Is it worth spending the money to get a balanced DAC with the THX 789?

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So I currently have the Schiit Heresy and the Schiit Modi 3, and that worked until all of a sudden the left channel in whatever headphone I plugged into the Heresy wouldn't work (I think it may have been a static electricity issue). I troubleshot the headphones, DAC, audio source, cables, etc., but clearly, the problem was the Heresy. Because of this, I plan on returning the Heresy and use a Drop gift card I got for Christmas on the THX 789 to run with my Modi 3 single-ended. I am wondering if it is worth spending the money on a balance DAC to pair with the THX 789. I currently own the 6xx and the Sundara. I have read that balanced will provide incredible sound quality for both of these headphones, but is it worth it to spend the $300+ on a balanced DAC plus cables that a setup like this will require?
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allsmilesb
72
Dec 29, 2021
Just realize I never gave you an actual definitive answer. If you're Schiit dac still works I say no don't get the 789. Either just buy another Schiit heresy if you like sound or buy Schiit Magnius so you have matching stack then buy a Modius later on for more power when needed.
(Edited)
jklemmer08
30
Dec 29, 2021
Agreed, THX isn't worth it if you are just looking to drive your 6xx's, even with the current price drop. There are a lot of amps for around half that price - my favorite is the monoprice liquid spark, but Schiit makes very high quality stuff, and I don't own the Magni but I have a few other things from them and they are all great. Look up Alex Cavalli, he designed the liquid spark and he's well known for creating awesome high end amps.
jklemmer08
30
Dec 29, 2021
As @allsmilesb noted, having a balanced stack is not necessarily going to give you a huge boost in performance, most likely it will not be perceptible. It will help you get more power if you have hard to drive headphones. Where the THX amp differs from other amps is in it's ability to provide extremely "clean" sound, in that it does not color anything of the music that it amplifies - some people like that because they feel like it's a more accurate representation of the music, others might prefer a "warmer" sound but this is all very subjective kind of like comparing which beer is the best, it really depends on your tastebuds. The other thing to consider is price tag, is it "worth" it to get a balanced stack that will likely cost 2 - 3x more than the Schiit stack that you currently have, imho the answer to that question is a resounding "no" because once you get past a certain price point - $400 - $500 range in my experience - ROI falls off a cliff and the quality of sound increases much more incrementally to the point where you are paying hundreds more for differences that are barely perceptible. Bottom line: The most important component of your audio chain is your headphones, followed a distant second by your amp and then the DAC, if you don't have $2000 headphones you shouldn't be spending a ton for the rest. Hopefully this helps you in your decision making process.
allsmilesb
72
Dec 28, 2021
Balanced output is for power and to get cleanest audio possible. Balanced is different not better in a subjective matter. Objectively you have more power and better distortion levels then going rca which equals better unaltered source audio signal. However subjectively most SE outputs on dacs and amps of today have such a low distortion that it would be very hard to pinpoint the difference solely based on distortion levels when coming to sound. 789 specifically has enough power to drive both the Sundara's and 6XX out of the SE output. I don't have the Sundara's but I have 6XX with 789 running through SE output which is great. I do plan to go balance only because I plan to get harder to drive headphones so I am only looking for the power the balance provides. The 789 being a THX amp already has such low distortion levels that the power should be reason for going balanced if you are getting a 789. 6XX seems to be headphone that more power you give it does I would say the sound opens but I would say it is a difference rather than a improvement in sound. For example on high gain on the SE out put volume dial at 12 o'clock verse the volume dial at 3 o'clock the 6XX don't get louder but the vocals become brighter with more clarity and the midrange is emphasize more but past 3 o'clock the sound quality hits a wall and just becomes loud which hinders the sound. Now I still run the volume by default at 12 o'clock when listening the music as 6xx are warmer which is more my liken then at 3 o'clock but it also depends on the song.
(Edited)