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Use 3-pin or 4-pin XLR?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
What is the difference b/t using 2, 3-pin plugs or 1, 4-pin plug? And why is it that some guys are still using the 2 xlr plugs (like headroom)?

I've heard that the 1, 4-pin is newer and just as good as the two, hence my question.
post #2 of 26
Old habit I guess.
Headroom have been using 2 x 3-pin XLR for years, and many aftermarket cable vendors have taken it on. AKG on the other hand used 1 x 4-pin XLR on the K1000 since its introduction around 1990.

I highly prefer the 4-pin one, but your milage may be different.
post #3 of 26
The big advantage to 3pin from an amp builder's perspective is you can use combo jacks, so you can have xlr and 1/4" outs. You also have separate connectors for each side, which allows for complete dual mono.

There are no advantages on the headphone end of things, you just have a pair of heavy giant connectors. What I recommend is terminate your headphones in 4pins, and have adapters for 4->2x3, 1/4", and 1/8", plus a good 4pin extension cable.
post #4 of 26
My guess is that there are very few 4-pin options out there when compared to the multitude of 3-pin connectors. You can spend a small fortune on esoteric/high-end 3-pin connectors, but have something like 4-5 options for the 4-pin, none of which are very expensive.

When it comes to high-end it's knowing that rhodium and other exotic materials are available for 3-pin connectors you'll have people choose them because they will/might/could sound better, so why risk it.
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
very good info, thanks
post #6 of 26
3-pin can carry ground.
post #7 of 26
4pin can as well, of course, you just use the shield for it, but no headphones have groundwires that I'm aware of.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sennshead View Post
What is the difference b/t using 2, 3-pin plugs or 1, 4-pin plug? And why is it that some guys are still using the 2 xlr plugs (like headroom)?

I've heard that the 1, 4-pin is newer and just as good as the two, hence my question.
Using 3 pin makes it very easy to plug into the balanced outputs of a preamp or dac.
post #9 of 26
2 x 3pin or 1 x 4pin xlr for headphone? It really depends what kind connection your amp takes. But 4 pin FTW....
post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
Using 3 pin makes it very easy to plug into the balanced outputs of a preamp or dac.
yup!! it think it is the main reason why most recable process are 2x 3pin XLRs.
post #11 of 26
Except that the genders are reversed for headphone amps with 3pin xlr, so you'd need an adapter either way to plug into balanced outputs from dacs etc.
post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
Using 3 pin makes it very easy to plug into the balanced outputs of a preamp or dac.
Actually, you can't, as headphone 3-pin XLRs are gender-reversed. You could use gender-reversing adaptors though.

I prefer the idea of one 4-pin plug, but if you're going to be taking your balanced headphones to meets a lot, then 2x 3-pin, at least via an adaptor, might be more useful. If you want your headphones to be as convenient as possible when used in any portable fashion, 4-pin is less bulky.
post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
are there adapters to go from 2, 3-pins to a 4-pin?
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sennshead View Post
are there adapters to go from 2, 3-pins to a 4-pin?
yes. but a much more useful setup would be to terminate with 4-pin, and then use an adapter to connect to 2x 3-pin.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Actually, you can't, as headphone 3-pin XLRs are gender-reversed. You could use gender-reversing adaptors though.
Or, you could use these.

But, to get back on-topic, I've been kind of wondering myself what the "standard" connector is. And why are headphone 3-pin XLR's gender-reversed, anyway? Why depart from EIA/AES standards?
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