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What's the difference between dual Mono and Balanced?

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by bigjppop, Feb 16, 2009.
  1. Bigjppop
    So I'm not a technical expert by any means, but I'm curious as to whats the difference between a dual mono design (like my Darkvoice 337) and a balanced amp.

    My amp seems to be "balanced" in every way, right down to dual power cords, dual power switchs, and dual volume knobs.

    So... for the laymen among us, whats the difference in a dual mono amp like the 337 and a fully balanced amp.

    Thanks in advance for any insight!
  2. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Dual mono means that there are two separate, independent amps and power supplies in the chassis. That helps with channel separation, but the signal going into each side is still single-ended.

    Balanced takes it a step further. You actually have four channels in the amp, one pushing and one pulling on each channel. This is also referred to as "bridging" the amp, and you get increased power, better slew rate, and a number of other improvements.

    Though a bridged amp isn't necessarily balanced; you can run single-ended inputs into a bridged amp.

    The balanced part comes when you run separate, balanced signal cables for each channel. If you look at how the signal is sent single-ended, both channels share ground. In balanced, each channel has its own, separate ground. This helps with channel separation and balanced lines are great if you have to run cables for a long distance. If I recall correctly, Bell Labs developed balanced lines back in the day to help with long runs of telephone lines.
  3. m1abrams
    Not really familiar with the 337, however from first look it appears to be dual mono block design residing in one case.

    Mono blocks do not share a power source. That pretty much what defines them.

    Balanced on the other hand has an amplifier on both the neg. and positive signal. The negative signal is just a inverse signal of the positive. For a stereo signal you end up with 4 amplifiers.

    Many links on the web that can explain the advantages of balanced better than I, however the short list is common mode rejection, double the power and faster slew rate.

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