Author Topic: Balanced Cables  (Read 309 times)

Offline Revv

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Balanced Cables
« on: July 05, 2018, 10:08:21 AM »
Is there anyone that can make up reasonably priced, good quality balanced cables to fit Sennheiser HD650's and/or Shure SRH1440's. I'm looking for the 4 pole 2.5mm jack plug at the player end.

Offline Steerpike

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2018, 10:57:52 AM »
A balanced cable on a headphone (or loudspeaker) does not make electrical sense. A headphone set has no absolute ground reference, so the concept of "balanced" is not defined.

Offline Revv

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2018, 12:09:35 PM »
Can't comment on that Steerpike, I certainly don't understand all the technicalities, but my Audio player has a balanced headphone output and reviews say that it sounds better through the balanced output, so i'd like to give it a try. At the end of the day, if it sounds better who cares, right?

Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2018, 01:43:26 PM »
A balanced cable on a headphone (or loudspeaker) does not make electrical sense. A headphone set has no absolute ground reference, so the concept of "balanced" is not defined.


Differentially driven?  A 4 connection system is used. 
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Offline Revv

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2018, 02:54:39 PM »
What I really want to know is where I might be able to get some?? Then I can decide for myself!

Offline chrisc

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2018, 04:04:18 PM »
What type of plug is used at the headphone end?  If its the same, then it would not be a big deal to make one.  How long do you want it?

Does the plug look like this?   
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Offline Hi-Phibian

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2018, 04:43:52 PM »








Just a few I have done.  Hd650 I can do.  The thing is the labour time and the Sennie connectors will be the main cost on a cheap one. 

You can cut the plug, fit 4 pin xlr or whatever is needed and Reterminate again if you donít like it.  That would be the cheapest. 
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Offline Revv

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2018, 07:47:38 PM »
The headphone end connectors are the small 2 pin Sennheiser connectors (on the HD650 obviously) on the Shures it's a little stubby single pin connector per side. On the player side it's a mini jack (2.5mm) but 4 pole. Cutting off the current jack and re-terminating with the mini jack is a great idea (sure I could manage that myself). If there really is much of a difference between balanced and normal, I will consider spending a bit and gatting decent cables. Thanks.

I know this is a can of worms, but in your experience do after-market (fancy) cables make a big difference for headphones?

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Offline Drifter

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2018, 07:57:41 PM »

I know this is a can of worms, but in your experience do after-market (fancy) cables make a big difference for headphones?


Can't comment on changing cables on Shure or Sennheiser but on my Audeze LCD2.2 I changed from the standard cable that they came with to an aftermarket Toxic Cable and I was pleasantly surprised.
The Sennheisers are great headphones and I think it will be money well spent to get Hi-Phibian to make up a decent set of cables.
Do one set first. Then you can decide if it is worthwhile.

Offline capetownwatches

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2018, 08:31:52 AM »
There are two issues here, the first being that you want to be able to take advantage of the additional power offered by your source's balanced output, the second being, will an aftermarket cable be a worthwhile investment in improved SQ?

In respect of the first, being able to use the balanced output should certainly result in an improved performance thanks to the benefits of "moar power!"
More power is always good.

The second issue is way more contentious, but easily solved by obtaining a decent cable from Hi-Phib.
I can guarantee that it will sound better to you, if only because of expectation bias.
But better is better, regardless of how you get there.

The new cable will also be shorter and thus more comfortable to use than the overlong stock one.

I use a custom Mogami Quad cable with my LCD2F, and I believe that it adds a little sparkle to the highs compared to stock.


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Offline chrisc

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2018, 10:19:03 AM »

I know this is a can of worms, but in your experience do after-market (fancy) cables make a big difference for headphones?


IMHO - No

But many will disagree.  Have a friend who maintains he can hear when a connector has been crimped or silver soldered.  I don't argue
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Offline xenithon

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Re: Balanced Cables
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2018, 07:11:34 AM »
Do they make a difference? Yes. Do they make a significant difference? No

A cable should be among the last pieces of the puzzle....a tweak of an already optimized system. This includes headphone rigs.

The balanced operation for me provides not necessarily more power, but rather more control over the drivers - more authority. Any changes in actual sound signature has more to do with the conductors and geometry of the cable itself.

Personally I also change cables for aesthetics and reduced microphonics.