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Old 14th September 2012, 06:41 PM   #11
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Connecticut
Originally Posted by qusp View Post
if you have a balanced source, why wouldnt you use a balanced amp? proper amp design will not see an increase in distortion, any decent amp will be able to deal with the lower effective impedance, nor will it see an increase in noise. a balanced amp when viewed in isolation will have slightly higher noise, but if you have to have a balanced to SE conversion take place beforehand, how is it you will see an increased noise level of the system with less components in the signal path of each phase?

bridged on the other hand I wouldnt bother, all cost with bugger all payoff. to do SE properly you have to take most of the same measures to ensure the headphone has a clean return path, the power supply still needs to be bipolar if you are doing bal-se with anything but a transformer, so no real savings there either.

Well, I'm actually designing the DAC as well, so there won't actually be any extra components if I convert to single-ended. I need (want) an active low pass filter anyway, whether it's a diff-to-SE configuration or inverting handling a single phase doesn't really matter.

When I say bridged I mean that the amplifier design would be the equivalent of 2 single ended amps driving the load, even though they are fed from a true differential source. I'm not talking a true fully differential amplifier although I guess I could use OPA1632 or some SuSy configuration to get that with op-amps.
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Old 14th September 2012, 06:45 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Connecticut
Originally Posted by cotdt View Post
I do notice a difference. Balanced sounds better when it comes to using the same amp modules (I've tried things from EL84 tubes to Beta22 to a assortment of other designs). Not sure why that is. My guess is the increased slew rate. We might want more slew rate than the simple math indicates.
Yeah I didn't want to get into the can of worms that is the subjective sound evaluation .

I'd have to agree with Steve that it's probably not the slew rate. There are headphone amps using current feedback devices like TPA6120 that have ridiculous slew rate by themselves, higher than almost all popular discrete designs.
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