I Have This Idea....

...for the Drop Studio folks. WHAT IF we assembled an entry level kit for a balanced headphone set up? I mean. I think a fair number of peeps would welcome a starter kit that includes a balanced dac/amp,(see Topping), the right headphone cable to do balanced cans, and.... GET THIS..... the correct connect cables for balanced INPUT. I believe there are a bunch of folks that really don't know how to go about setting up a balanced rig and are hesitant about buying a balanced amp because they don't know the direction to go as far as purchasing kit to get rolling with it. I know it was a little daunting for me at first, and seemed pretty expensive, and I got headphones that included a balanced cable that I didn't have a rig for, and and and. So maybe we could cook up a nice little balanced kit that doesn't break the bank, maybe add an option to buy a Drop collab set of headphones, DEFINITELY include at the base cost the proper input cables and a proper balanced headphone cable for various cans and have options like what headphone connectors you need etc. etc. Or purchase the components separately if you want, instead of the kit as a whole.At least then people would have the pieces and parts offered to them that may have puzzled them before. Learning how to build a balanced rig is cool and enjoyable....for some people. Like, I relax myself by working with my audio gear, re-building turntables, re-furbing vintage speakers. Modding headphones. But. I don't think everybody who might really want to experience Balanced has the time or inclination to get gritty building a rig. And maybe newbies to balanced don't want to invest so much cash to try something that maybe they won't, ultimately, feel like investing the time and cash in for deeper exploration. It just seems like something marketable and something that may really be a help to folks just venturing into a deeper audiophile world. Whattya Think?

Nice idea Tiffany! Thanks for posting this. It's a good idea, we've discussed/debated doing this for a long time. That said, we haven't done it, so why? Because at the highest level, the community doesn't care about balanced (enough). Through our analysis of millions of posts across Drop and external communities, we found there are basically two audiences for amps/dacs. One audience cares about measurements, they're motivated exclusively by experiences you can represent with broadly understood measurements and graphs (FR, S/N, etc). The other audience only cares about the audio experience, they value analog technology, circuit designs that prioritize non-standard metrics (impulse response impact, 2nd or 3rd order harmonic distortion, etc). "Balanced" technology occupies a weird space because it doesn't fit into the value system of either audience. The measurement people would rather spend their money on technology that has a bigger impact on the measurements they value. The experience people would rather spend on technology that offers a unique experience. Balanced technology has it's own audience, but it's not sufficiently large (roughly 10% of the audiophile audience we analyze) to justify our development time and dollars. So, can we justify spending the time/money on a dedicated balanced starter kit project beyond other intro dac/amp projects? Not really. That said, we are working on new entry-level DAC/Amp combos to be released in 2020, and we're trying to make the system fully balanced, but it's unclear if we can achieve that with our target product cost.
Appreciate your reply! and I get it. As a member of The Experience People, I totally understand how the market doesn't really support Balanced. I think Balanced tends to be the province of folks who enjoy the experiment and tweeking our own gear. The niche just doesn't support the effort. It will be interesting to see what happens with 2020!
Dec 26, 2019
That sounds like spoon feeding. I guess is not all that hard to figure it out yourself and a move like that will narrow everyones focus to budget oriented kit fixing. A bad move, overall, for the sake of savings some lazy noob. I don't think that's the purpose of this sort of community.
Dec 28, 2019
I don't defend anything, as I don't encourage it neither, I just put things in balance, that's all. You know, in a world that's subject to change by any ordinary, it's a sin to say it can't or shouldn't be done, for not all progress is actual progress. Anyway, good luck in bundling things, who am I to oppose it, anyway :).
I gotcha, always appreciate the folks playing devil's advocate in our community : )
What does the entry kit look like for y’all?
Dec 27, 2019
There's room to put a DAC module inside the AAA 789. A good starting point would be the AAA 789 with a integrate DAC module and the 6xx. Add a USB cable and perhaps instructions based on platforms (PC vs MAC)
Not a fan of combined units for my own purpose but I get the appeal and user experience aspect. I just like swapping stuff without affecting other pieces nor having unused features. Think this is a good idea for newer users.
Dec 24, 2019
Cool idea. Sound signatures would still vary as the audio source would differ by user. I get where you are going, though....to get the best sound one needs to look at the audio chain in its entirety.
yes. and then there's always SUBJECTIVITY. where I am really aiming is just that many people don't know how to set up a balanced rig, they don't even know what they need to do that. So making a kit available that has everything needed to get started would be cool. If peeps then want to upgrade anywhere along the chain of components, they could do that as they go along. And having a kit that does make it good to begin with, having parts that are complimentary all along the chain,(as you say), will make that kit a best bang for the buck. This community is very fertile with people who have a lot to say about their own experiences. I see such a kit as a jumping-off point that then, as people evolve their own versions of that rig as they mod and upgrade, can become a better animal as people share their journey, maybe even ultimately grows a DROP STUDIO part 2, as we've seen with some other items. The Fostex offering immediately comes to mind.....