Atom HE - headphone connection - ask for advice

Hi, I would like to ask for advice. I have Atom HE, running with Sennheiser HD800s and I am purchasing a cable for them (FAW Noir). I need to decide on 6.3mm jack unbalanced versus XLR balanced connection. I looked over the internet, however not found any specific information (not mentioning some discussions whether it is truly balanced amp or not - I do not want go into this area).

I would really appreciate any feedback from you having some experience/thoughts on this. Is is better to choose balanced or unbalanced connection with Atom HE? Or it would not make any difference at all. Unfortunately I am not able to test it before purchasing.

Thank you.

Balanced connections tend to give a bit more “oomph”. However, the xlrs are less common and can be limited without an adaptor.

I tend to use the XLR connection as this enables a longer headphone cable. Technically the Atom H.E. is ‘pseudo-balanced’ though I’m no engineer and cannot tell you what the difference might be. I’m sure it will drive your headphones well whatever connection you prefer.

Thank you for your input. Actually I can choose between two these options, the cable will be 4 meters long. The only practical aspect for XLR might be the fact that it is plugged in the rear part, however not so critical for me.

Hence I only focus In sonic aspects.

InTune - you mentioned “oomph” - would it be only bass region or more of everything, treble included?

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I had the standard XLR 4 pin cable that came with my Meze Elites and that sounded better than the uprated 6.35 silver cable when used with the Atom HE. I’ve since converted this silver cable to a 4 pin XLR and it now sounds much better than the standard cable.

I can only assume there is more going on between the 6.35 / balanced connectors that I’m able to explain. Apart from I prefer the sound from the XLR. As a result, I personally would only buy balanced cables for my Atom HE. I prefer the 4 pin XLR vs 4.4 as it seems a more robust option and I also like that it plugs in at the back keeping the facia clear of any cables.


This response I got about the balanced out.

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Just thinking on about this. If you can’t decide whether to go SE or Balanced, go balanced.

You can always add an adapter to use a balanced cable with a SE connection but not the other way round. It may just save you buying another cable later on!

Thank you very much for all your valuable comments.

@A-Fin This is actually what I have decided - balanced XLR with the future option of using the adapter if needed.

Have a great day.