2.5mm or 4.4 if you wish. That will allow you to use any of the balanced connections or the 3.5mm connections on any device with an adapter. With the 2.5mm connector it might be a bit easier to get the different adapters. A dedicated 3.5 will prevent you from being able to use a balanced connection should you need to use it in the future. Tks.
Will it sound different btw 3.5mm and 4.4mm?
 
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post-15619503
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twister6

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post-15619697
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HuoYuanJia

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A dedicated 3.5 will prevent you from being able to use a balanced connection should you need to use it in the future.
I can't imagine any portable setup in which you would need a balanced connection. Some of the best sources available do not use balanced outputs (internally yes) and they have written white papers of why such a thing would be useless. A decent unbalanced cable is not one bit inferior.

2.5mm has become an audiophile tag. "Look at me, I don't use connections you find on a smartphone or game console. That means I listen to something better." But actually 4pin XLR and especially 2.5mm are flawed by design. We had a superior balanced 5pin cubic plug in the 70s.

4.4 (5-pin) at least lets you use unbalanced adapters. There will be a loss in quality if you use an unbalanced adapter with 2.5 or 4pin XLR.
 
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plakat

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I can't imagine any portable setup in which you would need a balanced connection. Some of the best sources available do not use balanced outputs (internally yes) and they have written white papers of why such a thing would be useless. A decent unbalanced cable is not one bit inferior.

2.5mm has become an audiophile tag. "Look at me, I don't use connections you find on a smartphone or game console. That means I listen to something better." But actually 4pin XLR and especially 2.5mm are flawed by design. We had a superior balanced 5pin cubic plug in the 70s.

4.4 (5-pin) at least lets you use unbalanced adapters. There will be a loss in quality if you use an unbalanced adapter with 2.5 or 4pin XLR.
I'm not into balanced in any way, but while I second the 2.5mm being suboptimal, especially to fragile, I don't see 4-pin XLR as flawed per se.

What loss of quality do you see when using an adapter from an unbalanced source to a 2.5mm or XL4 terminated cable? There's one additional contact in play, which may corrode or wear out, but I don't see anything that would not apply to 4.4 just as well, so I'm interested what specific problem you have on your mind.
 
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Frankie D

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Will it sound different btw 3.5mm and 4.4mm?
[/QUOT
Will it sound different btw 3.5mm and 4.4mm?
As Twister6 said, the difference is really the source. I was talking about flexibility. For example, I have a chord Hugo 2. Chord does not feel that balanced connections are superior, so on that device, the 3.5mm connection for an IEM is the way to go. I have also found that so far, I have not heard a degradation when using an adapter to go from balanced to 3.5.

I also use a Cayin N8 which has both 3.5 and 4.4 (balanced). With my 3.5 mm cable, I cannot use its 4.4 balanced output. However with my 2.5 I can use an adapter and connect to either output. The Cayin does use different circuits for the two outputs. So this would be a case where flexibility is important. 4.4 might be the best pure connection, but I will leave that to the tech guys to comment on. My point is for both current and future flexibility, balanced is the best option.
 
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Frankie D

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I can't imagine any portable setup in which you would need a balanced connection. Some of the best sources available do not use balanced outputs (internally yes) and they have written white papers of why such a thing would be useless. A decent unbalanced cable is not one bit inferior.

2.5mm has become an audiophile tag. "Look at me, I don't use connections you find on a smartphone or game console. That means I listen to something better." But actually 4pin XLR and especially 2.5mm are flawed by design. We had a superior balanced 5pin cubic plug in the 70s.

4.4 (5-pin) at least lets you use unbalanced adapters. There will be a loss in quality if you use an unbalanced adapter with 2.5 or 4pin XLR.
I agree. And unbalanced is felt to be superior by many, Chord being one manufacturer that believes in them. Many in home audio also believe in them ( though there are others that like balanced ). I have not heard a loss in quality when connecting a 2.5 to a 3.5mm adapter. I do not doubt that one can be measured, but I have not heard it when using an effect audio cable. I also have not done painstaking comparisons either, so I am speaking at a macro level and only my few cables. But I do agree, 4.4 should be the better connection when going balanced. But, the manufacturers design is what really governs the best output for their device. It would be nice if they would all agree on the best output connection.

You do run into this choice on the Cayin N8 as you can connect as 3.5 SS, 3.5 Tube or 4.4 SS. And Cayin does employ different circuitry. This is an example of what I meant about flexibility that I ran into. My 3.5 mm cables cannot connect to the 4.4. So here having 2.5’s or 4.4’s would allow me to use both connections. So this is why I recommend balanced as you have the ability to choose your connection and change it in the future if you had to. Tks.
 
