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Topic: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones? (Read 457 times) previous topic - next topic
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Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

I am really confused about all this "balanced" stuff. I know that its supposed to reduced noise but how exactly can I use it? I have V-Moda M100 Master headphone which are connected via 3.5mm and my FiiO Q3 DAC supports 2.5mm, 3.5mm and 4.4mm. If I wanted to change to 4.4mm, would a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter be enough? Or do I need a whole 4.4mm cable and how would I even plug this into my 3.5mm unless its a male 4.4mm to 3.5mm female cable?

I wanted to change to 4.4mm since it should sound best according to specs and also has the sturdiest plug with its size but I am not quite sure if my way is efficient or how it should work.

I do sometimes have issues with noise and pops, which might be due to the unbalanced 3.5mm port on my DAC. I know that my headphone cord has a 3ring 3.5mm cord but thats about it. I know the rings are supposed to show some specs about all this stuff but generally I guess I am too much of a laie to get any of this balanced and unbalanced stuff.

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #1
For low impedance outputs, balanced wiring is not of much use in terms of signal quality. The major benefit ist the possible doubling of output voltage which means four times the output power.

I am very sure that your pop and noise problems are caused by another issue.

Balanced cabling is especially important for microphones because they deliver a voltage of a few millivolts. The cabling can be tens of meters long, when you have a large sound field like an orchestra.

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #2
Quote
Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?
No, because the balanced connection can't have a common ground.    It needs two signal-wires to each side.

The main "advantage" to a balanced headphone connection is that the two out-of-phase signals double the voltage for 6dB more volume.    But, the amplifier could just be built with a higher-voltage power supply.   

With power amplifiers this is called a "bridged" output.     Sometimes amplifiers have a bridge option to convert a stereo amp to bridged mono amplifier.    

It's also common with car stereo amplifiers where the power supply is limited to 12V, although high-power car amps have a built-in voltage booster circuit.    

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #3
Hm. Maybe it is indeed not the cause of the noise and interference...

Interesting that I could get higher dB gain from this though. But is it healthy to use this adapter or could it cause damage to the hardware?

I talk about something like this:
https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Geekria-Balanced-Compatible-NW-ZX300A-TA-ZH1ES/dp/B075165H2M

My headphone connector into the DAC is TRRS btw if it matters. But the one going into the headphone itself is TRS.

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #4
Quote
Interesting that I could get higher dB gain from this though. But is it healthy to use this adapter or could it cause damage to the hardware?
You can't "adapt" to the TRS connector because it's only 3-wires with a shared ground.  The balanced connection requires a pair of wires to the left driver and a separate pair of wires to the right driver.    If the headphone isn't designed for it, they'd have to be modified & re-wired.

Quote
But is it healthy to use this adapter or could it cause damage to the hardware?
You would be shorting two signal wires together so I don't know if you'd damage the headphone amplifier.   And, you wouldn't have a balanced connection.

If you want to go louder, a higher-power headphone amplifier is an easier solution, or more-sensitive headphones.

Balanced headphones are "non-standard", they require a special connector and a special amplifier and there is no real advantage...  There are easier ways to get "louder".

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #5
My headphones do have 3.5mm jacks on BOTH cups though connecting one is to be enough to get sound. So you say I could add another 3.5mm cable to the other side, plug this into the previously mentioned 4.4mm adapter and then I could have balanced audio? My V-Moda cable that came with the headphone has actually another 3.5mm connector female slot. Is that exactly for this purpose?

Here is a picture of the other connector on my cable: https://i.imgur.com/sZ6X7aT.jpeg

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #6
Sorry for double post. But would this cable here also work?: https://m.de.aliexpress.com/item/32921896835.html

The only cable seller I found that has something like this...

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #7
This is not FiiO Q3? Looks more like K3 based on pictures I can find on Google.

Specifications:
Headphone Out 1: 3.5mm single-ended output
Headphone Out 2: 2.5mm TRRS balanced output

4.4mm is not mentioned anywhere?

Anyway, your problem with noise and pops has nothing to do with balanced and unbalanced cables/plugs.
Guys above gave you great explanation on how this works.

Your headphones are very easy to drive. Only 32 ohms. It's not like you are pushing the amplifier to its limits so there should be no noise.
If you have lots of noise, then your power supply is bad (bad grounding?) or you have lots of interference.

About popping problem. I guess this is happening only when there is silence. Many sound cards have this problem.
They basically "shutdown" when there is nothing playing and then you hear loud pop when any sound starts playing.
gold plated toslink fan

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #8
This is not FiiO Q3? Looks more like K3 based on pictures I can find on Google.

Specifications:
Headphone Out 1: 3.5mm single-ended output
Headphone Out 2: 2.5mm TRRS balanced output

4.4mm is not mentioned anywhere?

Anyway, your problem with noise and pops has nothing to do with balanced and unbalanced cables/plugs.
Guys above gave you great explanation on how this works.

Your headphones are very easy to drive. Only 32 ohms. It's not like you are pushing the amplifier to its limits so there should be no noise.
If you have lots of noise, then your power supply is bad (bad grounding?) or you have lots of interference.

About popping problem. I guess this is happening only when there is silence. Many sound cards have this problem.
They basically "shutdown" when there is nothing playing and then you hear loud pop when any sound starts playing.


Oh. I have several DACs. Yes, the one I have connected in the picture is the K3 but I have a Q3 too. Was just trying to figure out where the noise is coming from.

These DACs have no power supply and work over USB. Maybe I could try the front panel of my PC though now that you say it.

 

Re: Can you use a 4.4mm male to 3.5mm female adapter to balance 3.5mm headphones?

Reply #9
Nvm. I was able to fix the noise. I used my front USB Panel and also changel to ASIO instead of WASAPI. Definitely cleaner and better now. I will probably still get a balanced cable for my headphones since I would like to try it and generally balanced connections seem to be better than just single ended 3.5mm.

 
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