Balanced DAC for THX AAA 789 (is balanced even worth it)? + XLR WTF?

I’m awaiting delivery of a THX AAA 789 amp and the return of my T50RP MK3 that went in for a little lipo, along with some implants and a few voodoo sessions; Argons. Trève de plaisantries, I also asked for the balanced upgrade (because, why not) but now I need to get a balanced DAC to complete the ensemble. First, I have to confess; DACs doesn’t make me go from 6 to midnight. I watched Zeos review the Enoch2 Pro (by the end of which they elope to Vegas and got married) at 180$US is interesting but is the 789 so revealing that I’ll notice the 200$ DAC (not that higher prices means better). There’s also the Aune x7s that’s is balanced I think. Anyway, what do you think, any suugestions?

Also, can someone explain to me, why 4-pin xlr in the front ant 3-pin in the back? I’m building a headphone cable, do I terminate it with XLR 3 or 4 pin?

3pin if left and right for say speakers to be balanced. 4 pin is for headphones balanced. And a balanced source will widen the soundstage even more.

Su-8 is a good dac for the 789

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I also wait for the 789 and will buy the SMSL SU-8 at the end of august

but I wonder if I use my ifi xDSD occasionly as DAC (because of MQA support, bluetooth) and balanced line out over 3,5mm TRRS (s-balanced as ifi calls it) to a 3,5mm TRRS male to 2,5mm TRRS female adapter I have.
So I would need a cable like 2,5mm TRRS male to 2x 3PIN XLR male
Does this make sense?

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SMSL SU-8 is good, Zeos Recommends the Geshelli Labs Enog Pro 2, slightly cheaper and he said it was better.


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not cheaper for europeans, if you pay shipment, taxes, etc.
DSD support is missing
no remote control…

I prefer SMSL SU-8 for 210 Euros and Amazon Same Day Prime Shipping

have a look:

for balanced the SMSL SU-8 is a bit better performing

Something like that, no adapters needed. From ifi direct to 789

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Martin_Lesch didn’t know that, I live in Europe and have been looking for a balanced DAC as well, cheers.


If you want very good measured performance at a reasonable price you could get the Topping D70 for a balanced DAC. But objectively speaking, the largest benefit to having a balanced line level (DAC) connection is noise reduction (great for long cable runs). Balanced Headphone amplification will give you maximum power output for compact devices. Some devices may sound better when using balanced, but there’s no guarantee.

The Benchmark team had an interesting article on why they don’t include balanced amplification on their products
Benchmark’s Take on Balanced Headphone Amplifiers

Also I wouldn’t get the Enog2 pro because it doesn’t have USB.

Wow, this thing even has bluetooth? Nice!
(Sorry, out-of-context comment, but I was interested by the D50 already.)

I’m pretty sure the D70 doesn’t have bluetooth. I wish it did though. I’d probably upgrade from my D50.

That’s right, that’s what was bugging me about the Enog

D70 looks great from what I’m reading but we have a different definition of reasonable price (D70 = 499.99$US / 670.00$CDN)

What about the Massdrop X Grace Design SDAC Balanced? That’s my kind of reasonable, it’s got USB, SPDIF, SE 3.5mm Out and of course, Balanced out and from what I read, its a pretty clean DAC.

The SDACB isn’t out yet so I’d wait for reviews before buying one of those. The D70 was on mass drop earlier for 425. I would have picked it up if I didnt already have an SU-8.

Whoops. Apparently it was planned but they abandoned it.

The Grace Design DAC seems like it’s a good budget option. It may be a while before you can get it though. Personally, I don’t like how it doesn’t have an optical input.

The SDACB does have optical. It’s the new revision that isn’t out yet I think.

I’m wondering the same thing. I listen single ended through an EL Stack and everyone promises less noise when listening balanced but all the recordings I listen to are silent AF through the EL Stack. Maybe I can’t hear the noise? My ears aren’t sensitive enough? or maybe I’m just lucky enough to have wired my RCA’s in such a way that there is no noise.

If your amp is connected to your DAC with 1ft RCA cables, I don’t even think it’s scientifically possible to hear one millisecond of unwanted noise because of these RCA cables in your entire life.

Yeah you shouldn’t expect to hear any noise with short RCA cables. Balanced cables are really only necessary for very long runs or with microphones.

I have heard that it improves the overall sound and/or soundstage, do you find that to be correct?

I’m pretty sure Zeos claims that. But there’s no technical reason why that should be case. Also keep in mind balanced line level connections and headphone amplification are two separate things. If a device’s balanced outputs happen to sound better, it’s because it was designed that. I don’t have a balanced setup at the moment, but I will be upgrading after my 789 arrives.