• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Pairing Unbalanced DAC with a Balanced Amp

Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
34
Likes
8
#1
Question is the title. I'm looking to pair an unbalanced DAC (my Topping D30) with a Balanced Amp (Massdrop THX or Loxjie P20) . My understanding is that the balanced AMPs are better for powering my T50RP and H4XX as well as my 6XX. Can anyone shed some light on the limitations?
 

andreasmaaan

Major Contributor
Patreon Donor
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
1,837
Likes
1,073
#2
There are no inherent limitations :)

What are your concerns?
 
Last edited:

amirm

Founder/Admin
Staff Member
CFO (Chief Fun Officer)
Joined
Feb 13, 2016
Messages
15,369
Likes
9,358
Location
Seattle Area
#3
The only "betterness" comes from extra power balanced headphone outputs provide. To the extent unbalanced output has plenty of power, there is no need to use that. But if you did, it has nothing to do with whether you use balanced or unbalanced DAC to send signal to it. The two are different concepts (mixed up unfortunately due to terminology). So feel free to use D30 with THX, etc.
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2018
Messages
34
Likes
8
#4
Thanks for the clarification. I have seen multiple anecdotes floating around the internet about how you need a balanced DAC, connected to the balanced inputs of the AMP, to get the best results (I think one of them was from Zeos, this is why I consider that chap unreliable, he hardly understands electrical and electronics logic).
To me, by basic common sense, since a DAC converts digital to analog, being transparent is the most relevant quality it should have, post which the analog signal is passed on to the AMP. Does the concept of common vs isolated ground have anything of relevance to do here?
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
#5
Thanks for the clarification. I have seen multiple anecdotes floating around the internet about how you need a balanced DAC, connected to the balanced inputs of the AMP, to get the best results (I think one of them was from Zeos, this is why I consider that chap unreliable, he hardly understands electrical and electronics logic).
To me, by basic common sense, since a DAC converts digital to analog, being transparent is the most relevant quality it should have, post which the analog signal is passed on to the AMP. Does the concept of common vs isolated ground have anything of relevance to do here?
Balanced connections are great if you need to run very long runs of cables, 20 meters or more...
It may also help avoiding ground loop.
Generally though, from what I have gathered, in a typical HiFi setup, there won't be any real advantage of using balanced vs unbalanced connections.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2018
Messages
31
Likes
1
#6
Balanced connections are great if you need to run very long runs of cables, 20 meters or more...
It may also help avoiding ground loop.
Generally though, from what I have gathered, in a typical HiFi setup, there won't be any real advantage of using balanced vs unbalanced connections.
typical HiFi setup has ground loop. as soon as you connect USB input to the system, ground loop might occur. so it's best to get balanced.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/topping-dx7s-help.5559/#post-124036
 

maty

Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2017
Messages
184
Likes
35
Location
Tarragona (Spain)
#7
Joined
Dec 8, 2018
Messages
18
Likes
3
#8
typical HiFi setup has ground loop. as soon as you connect USB input to the system, ground loop might occur. so it's best to get balanced.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/topping-dx7s-help.5559/#post-124036
I believe that post was in regards to USB powered devices. That is not necessary a typical HiFi setup. I use a raspberry DAC with the Allo Boss and a linear power supply, and also an RME ADI-2 Pro, with quite a few other (vintage) components (preamp, active crossover, separate amps...), and I have no ground loop issues at all. I must be running at least 20 meters of RCA cables in between all these devices.
 
Top Bottom