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Topic: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

Wondering if anyone knows the best way to get a balanced connection between my HD800S and my ADI-2. The balanced cable that comes with the HD800S is a single 4.4mm connection. Is there a way to convert the 4.4mm to dual 1/4" while still balanced and without any quality loss? Or do I need to get a new cable?

Looks like balanced HD800S cables are not cheap so would rather convert if possible, not sure if such a converter even exists though. Seeing a lot of similar conversions on amazon but not this conversion specifically. Looks like Moon audio sells the cable for $485 on up, or Arctic cables sells them for about $200.

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

If you're in the USA ping Blue Jeans Cable. They made one for my HD650 (into standard 3 pin XLR).

3 (edited by KaiS 2020-09-01 11:14:40)

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

If you ask me:
- I do own both Sennheiser HD800 (largely modded) and HD800S (unmodded, all original) -
it's not worth the effort.

ADI-2 has so much power (330mW at 300 Ω) unbalanced it can drive the HD800 close to it's max. allowed power (500mW) without overheating and breaking it.
The resulting level is 120 dB SPL, balanced it's just only 6 dB more, but with the possibility to fry the HD800.

BTW: HD800 is not capable of delivering 120dB without extreme distortions, HD800S can do even less, in the bass.


Soundwise I can't hear the slightest difference if I do listen at the same level.

My guess is, all the people telling about how much better balanced sounds compared to single ended, simply listening at higher level balanced.

This makes kind of sense with weak amps, but not with any of the ADI-2 models.

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Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

Thanks for the response. I actually emailed sennheiser and they said if I wanted the balanced operation I'd need a new cable. They linked to one by ZY cables on amazon for $150, and also mentioned moon audio.

I saw the thing in the manual for the ADI-2 pro about balanced mode being optimized for "more fidelity" rather than more power, raising the SNR from 117db/120dba to 120db/123dba, but I'm typically not one to listen super loud, plus I don't typically have a "golden ear", so if you don't hear a difference I doubt I would either.



KaiS wrote:

If you ask me:
- I do own both Sennheiser HD800 (largely modded) and HD800S (unmodded, all original) -
it's not worth the effort.

ADI-2 has so much power (330mW at 300 Ω) unbalanced it can drive the HD800 close it's max. allowed power (500mW) without overheating and breaking it.
The resulting level is 120 dB SPL, balanced it's just only 6 dB more, but with the possibility to fry the HD800.

BTW: HD800 is not capable of delivering 120dB without extreme distortions, HD800S can do even less, in the bass.


Soundwise I can't hear the slightest difference if I do listen at the same level.

My guess is, all the people telling about how much better balanced sounds compared to single ended, simply listening at higher level balanced.

This makes kind of sense with weak amps, but not with any of the ADI-2 models.

5 (edited by KaiS 2020-09-01 11:16:16)

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

Still I don't suggest that it's worth the effort but for those interested:

didn't you get a 2nd cable with 4-pin XLR with your Sennheiser HD800S?

All that's needed would be an adapter.
The adapter should be much cheaper, as the XLRf-4pin + 2pc 1/4' jacks cost just 12€ if Neutrik plugs are used.


I found this info on reddit:

...the (XLR) cable is now an optional accessory. There should be an order sheet in the box that you can use on the online store to get the balanced cable for free.

Here's what Sennhieser told me: "XLR cable is a rare cable used by very few of our customers and hence it was replaced by a vo ucher for all interested end users."

Also, when trying to get it from the store, you'll find that item number 505636 (the cable with silver connector) is out of stock, this is because it's being phased out. Search for 566287 instead, which is the new cable with black connector.


If you have the order sheet, I'd suggest to order that cable anyway, as you can see it's worth some 100 bucks, and the main reason to do so:
The original Sennheiser cable tends to break, the isolation close to the headphone connector side may start to sheed off.
I guess it's mistreated during manufacturing by too much heat to straighten the originally curling.

