PS Audio Headphone Amplifiers - Why not balanced?


PS Audio’s Stellar Gain Cell DAC and BHK Signature Preamp are fully balanced designs. The company touts this, and deservedly so.

But, why are the headphones outputs not offered with a balanced connection? It kind of doesn’t make sense. The balanced circuitry is already there.

Almost all better headphones have a balanced connection option, certainly ones that would be price and performance appropriate to $1700 (Stellar) and $6000 (BHK) units.
So, why this design decision?

It almost seems like a missed opportunity or mistake considering the class which this equipment is in.

I own the Stellar GCD and M700 monoblocks. I am very happy with them.
Having a great piece of equipment like the GCD and knowing that it is fully balanced, and yet not being able to go balanced with my headphones is the only aspect of this setup that leaves me itching for a function/feature that isn’t there.


We debated long and hard about this and decided we didn’t want an XLR connector on the front panel. There were those amongst us, me included, that didn’t even want the headphone amplifier in there in the first place, preferring to make that a separate product if we were going to support headphones. In any case, after much debate we opted for single ended and most people seem pretty happy, but certainly, a few more would be happy if we’d have also added another connector and even more circuitry inside.