Naturally, the announcement of the Balanced Armature IEM mod created a lot of excitement.
Don’t be alarmed, the level of noise experienced without the mod is quite low. Look — You need to have balanced armature (read: ultra-sensitive) headphones with extreme amount of isolation and an ultra-quiet listening environment in order to hear the background hiss.
For example, if you are outdoors, or indoors with AC running, it’s not possible to hear any hiss.
Most people will not have a problem with the hiss, so I would caution against requesting the mod unless you know that balanced armature IEMs and a dead-quiet listening environment describe your situation exactly. Let me be clear – I don’t want to short change the owners of big cans. They need all the power they can get. The mod will reduce the max listening level by about 6 dB, which is quite noticeable if you are trying to squeeze the last bits of loudness out of the product.
We have designed a “Cross-over DAC/AMP”, a new type of product.
HiFi-M8 is about as powerful as our DACmini, which is universally regarded as having a very powerful amp. No other company has taken this much power and made it available in a battery-powered, on-the-go package. The CEntrance HiFi-M8 is the only product of its kind. It can provide over 1W of output power. The goal with this much power is to be able to drive the most demanding, hard-to-handle headphones.
When you use the ultra-sensitive IEMs, you find yourself at the opposite end of the spectrum. Instead of needing 1 watt of power, you need roughly 10 milliwatts, which is one hundred times less.
Designing a product that can accommodate such a wild range of output levels is a true challenge. We need to lower the output level one hundred times when you switch to the IEMs! That’s where the cross-over analogy comes from. Part car, part truck.
We feel that we have achieved this goal and that HiFi-M8 does represent a new category of listening products, equally valuable to users of overhead and in-ear headphones alike. But it’s not possible to satisfy everyone, as we’ve learned during the long process of product development. Someone out there has a special request. We tried to accommodate as many as we could. This last mod for lower noise is just another way to demonstrate that CEntrance listens to its customers.
However, most people won’t need this mod, so it’s probably not necessary.
Of course, you can say that I don’t know anything — my hearing is shot over the years of standing next to a loud drummer. Oh well, he knows that. I told him many times to turn it down, but most drummers can’t really hear that request…