Headphones vs Stereo Line Out

Hi all,

As I will only be using one of these at a time I was wondering if there are any drawbacks to using the headphones out as my line out to the audio interface. Is there any quality difference? As I have very little experience in this area I’d also love to know how set people are on using proper balanced outs.

I would like to know also!

I use both actively without fully understanding the science. This is how I go about not worrying about which :wink:

Different signal levels means you’ll be gainstaging differently through your modules and outboard gear, so I personally find it difficult to rank quality, or even notice discernable differences (Bal vs unbal) while jamming with speakers or headphones.

You can imagine the hotter signal might have a better noise ratio and come through more accurately, but if the modular system is producing its own noise, and they tend to, some people are convinced Balanced enhances or brings up that noise along with everything else (or new noises become apparent).

Both modes are valid and backed by longevity not to mention the modules are implemented with studio quality circuits - my experience is with the 1u headphones and 1u stereo line out. In the studio I run the balanced Stereo Line Out thru the case jacks and to an audio interface or mixer. The headphones I wear also plug into same. the headphones 1u signal is then available as a DJ Cue or to send line level into an outboard scope, (stereo TRS split to 2 RCA into BNC).

If you are quite interested in stuff beyond what the ear can tell you, you might record them into a DAW and use spectrum or similar analysers.

If you only want one and can’t do any testing, it depends: I would deffo prefer to get the Headphones 1u for use primarily with headphones. It could leave you less usable dial, when plugging your headphones into the case from a balanced signal. For audio interface or monitors I prefer balanced. Same with something like a live performance with a longer cable run. YMMV good luck.

hei zilvar, thanks for deep insight into your technique. i just made some a/b test by ear and found out that my stereo out sounds bit clearer with more detail than the headphone out.
maybe my ears… but i will use the st. out for recording.
thanks and best

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Hello, I have a related question. Would the Stereo Line Out 1U make sense to use as a headphone output if only working with mono signals? I am considering buying an Intellijel case and would like to use the case’s built in jacks for headphone use. I do already have a Headphone Out 1U in another case that I could use instead, but I’m thinking I’d like to save a little space on the new case’s 1U row by using the slightly smaller Stereo Line Out with the case’s jacks. Would this work? Would I be able to achieve the same headphone levels as I would with the Headphone Out module? Does this even make sense? Thank you to anyone who can provide any information on this!

I’m not an EE, but it seems to me like, unless you somehow rewire the module and/or jack to send both left and right to the same jack, making it unbalanced stereo instead of balanced mono, or split the headphone’s cable into two, you’ll only get sound on one side.

There may also be an impedance compatibility issue that can affect the quality of sound, depending on your headphones.

Thank you @mrhooks, that makes sense. It looks like the left input normals to the right, so I think I’d be able to get a mono signal out of the right output that would be a combination of both left and right, however, I think you’re right in that I would only get audio out of one headphone side.