Question Balanced XLR cable for Headphones - Benefits?

RobSys

Active member
Jul 22, 2022
8
7
25
Hi all...

I'm using the Klipsch HP-3 Heritage headphones through an IFI iDSD Signature dac/amp.

I'm wondering if there's any (audible) benefits to be obtained in purchasing a balanced (XLR) cable?

Any thoughts would be appreciated...

Rob :unsure:
 

Friesiansam

Well-known member
I don't have personal experience, my headphone amp lacks a balanced output but, based on what I have read, balanced output is always worth trying and, will usually sound better than unbalanced.
 
I would agree, if I had the facility I would use it even though it's probably only beneficial in long cable runs, however I don't think I would spend a fortune non the cable itself
See:-
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
IFI iDSD Signature dac/amp.
Your amp features ifi's 'S-balanced' arrangement - which they modestly say, could only have been invented by a genius 🙂

It actually does look like more than a gimmick - designed to bring benefits to your unbalanced output - and as such may well narrow the difference between balanced and unbalanced (when compared to other amps).
But you would be the judge of that.

I may be wrong, but it looks like your headphones use the mini XLR plugs.
If you can use a soldering iron, it's worth noting that high quality Pentaconn and mini XLR connectors are relatively inexpensive (at least now - when I first searched for a Pentaconn plug, the cheapest was £116....I got it for around £6 eventually).
You'd just need some thin, durable cable.

Main point is that, no matter how much any ready- made cable costs, it cannot possibly sound any better than one you could make yourself for £25, maybe less.
Though looking at the cost of your h/p and amp, I doubt money saving is your top priority 😉
 

RobSys

Active member
Jul 22, 2022
8
7
25
Thanks people...! I'll save up for having an XLR cable made up. The headphones use 1/8 inch connectors at both ends (one for each channel) so it's a "special" in any case. The cost is going to be around BPS 200 so it'll be a while....
 

ThisIsJimmy

Well-known member
Nov 11, 2020
290
120
2,070
Hi all...

I'm using the Klipsch HP-3 Heritage headphones through an IFI iDSD Signature dac/amp.

I'm wondering if there's any (audible) benefits to be obtained in purchasing a balanced (XLR) cable?

Any thoughts would be appreciated...

Rob :unsure:
In your case no. Some headphone amplifiers have balanced power circuitry which can double the output power over single ended which can help significantly with hard to drive headphones. For that to work you also need a balanced DAC. In this cases your IFI Signature offers "Balanced" connectivity without being "truly balanced" as it offers the same power and same circuitry as single ended connectivity. Balanced DAC and AMPS in some cases can cost signfificantly more than their single ended counterparts.
 

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