Good Balance


#1

Just wanna’ stat that I appreciate the balance control on my DS DAC. Though able to control balance from my Cary SLP 05 preamp, the digital control is better, IME.


#2

Why do you need to use the balance control? I found out recently the reason that I had to use the balance control on my BHK Preamp was due to the new tubes installed in the preamp. I guess it’s better to eliminate the cause, even though I was told that using balance control will not affect the sound quality.


#3

Sometimes it’s not the equipment but the room. Still, always good to be sure it’s not the equipment, as I recently found out myself (in my case it was a cable).


#4

I listen to much classical orchestral and choral music, and find myself adjusting balance according to the recording’s soundstage. I listen for a solid center image and balanced width.

Some years ago, I owned a good preamp without balance control. The designer (a well-known audio manufacturer whose name shall go unmentioned) told me that he moves his listening chair rather than using a balance control. On his advice, I began doing the same. But later I bought a preamp with SOTA analog balance control which works well. But I now prefer to use the digital balance control in the Direct Stream DAC. I think it’s ideal. And much more convenient than moving the chair :slight_smile:


#5
jburidan said

Some years ago, I owned a good preamp without balance control. The designer (a well-known audio manufacturer whose name shall go unmentioned) told me that he moves his listening chair rather than using a balance control. On his advice, I began doing the same.


That was bad advice that you were given. Changing the relative distances between your head and each loudspeaker changes the relative timing of sounds from each side (by about 1 millisecond per foot) as well as the relative volumes. The balance control changes only relative volume. The two different approaches do not achieve the same effects. Changing timing is likely to change the ability of your system to image.

Peter


#6

Peter, I’ll never again go without a balance control :slight_smile:


#7

I love balance control because I listen to ripped vinyl all the time. In my old cart, the right channel was a little hotter (by about 2 dB or so on average) than the left and with DSD you can’t compensate for balance while ripping. So having digital balance is awesome in my case!


#8

I love the balance control on the DS! It’s the only way I have to control balance from a remote control at the listening location. Asymmetries in furniture placement and architecture (I assume) have shifted the soundstage to the right, much more conspicuous when using the DS and DMP. The shift might be newly apparent since the PSA equipment presents a much more narrow, focused and precise soundstage than its predecessor. I haven’t succeeded (yet?) in repositioning the speakers to adjust for the narrowness and right shift.

As hugely useful as the balance control has been, I confess to feeling a little anxious and inadequate for having to resort to its use, wondering if there is something imbalanced about my electronics or cables, and if I am just a failure in speaker placement. I may resort to seeking a therapist for those issues. But recognizing that I am imbalanced, pressing the button on the remote is a more reliable, efficient and less expensive solution.

confusedconfusedconfused smilesurprisedlaughlaughlaughlaugh


#9

Nobo: Recognizing that you are unbalanced is the first step toward audiophile happiness :slight_smile:


#10

Given the average age of ‘audiophiles’ I’m surprised no one has mentioned hearing loss. I have some hearing loss in my right ear so the soundstage is typically skewed slightly to the left. Being an audiophile, this annoys the hell out of me! Two to three clicks on the left channel volume (digital balance) usually does the trick!!


#11

So since your hi-fi system is in effect being used as a hearing aid, does that mean you can pay for it from your Health Savings Account?

Seriously, I’m sure many of us have some degree of hearing loss, probably for higher frequencies. But it is interesting that at least to the degree of loss I have experienced, the appreciation of musical nuance and quality hi-fi sound reproduction seems uncompromised. Of course, to a youngster my stereo system might sound shrill with its built in compensatory emphasis on the higher frequency ranges. But since said youngster is happy listening to their iPod through $10 earbuds, what does he know?


#12
timequest said I have some hearing loss in my right ear so the soundstage is typically skewed slightly to the left.
I am surprised your brain has not learned to compensate. Do you have difficulty knowing where sounds are coming from, such as where a car is from only hearing it?

#13
Elk said
I am surprised your brain has not learned to compensate. Do you have difficulty knowing where sounds are coming from, such as where a car is from only hearing it?
Over the years, my brain's ability to compensate has been pretty much taxed. Now days I'm on 'selective hearing' autopilot. It works well for mebeer_gif

#14

Ear wax build up is gradual and eventually affects sound balance. The remedy is obvious, but the balance control is a very useful temporary solution.


#15

timquest, your point about hearing loss is well taken. My hearing is still very good, probably because, all my life, I wisely avoided absurdly loud music venues, e.g., all rock and roll concerts. Also, avoided war zones.

I usually listen to classical or jazz, sitting in the dark at night with no distractions. And I find that the DS balance control allows me to finely dial-in the stereo image like no other device I’ve ever owned.


#16
panostar said

Ear wax build up is gradual and eventually affects sound balance. The remedy is obvious, but the balance control is a very useful temporary solution.


Since I can’t get an audiology appointment for 6 weeks, I tried fruitlessly to use the remote control to dig out my ear wax. My ear must be smaller than yours.

#17
timequest said

Over the years, my brain’s ability to compensate has been pretty much taxed. Now days I’m on ‘selective hearing’ autopilot. It works well for mebeer_gif

From what I understand, you're adhering to a pretty strict drug regimen to keep your mind limber. So you got that going for you! 24_gif

Edit: C’mon guys. Big Lebowski reference anyone? I promise you that’s funny. Tough crowd…


#18
Nobo said

As hugely useful as the balance control has been, I confess to feeling a little anxious and inadequate for having to resort to its use, wondering if there is something imbalanced about my electronics or cables, and if I am just a failure in speaker placement. I may resort to seeking a therapist for those issues. But recognizing that I am imbalanced, pressing the button on the remote is a more reliable, efficient and less expensive solution.

confusedconfusedconfused smilesurprisedlaughlaughlaughlaugh

Nobo, you could trouble shoot your gear, to find out if it one of your components.

First switch your speaker cable channels, do it at the amp if is stereo. If still in same channel, switch back, then switch cables from the preamp. If the same put them back and switch the cables on the DAC.

If it stays in the same channel, it is the room or you.