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XLR cable for HD6xx . Is it worth getting a balanced amp and cable for these headphones ?
I'm mainly leaning toward the schiit Jotunheim and the original ch650s cable since I read bad comments on aftermarket cable.
I already own a sound blaster G5 which should be powerfull enough to drive them. I know the Jot is a better quality but I'm still wondering if this would be worth the investement to go full balanced with these headphones.
I've got the same plan: I've ordered a pair of these and I plan on getting the Jotunheim. I haven't read anything suggesting you'll hear a difference using that amp's single output vs. balanced output, but the balanced output has so much power, that can only be a good thing, My point in getting a Jotunheim is that it will likely be the only headphone amp I'll ever buy, given all the power it has. Plus, the DAC option is upgradeable down the road. Also down the road, I can see myself owning three or four pairs of over ear headphones.
Unless it's a fully balanced design (which the Jot isn't), balanced output on Jot is only useful because of the much higher power output, which will definitely benefit the HD6XX. If you have other headphones, or plan to get other headphones that don't require so much power, stay with unbalanced output on the Jot as it will have less distortion.
Fully balanced amps are worth it, but ones with Jot's level of output are very expensive. If you're not planning to go fully balanced, or get the balanced DAC upgrade with the Jot, then the Valhalla 2 is the superior amp if you're intent on getting a Schiit.
My source is a PC. I would need a seperate DAC anyway with the Valhalla2. I was indeed planning to get the optionnal dac combo with the Jotunheim.
I dont understand the last thing you said; why would there be distortion on the balanced output ? Isn't it supposed to have a clearer and more detailed sound.
I presently use the AKG k7xx while waiting for the HD6xx. After this I dont think that I'm gonna buy a new pair of headphones for a very long time.
In a fully balanced amp, yes the sound can be better, but the jot isn't fully balanced, it creates the balanced signal from the unbalanced signal through a balanced transformer. Noise and distortion are added by doing this.
Still I would wholeheartedly recommend you use the balanced output as the HD6XX would certainly scale with the extra power it provides.
The Jot certainly isn't the best amp at this price point. But it makes a good value proposition for people entering into audiophile territory for the first time.
I see, thank you for the explanation.
'' The Jot certainly isn't the best amp at this price point. But it makes a good value proposition for people entering into audiophile territory for the first time. ''
Yes that's me. Is there something else you would recommend ? I took a look at the audio-gd product. The NFB-28 seems to have everything I need.
An optical input would be a plus because I could still be using my sound blaster G5 for gaming.
I'm only familiar with Audio-gd's high-end DACs, was interested in their old Reference range (replaced by Master 7 DAC), but decided to custom build my own. Don't know much about their amps, but from what people tell me, their NFB-28 is a very good product, costs quite a bit more than a decked out Jot though.
For a dedicated amp in the Jot price range, I would be looking at something single-ended by Violectric / Lake People. DAC wise you can afford to go cheap, the HD6XX scales better with power than with DAC, something like a JDSLabs ODAC would be better than the Jot DAC, but it won't have optical. Audiophiles generally do not use optical.
Your G5 would have line output doesn't it? So you could just use that directly into an amp's RCA, you'll need a 3.5 to RCA adaptor/cable for it to work though.
Also think about whether you really need software surround sound capabilities of the G5. Stereo tracks already have positional cues built into them. With a HD6XX you may not need virtual surround anymore because these are very capable headphones with good soundstage and imaging already.
Just wanted to give you my feedback on the 6XX with 4-pin XLR and the Jotunheim. I have this setup and it sounds just beautiful. I love music and I have a few nice cans like (Fostex TRP50 MK3, Hifiman 400i, Westone IEMs and a few SMSL dacs, ...). First off, the Jotunheim is a must buy. It is next level; if you can afford it (has a 5 year warranty and is built like a tank). Then when your visa has recovered. Without a shadow of a doubt get the XLR cable for the 6XX. I personally was a little disappointed with the 6XX and was about to sell them, I preferred my HifiMan 400i over the stock 6XX. So, I literally shelved the 6XX in my closet and I did a little more research. There is a funny and very honest youtuber Zeos at Z reviews. He tells it like it is and he was the inspiration for my buying the Jotunheim and he was right. Then on a few other of his videos he was dead set on XLR 4 pin making a difference in the sound signature and power delivery. So, what’s another $100 to experiment with cables – I could possibly return if it sucked or didn’t see a difference. I went on amazon and bought this silver XLR cable that looked nice. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010BXCOMW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 The difference in A/B (¼” vs 4pin XLR) listening is frankly ridiculously evident. Zeos was dead on. The difference was truly amazing. I just did it again right now before writing this post; swapped out the stock cable with the silver 4pin cable to remind myself of the delta in difference and yup… very different. I like arcade fire and know all their albums very well and the vocal clarity a just wow. The lows, the highs have so much presence that I was shocked at the difference. The 6XX became different headphones. really... the 6XX I wanted to sell...lol. The 6XX are now my daily drivers. I just ordered a 4Pin XLR for my 400i's on eBay to see if the difference is there in Planar headphones too. So although not cheap, if you truly love your audio, do it!
