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Unbalanced DAC & Balanced Amp

NomadicInfluence

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Hello all--

First-time poster, long-time lurker. Am hoping I can get some advice. I have a pair of Audeze LCD-2 classics and I just upgraded the cable from 1/4" to balanced. I also just ordered a Schiit Magnius because my current amp only offers a single-ended output.

My question is whether I will not be enjoying the full benefit of these upgrades because my DAC--SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II--does not offer balanced outputs? As a side note, I also ordered a Nobsound Little Bear MC3 (link) so I can switch between my headphone and speaker amplifier (I intend to connect the SMSL DAC to this switch via RCA, then connect the switch to the Magnius via XLR).

I am open to ordering a Modius but wanted to get some advice as to whether that was necessary given this set-up. All thoughts much appreciated.
 

Veri

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Hello all--

First-time poster, long-time lurker. Am hoping I can get some advice. I have a pair of Audeze LCD-2 classics and I just upgraded the cable from 1/4" to balanced. I also just ordered a Schiit Magnius because my current amp only offers a single-ended output.

My question is whether I will not be enjoying the full benefit of these upgrades because my DAC--SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II--does not offer balanced outputs? As a side note, I also ordered a Nobsound Little Bear MC3 (link) so I can switch between my headphone and speaker amplifier (I intend to connect the SMSL DAC to this switch via RCA, then connect the switch to the Magnius via XLR).

I am open to ordering a Modius but wanted to get some advice as to whether that was necessary given this set-up. All thoughts much appreciated.
The Magnius is excellent when used from the balanced output so good thing you got that balanced headphone cable.
A balanced DAC is not a necessity. It will double the input voltage so will make things louder. But the XLR headphone output will be proper differential balanced either way. Not a worry.
 
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Jose Hidalgo

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Hi. We are currently talking about balanced vs. unbalanced in this thread. :)

The general scientific consensus (remember we are on ASR) seems to be that balanced provides higher output and NO audio improvements at all for headphone use, provided the DAC and the amp are already good enough (noise-free, etc.). Balanced may be useful for extremely power-hungry headphones that the amp wouldn't be able to drive to comfortable listening levels in unbalanced mode.

Besides higher output, it's true balanced has other advantages vs. unbalanced... but not for headphone use. Balanced may start being useful for awful lenghts of cable that are never reached in headphone use. Besides, balanced also has some drawbacks. This article describes quite accurately the differences, and debunks some myths such as slew rate.

Bottom line : for headphone use, if there were objectively AUDIBLE differences between balanced and unbalanced, I'd gladly order balanced cables and balanced amps. But there don't seem to be any. :confused:
 
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