Balanced output into unbalanced headphones?

Hi. I’m a bit of a noob when it comes to wiring/current/phisics/whatever.

I have a pair of DT1990s which - without heavy modding - can’t be wired for balanced (afaik). My question is simple: can I use an adapter to plug them into the balanced output of my amp?

I understand I’m not getting the full benefits of a balanced signal this way. The reason I want to do it is because the signal coming out of the balanced output is much cleaner than that coming out of the unbalanced output. Or would that, too, be negated by the headphones not being wired for balanced?

The other reason I’m asking is because I don’t want to damage my headphones - or is that also a baseless assumption?

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No, unless you spend for a higher end transformer box, otherwise most adapters will damage both the headphones and the amp


No, not without potentially damaging the amp, you will be shorting the output of the amp.
Unless as @M0N says you use a Dibox or similar.

Well, there’s the rare quirky “balanced” design that does let you plug in either type of headphone cabling, like iFi’s “S-Balanced” output they have on their nano iDSD BL, xDSD, xCAN, hipDAC and the Pro iDSD and Pro iCAN, but otherwise if a manufacturer doesn’t explicitly say in their leaflets for the amp that you can do this, don’t do this. “Standard” differential balanced-output amps don’t support this.

Damn, quick responses! :smiley:

Thanks guys. I’ll stick with the quarter inch then. It’s not really a huge issue or anything, mostly I was just curious.