To be or not to be, Balanced is the question.
Nov 13, 2008 at 8:16 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

rdmorris

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what is balanced and what are the advantages and disadvantages?
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 8:26 PM Post #2 of 15

TopPop

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Search, and ye shall find.
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 8:40 PM Post #3 of 15

Nocturnal310

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and i found:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f4/balanced-342799/

Just so that this topic goes down in Head-fi as an informative thread and not a 'hyperlinked' thread:

Quote:

Balanced Headphones

A typical headphone plug has three connection points: left, right, and ground. The speaker driver in each earpiece gets either the left or right drive signal delivered to one of its terminals and the ground on the other terminal. This is called a "single-ended" drive scheme when one terminal is connected to drive and the other is grounded.

But there is another superior way to power headphones and that is to drive both terminals of the headphone simultaneously, one side with the 'normal' drive signal and the other side with an identically inverted drive signal. This is called a "balanced drive" scheme. 'Phones of this type require a special balanced headphone amplifier and special headphone cabling terminated to XLR 3-pin connectors.

The simply huge, huge advantage of this type of drive signal is that it generates twice the effective slew rate and output power for a given signal amplitude AND the left/right earpieces are not sharing a common ground that can cause signal crosstalk, muddy detail resolution, pinched dynamics, high background noise floor issues (like hiss & hum) -- among other nasty-sounding things! The principal sonic gain of these high-end balanced headphone systems is the MUCH more liquid, deep-sounding, and precisely clear soundstage image available on balanced-terminated headphones.


Source: Headroom
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 11:43 PM Post #5 of 15

whaleyboy

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One disadvantage is that there are fewer choices for balanced configurations. There are fewer amps and headphones generally have to be specially cabled to run in balanced mode. In addition, there are fewer balanced sources and the balanced options are *typically* more expensive.

I personally have decided to stay with single ended or non balanced headphones as long as I am using dynamic headphones. That said, I have pretty much all balanced sources just in case I change my mind
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Nov 14, 2008 at 12:10 AM Post #6 of 15

pabbi1

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Quote:

Originally Posted by whaleyboy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
One disadvantage is that there are fewer choices for balanced configurations. There are fewer amps and headphones generally have to be specially cabled to run in balanced mode. In addition, there are fewer balanced sources and the balanced options are *typically* more expensive.

I personally have decided to stay with single ended or non balanced headphones as long as I am using dynamic headphones. That said, I have pretty much all balanced sources just in case I change my mind
very_evil_smiley.gif



Resistance is futile...
tongue_smile.gif
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 3:07 AM Post #7 of 15

vcoheda

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advantages: better sound across the board.

disadvantages: cost.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 5:51 AM Post #10 of 15

Seamless Sounds

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If you want to just enjoy music you don't have to force yourself into balancing it. If you do critical listening and/or create music for others, than maybe you should give it a try (if your budget fits the bill). It's a long term investment, something ever-lasting.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 8:10 AM Post #11 of 15

Nocturnal310

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vcoheda /img/forum/go_quote.gif
advantages: better sound across the board.

disadvantages: cost.



Another disadvantage: Compatibility
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 8:33 AM Post #12 of 15

Uncle Erik

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Eh, I've thought about going balanced. Decent balanced phono preamps are not common, and vinyl is a major source of music for me. Also, I think a lot of the benefit lies in having bridged amps, or at least an active ground. Those can be accomplished without going fully balanced. Still, I'm planning to build a Dynamight and a balanced Beta22, and will pick up a Benchmark DAC1 to give balanced a try. Can't see giving up my single-ended setups, however. I have too much invested and they sound amazing.
 
Nov 14, 2008 at 2:57 PM Post #13 of 15

krmathis

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Balanced all the way.
smily_headphones1.gif

All my 'phones are balanced in the sense that there are separate hot (+) and cold (-) for each channel, and I don't want anything else.

Not the most cost or compatibility effective though.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 1:29 AM Post #15 of 15

wolf18t

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I'm staying SE:
- Easier to find SE headphones in the used market
- Easier to resell since most people are SE equipped
- No hassle and money to spend for sending HP for recabling
- No need to get an expensive balanced source and amplifier

For me, the gain in sound quality (and still subtle for many headphones) doesn't worth the money and trouble.
 

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