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March 31, 2023, 06:39:00 PM

Author Topic: Newbie questions about "balanced"  (Read 647 times)

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Offline Rossputin

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Newbie questions about "balanced"
« on: January 26, 2023, 04:15:08 AM »
Hello all,
I'm quite new to most of this...

I have (and love) a Bottlehead Crack with Speedball

Just got Meze Empyrean headphones (slightly used) and find them very "warm" and with a little less detail and soundstage than I'd like and expect.

I'd like to run these headphones using balanced connection to a headamp based on advice from friends I trust and reading online.

As I read a little, I gather that some stuff is "true balanced" and some stuff is "pseudo balanced". Not entirely sure I understand and I won't ask you to explain but I'm wondering if 1) Mainline is "true balanced" and 2) whether you think the difference is important.

Also, do you think that IF some of the distortion issues I have are due to the Crack then the Mainline would likely eliminate the problem?

Also, I know this is the Bottlehead forum but if anyone has advice about great amp matching with my new headphones I'd love to hear it even if it might not be Bottlehead, though I'd love to stick with Bottlehead if it ends up making sense overall.

Thanks!
Ross in Denver

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Newbie questions about "balanced"
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2023, 04:43:35 AM »
Hopefully you aren't using the Empyrean headphones on your Crack, as that's not a great combination.  You will have boomy bass and some audible distortion because those are 32 ohm headphones and the Crack is really designed to work with headphones that are over 100 ohms.

The whole "true balanced vs. pseudo balanced" argument is poorly defined in technical terms.  According to someone on Reddit, the Mainline is true balanced, but according to a definition on a manufacturer's website, it's not.  I think what's important to say here is that we know how to make differential circuits and we know how marketable something like that would be, but we are very unlikely to sell anything like that in the future.

Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Rossputin

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Re: Newbie questions about "balanced"
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2023, 12:24:18 PM »
That's exactly what I've been doing and you describe perfectly why I've been unsatisfied with the sound.

My Sennheiser HD6XX sounded 90% as good as the Empyreans which surprised/disappointed me after I bought the Empyreans.

Thus the conversation we're having on the other thread about my looking at the Mainline!

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Newbie questions about "balanced"
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2023, 06:04:04 AM »
Oh yeah, you will definitely be happier with a Mainline or a SEX on those headphones. 
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline Rossputin

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Re: Newbie questions about "balanced"
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2023, 12:45:10 PM »
Can't believe this but a local guy was selling a Mainline on Craigslist (original, not 1.1, but you told me the differences were small) and I bought it yesterday for a very nice price. Listening now but my Empyreans have a TRS connector. I've ordered parts from PartsConnexion to build a really nice (solid silver wire) balanced cable for then. I really wonder if my ears will be good enough to hear a difference when I switch cables.