Originally Posted by qusp
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.