The only difference XLR would make on the Jot is extra power which would benefit the HD6XX. If you don't need the extra power, the single ended on this amp would be better because less distortion.
On a Valhalla or Lake People they would sound better on single ended as they have sufficient power to drive the HD6XX, and have less distortion.
That's very interesting. I finaly decided to buy the Jotunheim and I received it today, I'm experimenting it with my K7xx for the moment. So far I'm very satisfied. I can't wait to test it with the HD6XX when they get here. I'll definitly give a try to that cable you linked.
Thank you very much for your feedback. This is much appreciated.
What exactly do you mean when you say the Jot is not "fully balanced"? I assume that it's only not fully balanced without the optional balanced DAC, right? Although I suppose you might be able to use a separate balanced DAC as well.
Anyway, I'm under the impression it is possible to use the Jotunheim fully balanced.
I was wrong.
I'm more educated now and believe the Jot to be fully balanced. Usually when you have a fully balanced amp, the SE output should have identical power output to balanced, not the case for Jot. So I thought they must have a phase splitter, but instead they have a switching circuit for SE output that runs on one of the channels.
That makes the one of Jot the cheapest balanced amp I know of, there are better amps out there but this is quite a bargain. That said, I still believe the sonic improvements experienced going to balanced output is due to the extra power output, not crosstalk.
Thank you for your reply. So do you mean that besides the additional power obtained through the balanced output, there's no other benefit using it balanced? I thought that it also reduced the distortion.
Would using the Jot with a separate unbalanced DAC through the 4-pin XLR then be a sensible thing?
Balanced Jot reduces crosstalk distortion sure, but this makes little to no difference to most people. On the other hand with any balanced amplifier, more things can go wrong and you end up with more non-crosstalk noise than on single ended.
An external DAC, balanced or unbalanced won't make much of a difference. The $100 balanced DAC upgrade for the Jot is a good option mainly because it's cheap. But if you already have a DAC, most likely it will be better than Schiit's.
Better designed circuitry and better circuit components make a bigger difference than going balanced route. Some of the world's best headphone amps are single ended.
Personally I would just skip the Jot altogether, with that budget you could get a Lake People G103-S which is a much better amp. Or if you really wanted to go for the Schiit look, get the Valhalla OTL for your HD6XX.
I've heard and read very different things about the Jot so far. Why do you think it should be skipped compared to same-price competitors? And why do you think the DAC is inferior?
I like the Lake People amp, but I would like to have some more features and I also still need a DAC. I'm currently leaning towards balanced options also for future proofing, such as the Jot we talked about, and the Aune s6/x7s. Have you heard these as well?
Is there anything else you would recommend in the same budget range?
I've been listening to the Jot/dac combo for a few days now. I can tell you that it's totally worth it, you wont be disappointed if you pick this one.
I can hear the difference from my G5. It sound more pure I can hear the music the way it is supposed to be. Instruments seperation is noticeable and it's got ton of power. I can crank up the volume as much as I want without any distortion.
I've also been using it for gaming with razer surround and it does the same job as the G5.
Because Schiit is generally not well regarded in the Audiophille community. They do not sound good for the money you pay for them.
I mean, if you buy the Jot I'm 100% sure you will like the pairing, when you don't have a point of reference. If you had multiple products where you can compare side-by-side around the same price point, say a Lake People amp, an Aune amp, I guarantee you won't pick the Jot. Btw, the Aune amp doesn't have optimal power for the HD6XX, and Jot you'll need to spend another $70 on a balanced cable to get optimal power out of them.
Getting balanced does nothing for future proofing, it only increases price for some superficial benefits. I have been an audiophile for 10 years and spent more than $50k on gear, and I've never needed balanced.
Aune makes great gear, I have some of their Aune T1 (their entry amp), bought it after I compared it to the Schiit Magni/Modi. I know someone who had a flagship Schiit setup (Yggdrasil amp + Ragnarok amp), after he heard the Aune T1, he ended up selling all of his Schiit gear because it sounded just as good.
People like Schiit because they really excel at marketing themselves as good value, a lot of people buy their entry stuff and the population propagates upwards in the Schiit range. Lake People are less well known in the entry range, as they mainly focused on very high-end gear and now expanding to entry level. NwAvGuy constantly praised their products, saying you should always use a Violectric / Lake People amp as benchmark for everything else.