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Please help me out guys.
If a headphone is in essence a pair of speakers on your head, how are they different than regular speakers. I'm not talking about the types of speakers but the supply to speakers. Those that make and sell aftermarket cords for headphones tout balanced, balanced, balanced and yet I've never heard or seen any push to make bookshelf or tower speakers balanced. Does not speaker cable run the same current as a headphone cable?


Don balanced cables will only do you any good of you have true balanced electronics to hook them into. Cables themselves are not balanced ot unbalance, but they can connect components that are designed with balanced (differential) circuit topography. So if you do not have balances electronics the cables will not do much for you.

I could go on further about balanced design advantages (mostly lower noise)  and disadvantages (mostly higher costs), but the Moon Audio web site does a good job explaining balanced design issues:


Thanks tmazz.
Thanks for the reading material. It still leaves a lot to discern.
How does one know if the equipment is truly balanced vs just having the connections?
And if dac to pre and pre to headphone amp are balanced but the headphone out isn't,
does that just screw up the whole balanced thing?
I think I'm going to stick with what I have and enjoy.


  One would know if balanced design from Manf. Second question , yes it screws it up.


Vincent Kars:
Traditionally we use a TRS to connect a headphone to an amp.
You can replace this by a TRRS connection so separate grounds for L&R
This is exactly how we connect our speakers to an amp and nobody calls this “balanced”.
This has of course nothing to do with “balanced” as we know it e.g. a 3 wire connection between and DAC and an amp where there is a hot, a cold and a ground.
At the receiver the hot and cold are compared and any difference is rejected (common  noise)

The reason why in de headphone world a normal 2 wire connection is called  “balanced” is probably because with a TRRS you can connect it to a balanced amp.
This is an amp requiring separate terminals for L&R
Using a "balanced" wire on a headphone won’t do you any harm, some even claim a small benefit (less crosstalk) but I haven’t seen any hard evidence.
In general the “balanced” out of a headphone amp doubles the power (2 amps per channel) but this might come at the expense of more distortion.

All the pro's of a balanced headphone amp: https://www.headphones.com/pages/balanced-headphones-guide
All the cons: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/audio-myth-balanced-headphone-outputs-are-better


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