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Why is so difficult to find an adapter???

mogwai78

Member
Jul 15, 2020
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Hi there, I've got a Ifi Zen and I'd like to try the 4.4mm pentacon imput. Why is that hard to find any 4.4mm balanced to 3.5mm cable/adapters???

Why one of the most famous cable makers such as Hart Cable have ALL their cables ended in 4pin mini male...???

I dont understand at all...

Anyone has an idea of some 4.4mm balanced to 3.5mm non balanced connectors??

I'm also interested to find 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm non balanced connector for my cowon plenue D2.

Thanks and peace.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I looked into those and found them a bit rare too - because they're new I suppose.
You'd better hope they don't just disappear like some things do!

EDIT: I meant the Pentaconn plugs weren't that common.
Perhaps mogwai you can say exactly what you would like to connect to what.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Presumably because a 3.5mm connection isn't balanced so why would you want to put it into something that is?
Likewise with your second question. If your cable terminates in a 3.5mm socket then just use the 3.5mm socket on the Cowan.
There is absolutely no point in these adapters which is probably why you cannot find them......
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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Presumably because a 3.5mm connection isn't balanced so why would you want to put it into something that is?
Likewise with your second question. If your cable terminates in a 3.5mm socket then just use the 3.5mm socket on the Cowan.
There is absolutely no point in these adapters which is probably why you cannot find them......
I see what you mean about the OP's specific question - I should have taken notice of that :rolleyes:
(I've edited my post to ask OP what he actually wants to do).

I was wondering about the Pentaconn connector itself (wondered about plugs to make your own XLR leads to use for the balanced output on that Zen DAC).
 
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mogwai78

Member
Jul 15, 2020
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I see what you mean about the OP's specific question - I should have taken notice of that :rolleyes:
(I've edited my post to ask OP what he actually wants to do).

I was wondering about the Pentaconn connector itself (wondered about plugs to make your own XLR leads to use for the balanced output on that Zen DAC).
So...how can I enjoy the 4.4mm balanced pentaconn with my 3.5mm non balanced headphone jack???

Likewise, How can I enjoy the 2.5mm balanced input with the same headphones?? It has to be some way, isnt it???

Or do I have to settle for not using balanced inputs...???

Thanks
 

Al ears

Moderator
So...how can I enjoy the 4.4mm balanced pentaconn with my 3.5mm non balanced headphone jack???

Likewise, How can I enjoy the 2.5mm balanced input with the same headphones?? It has to be some way, isnt it???

Or do I have to settle for not using balanced inputs...???

Thanks
Your headphones have to be wired with a balanced connector. If they aren't, and yours obviously aren't, the only way you can use those ports is to buy another pair of headphones that do come with a balanced cable and connector, unfortunately
 
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Al ears

Moderator
ok, thanks for the response....and does it woth it??
Sometimes yes, however it took me a good while to find a pair that actually sound better as a balanced headset than any that could better my reference set of normally connected via a 3.5mm socket set.
Having a balanced wiring arrangement doesn't necessarily mean they are going to be better headphones than unbalanced.
Anort3 is correct., in fact looking only at headphones that are balanced severely limits your choice.
 
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Gray

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You can't just judge headphones based on balanced connections or not. Is upgrading headphones worth it? Depends on the headphone and what you're looking for.
You're well into your headphones anort. Have you ever tried a balanced pair?
Rightly regarded as a pointless idea isn't it?

EDIT: Just seen that Al has addressed the question.
 

anort3

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Dec 8, 2019
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My HD600, HD650, Focal Elear and TH-X00 Ebony are all wired balanced. The TH-X00 has a fixed cable so the following isn't applicable without a hard modification.

First you need a balanced DAC fed into a balanced amp and then you need a balanced cable for the headphone. I have aftermarket cables for my Sennheisers and the Focals that terminate in 4pin XLR for use with my desktop headphone amps. Is there a difference? Maybe. It SEEMS that soundstage and separation are better with balanced vs single ended when doing A-B comparisons. Then the question becomes is it the cable, the connection or the amp. I can't answer that one. :)
 
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Al ears

Moderator
You're well into your headphones anort. Have you ever tried a balanced pair?
Rightly regarded as a pointless idea isn't it?

EDIT: Just seen that Al has addressed the question.
You're right Gray. The earphones I currently used are balanced and suit my Onkyo DMP very well but I am not convinced a more expensive set of unbalanced earphones might not be better still.
It's a bit like arguing the point regarding sealed-box and ported speakers.
 
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Al ears

Moderator
My HD600, HD650, Focal Elear and TH-X00 Ebony are all wired balanced. The TH-X00 has a fixed cable so the following isn't applicable without a hard modification.

First you need a balanced DAC fed into a balanced amp and then you need a balanced cable for the headphone. I have aftermarket cables for my Sennheisers and the Focals that terminate in 4pin XLR for use with my desktop headphone amps. Is there a difference? Maybe. It SEEMS that soundstage and separation are better with balanced vs single ended when doing A-B comparisons. Then the question becomes is it the cable, the connection or the amp. I can't answer that one. :)
You don't if using a digital music player that the OP was talking about as all the components you mention are included.
You seem to be referring to a headphone system rather than headphones to use with a DMP but the same principles apply I guess.
The inclusion of balanced circuitry within a DMP is there as an option but it doesn't guarantee the resultant sound is going to be better it simply gives another option in headphone choice.
 

anort3

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Dec 8, 2019
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The headphone has to be wired for a balanced connection. Then you need a cable that supports balanced. The most common is 4pin XLR for desktop use but the 4.4mm Pentacon is getting more common for portable headphones. I think the HD660S comes with a cable that terminates in one. Then you need a balanced amp ( some amps with 4pin XLR connections aren't truly balanced internally ) and you need that amp fed by a balanced DAC. Everything in the chain has to be balanced.
 

TrevC

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Jun 12, 2013
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There is no difference between balanced and unbalanced regarding sound quality in a hifi system. Balanced cables are only of benefit with very long input cables in a studio context where they cancel hum and cable handling noise on microphones etc.
 
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plus 1

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Dec 5, 2019
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There is no difference between balanced and unbalanced regarding sound quality in a hifi system. Balanced cables are only of benefit with very long input cables in a studio context where they cancel hum and cable handling noise on microphones etc.
may i ask why do you think, literally, all hi-end / expensive cd players and integrated amplifiers seem to include this (xlr) connection option ?
 

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