You may have noticed that FiiO has slowly shifted it's product rage towards greater interoperability and ease of customisation your audio rig. Want a remote controlled lossless DAP with the power to drive hardcore headphones? Pair an RM1 Bluetooth remote with an X7 with AM5 amplifier module. Need a rig that is both portable but will also pump up your computer audio? Use the X3ii for portable audio whilst docking with the K5 power amp to easily access it's DAC. Indeed, you can create an endless parade of differing audio rigs without ever leaving the FiiO website. It's a clever strategy that provides options for everybody. Now, with the release of a balanced series of RC headphone re-cables, yet another string is firmly attached to the FiiO bow.
Like the previous stereo RC re-cables, the new additions are designed for compatibility with specific headphones, though this time they can happily transmit a balanced source should one be provided. For those that don't know, balanced headphones are designed to invert one of the L/R signals coming out of the amplifier before reverting it in the earphone itself. Put simply this means that any interference picked up is cancelled out on reverting the audio signal, thus providing both a really pure signal and a power boost that tightens the audio representation of your music. However, to get the achieved effect you need three components; a balanced amplifier, balanced cables and balanced headphones. FiiO already have the former in the AM3 amplifier module (compatible with the X7 and upcoming Q5 DAC) and the X5iii DAP; they have the latter quickly approaching in the form of the F5 balanced IEMs; with these RC cables, the puzzle is complete.
The new balanced series of cables come in 5 varieties:
These end in a MMCXB connector and are compatible with by far the majority of IEMs available including most Shure, Ultimate Ears and Westone earphones. It is also this cable that can be used with the FiiO F5 (and future F7 and F9 earphones).
The successor to FiiO's previous RC-UE2, this new cable offers balanced functionality to Fi 10 (Pro), Super Fi Pro, Super Fi 3 Studio earphones alongside M-AUDIO IE-40, IE-30, IE-20XB, IE-1 and FLC8 series.
The old RC-WT1 cable gets it's update in the form of this cable which is to be used with the Westone UM3XRC and W4R; the NF Audio NF2, NF3 and NF4; the JH Audio JH13 and JH16; and the Earsonics SM64.
This new kid on the block isn't quite as compatible as the others, but it will still see you right if you own a Sennheiser IE8, IE8i or IE80.
This snazzy cable includes the special connectors required to work with Audio-Technica ATH-IM01, ATH-IM02, ATH-IM03, ATH-IM04, ATH-IM50 and ATH-IM70.
All you need to do is match your IEM make with the correct cable and bob's you uncle, you can now connect to a 2.5mm balanced output.
With the X7 (with AM3 Balanced module), X5iii and (pretty likely) X3iii all having balanced outputs alongside such other major brands such as Astell & Kern, Onkyo and iBasso; now is the perfect time to invest in some balanced cables and unlock the potential of your headphones!