6 (edited by tm 2020-07-12 07:47:11)

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

Yeah they changed that. Apparently they used to include the v-o-u-c-h-e-r (for some reason this forum doesn't like that word) but they don't anymore since now you get the 4.4mm pentaconn balanced cable. According to the email from their customer service (and I quote):

"Using an adapter on the 4.4mm Pentaconn will not maintain the balanced connection."

7 (edited by KaiS 2020-07-12 07:58:35)

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

tm wrote:

"Using an adapter on the 4.4mm Pentaconn will not maintain the balanced connection."

If the adapter is wired correctly this isn't true.
Might be a bit a problem to find a female 4.4mm Pentacon to built the adapter.

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Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

Interesting. Can't say I'm shocked customer service was wrong about that. I'm not finding 4.4 to dual 6.35 but there is 4.4 female to xlr male on amazon so it seems possible. Maybe could get a converter custom made, or convert 4.4 to xlr then xlr to dual 6.35 (if it's ok to do 2 conversions like that). Probably going to take your advice though and not put the effort into it.

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

tm wrote:

Wondering if anyone knows the best way to get a balanced connection between my HD800S and my ADI-2. The balanced cable that comes with the HD800S is a single 4.4mm connection. Is there a way to convert the 4.4mm to dual 1/4" while still balanced and without any quality loss? Or do I need to get a new cable?

Looks like balanced HD800S cables are not cheap so would rather convert if possible, not sure if such a converter even exists though. Seeing a lot of similar conversions on amazon but not this conversion specifically. Looks like Moon audio sells the cable for $485 on up, or Arctic cables sells them for about $200.

I had a Teac UD-503 that has a similar balanced setup (dual 1/4").  I bought cables from Surf Cables.  I think $100 is reasonable compared to the cost of the RME + HD800S.

"1x Custom products - Teac UD503 (dual 1/4) to HD700 6 ft. std cable for $110.00 each Subtotal : $110.00 USD"

It looks like custom cables for a Mytek DAC would also work, the pinouts are the same.

RME - https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru … png.67758/
Mytek - https://mytekdigital.com/download_libra … Wiring.pdf

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

HI, I am using 600Ohm Beyer T1 1st gen. I heard difference when I went to balance. I have cut the original cable and placed 2x Neutrik 6,3 connectors, soldering I made using WBT800 soldering tin (best on the market imho).
Now I have 800S on my way. I plan to use XLR connection. 2x Furutech 6,3 jack and female XLR conn. I will use Van den Hul MCS silver wire (usualy used for phono stages) and make an adapter. My DAC is ADI 2 Pro AE.

Re: Question about HD800S with ADI-2 Pro BE

tm wrote:

Thanks for the response. I actually emailed sennheiser and they said if I wanted the balanced operation I'd need a new cable. They linked to one by ZY cables on amazon for $150, and also mentioned moon audio.

I saw the thing in the manual for the ADI-2 pro about balanced mode being optimized for "more fidelity" rather than more power, raising the SNR from 117db/120dba to 120db/123dba, but I'm typically not one to listen super loud, plus I don't typically have a "golden ear", so if you don't hear a difference I doubt I would either.



KaiS wrote:

If you ask me:
- I do own both Sennheiser HD800 (largely modded) and HD800S (unmodded, all original) -
it's not worth the effort.

ADI-2 has so much power (330mW at 300 Ω) unbalanced it can drive the HD800 close it's max. allowed power (500mW) without overheating and breaking it.
The resulting level is 120 dB SPL, balanced it's just only 6 dB more, but with the possibility to fry the HD800.

BTW: HD800 is not capable of delivering 120dB without extreme distortions, HD800S can do even less, in the bass.


Soundwise I can't hear the slightest difference if I do listen at the same level.

My guess is, all the people telling about how much better balanced sounds compared to single ended, simply listening at higher level balanced.

This makes kind of sense with weak amps, but not with any of the ADI-2 models.

I also have an HD800S and I went through the same balanced/unbalanced exercise.
I could detect no audible difference and the use of balanced was inconvenient for use with other headphone amps that I possess.
I now only use the unbalanced mode with no regrets. There's lots of power.