Balanced does matter doesn't it?

I keep hearing balanced doesnt matter. But it does with certain headphones doesnt it? i just cancelled my 789 for the 888 and i think i made a big mistake. I was watching Zeos video about Mr Speakers Ether 2 and he says that the headphone sounds much better on balanced, says soundstage, imaging and tonality all improves dammit:

It really depends on the amp tbh. Also with iems balanced does make a noticeable difference most of the time. Only on a few headphones have I heard balanced make a significant difference. I mean I don’t know why you decided to cancel your order

Balanced doesn’t magically fix the shortcomings of an amp. Some are way better single ended, and many don’t offer balanced at all. Finally getting to use the 789 after it was delivered this morning, and so far the balanced out doesn’t blow me away by any stretch

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I think with the Ether 2s, they benefit from additional power and in a lot of cases the balanced output gets more juice than the single ended. I still don’t know that it would fix those headphones though. Mr Speakers does better with closed backs in my opinion


You also have to take into account that the ether 2 is only 16 ohms and will be very sensitive to an amp’s output impedance, so the reason why z might think balanced sounds better is because the amps he is using may have a lower output impedance and it will deliver more power. Also with the mrspeakers ether headphones, the cable has been known to change the sound, with the vivo cable being better than the others. Another thing too is that if you have a balanced amp, it will most likely sound better out of it’s balanced output because the designers of the amp typically put more care into the balanced section of their amps. There are too many variables that affect the sound for each amp so that’s not really an equal way to assess balanced vs unbalanced. You would have to have two amps that are essentially equal in sound quality but one would be balanced and the other would be single ended.


I have avoided the balanced output thing for a while now simply because i did not have any headphones worthwhile enough to make the investment. Truth is i still don’t so really lucked out, i am curious though about how worthwhile a balanced feed to IEM’s is.

lol rofl HAHAAHAHAHA :rofl::joy::crazy_face:

ok, drop was taking forever to deliver and i hated my amp. on top of that the 800 was cheaper with a newer chipset. also i didnt know the balanced was unpowered. i thought it was the same as the 789

Yeah, so with the 789 and the 887, the single ended output does not sound as good as the balanced, because they put more care into the balanced output. It’s not really a good comparison. Perhaps something like the sp200 might be a bit better idea to compare as both the single ended and balanced put out the same power and sound quality for the most part.

oh god, now its cables too? someone help me :man_facepalming:

I don’t know if the 789 is the Drop amp that has the SE issue. I think it’s the Liquid Carbon that was the one with the significant issue. So far I’ve been going back and forth with all three outputs on the 789 without any real noticeable difference.

Ok, so that typically isn’t the case. The ether 2 is just a particularly picky headphone. Like 95% of the time the cable shouldn’t matter if its a decent quality cable

I don’t think it’s an issue, but I can tell going from the single ended output to the balanced output that the balanced output clearly has more driving power and is the better quality out (when volume matched). I was mainly just trying to illustrate that a balanced amp will typically have more care and a higher quality output from their balanced out as the single ended out often doesn’t have as much care put into it. The 789 and 887 are both solid from any out, I just notice that extra difference on the output that they had more care put into (the balanced output). I think if you had more single ended headphones and wanted a thx, the sp200 would actually be a better choice imo

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ok that makes sense. I remember seeing a review of the LCX that said the SE was actually bad and not to get it if you weren’t running balanced. It may have been Zeos, but I can’t remember

Yes, that is true for sure. You can tell the se was an afterthought on that amp. The single ended output of the 887 is nowhere near that bad.

I mean I did plenty of comparisons and I maybe there was a perception of some difference… but it would be incredibly hard to pin down.

As far as the differences between the SP 200 vs 887/789… Both the 887/789 use the THX 788 chipset in a balanced configuration (two of those chipsets). So when you run them single-ended, it only uses one of those chipsets, as a single chipset can run STEREO.
A single THX 888 chipset is designed ONLY for MONO output. So it HAS to be configured in a balanced configuration for stereo output. So unlike the 887/789, the single ended output on the SP200 HAS to draw from the balanced output of the chipset to output a stereo signal…
None of the THX amps are “truly” balanced in the sense they stay balanced from end-to-end.


Oh boy, now you bring up the argument of balanced in it’s entirety. For now, we have only been talking about a balanced output for headphones, but not a fully balanced signal or components lol

ok so whats the cheapest good full balanced amp

Probably a diy project somewhere, idk what tho. I think the SMSL SAP-9 was actually fully balanced and only cost like 100 bucks. I mean the Loxjie P20 is technically fully balanced. Just because something is fully balanced does not make it better than other amps

I think the Loxjie p20 is truly balanced from end-to-end but I don’t believe it’s as good as any of the THX amps.

Both statements are correct lol