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Deezel177

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I agree. And unbalanced is felt to be superior by many, Chord being one manufacturer that believes in them. Many in home audio also believe in them ( though there are others that like balanced ). I have not heard a loss in quality when connecting a 2.5 to a 3.5mm adapter. I do not doubt that one can be measured, but I have not heard it when using an effect audio cable. I also have not done painstaking comparisons either, so I am speaking at a macro level and only my few cables. But I do agree, 4.4 should be the better connection when going balanced. But, the manufacturers design is what really governs the best output for their device. It would be nice if they would all agree on the best output connection.

You do run into this choice on the Cayin N8 as you can connect as 3.5 SS, 3.5 Tube or 4.4 SS. And Cayin does employ different circuitry. This is an example of what I meant about flexibility that I ran into. My 3.5 mm cables cannot connect to the 4.4. So here having 2.5’s or 4.4’s would allow me to use both connections. So this is why I recommend balanced as you have the ability to choose your connection and change it in the future if you had to. Tks.
‘Agree with all you’ve said there, but I do have to make one tiny correction: Chord don’t believe unbalanced is “superior” to balanced. They feel that their gear is so clean and distortion-free (paraphrasing) that implementing a balanced circuit on them to eliminate noise is unnecessary. I believe I saw John Franks talk about it in one of the CanJam conferences. It was either that, or the Mojo launch event I went to in Singapore a few years ago.
 
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twister6

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I can't imagine any portable setup in which you would need a balanced connection. Some of the best sources available do not use balanced outputs (internally yes) and they have written white papers of why such a thing would be useless. A decent unbalanced cable is not one bit inferior.

2.5mm has become an audiophile tag. "Look at me, I don't use connections you find on a smartphone or game console. That means I listen to something better." But actually 4pin XLR and especially 2.5mm are flawed by design. We had a superior balanced 5pin cubic plug in the 70s.

4.4 (5-pin) at least lets you use unbalanced adapters. There will be a loss in quality if you use an unbalanced adapter with 2.5 or 4pin XLR.
Agreed, cable will not be inferior, it's just one terminations vs the other. But what will be inferior is the design. By the same token as some people might say "i'm using something better because it is balanced", there are some manufacturers who claim they offer something better because it is balanced :wink: I have come across many designs with 3.5mm which are superior to balanced connections, and also other designs from manufacturers who don't know how to implement balanced output and only used it as a marketing gimmick to claim they have audiophile quality product :wink:
 
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macdonjh

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I've not noticed a difference in my living room between balanced and single ended. Since SE gear is typically less expensive, that's the way I went (until I bought a Casablanca, apparently Theta believes in balanced). However, I have heard some obvious differences with some head phone gear. The ZMF Atticus I had for a while sounded much better balanced. The Trio I have now sound a bit better with my Questyle QP2R from the balanced out (though I don't like the pairing in general).
 
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Frankie D

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‘Agree with all you’ve said there, but I do have to make one tiny correction: Chord don’t believe unbalanced is “superior” to balanced. They feel that their gear is so clean and distortion-free (paraphrasing) that implementing a balanced circuit on them to eliminate noise is unnecessary. I believe I saw John Franks talk about it in one of the CanJam conferences. It was either that, or the Mojo launch event I went to in Singapore a few years ago.
Thanks for the clarification. Appreciate the detail. Tks.
 
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Frankie D

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I've not noticed a difference in my living room between balanced and single ended. Since SE gear is typically less expensive, that's the way I went (until I bought a Casablanca, apparently Theta believes in balanced). However, I have heard some obvious differences with some head phone gear. The ZMF Atticus I had for a while sounded much better balanced. The Trio I have now sound a bit better with my Questyle QP2R from the balanced out (though I don't like the pairing in general).
The Theta Casablanca! That’s pretty cool stuff. High end audio home audio still fights about balanced vs RCA’s. Boulder is another company that is balanced only, while Viva likes RCA’s the best, though they will at least provide one balanced connection for its users. It’s like Twister6 says, it depends on the manufacturer. Tks.
 
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Agreed, cable will not be inferior, it's just one terminations vs the other. But what will be inferior is the design. By the same token as some people might say "i'm using something better because it is balanced", there are some manufacturers who claim they offer something better because it is balanced :wink: I have come across many designs with 3.5mm which are superior to balanced connections, and also other designs from manufacturers who don't know how to implement balanced output and only used it as a marketing gimmick to claim they have audiophile quality product :wink:
stop winking at us so much...this isn’t tinder.

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
 
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twister6

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post-15627971
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ayang02

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Is there a new APEX module coming out soon?
 
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I’ve been interested in the A12t for a while, but was wondering how the A4t and A6t compare to it?
 
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