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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 259

post #3871 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentFrequency View Post

There are lots of audio videos on YT as probably expected but I've just watched something that states there is zero audible effect between a 1/4 inch and a 1/8 inch jack which I agree with totally but as 1/8 inch jack is way more popular for most devices, why do some headphone manufacturers (Sennheiser hd800 for a start) use the bigger 1/4 inch jacks?

 

I expect it is because the larger jacks are more dimensionally stable - less flex, less wear, etc. They hold up better over time. Which is why most larger amplifiers use them as the preferred output - and most professional gear. So it makes sense for professional headphones to match what their intended audience uses.

post #3872 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentFrequency View Post

There are lots of audio videos on YT as probably expected but I've just watched something that states there is zero audible effect between a 1/4 inch and a 1/8 inch jack which I agree with totally but as 1/8 inch jack is way more popular for most devices, why do some headphone manufacturers (Sennheiser hd800 for a start) use the bigger 1/4 inch jacks?

The 1/4 inch jack has been the standard for many decades in home and pro audio gear. When portable audio devices and then phones came into play, they tended to use the 1/8 inch jack to reduce the weight of the connector. That and with the advent of truly slim portable audio hardware, the 1/4 inch jack housing was physically too large.

Ironically, the 1/8 jack is now the limiting factor in current device design. I think that either Bluetooth gets perfected soon or an even smaller/thinner connector will become the new standard.
post #3873 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilentFrequency View Post

There are lots of audio videos on YT as probably expected but I've just watched something that states there is zero audible effect between a 1/4 inch and a 1/8 inch jack which I agree with totally but as 1/8 inch jack is way more popular for most devices, why do some headphone manufacturers (Sennheiser hd800 for a start) use the bigger 1/4 inch jacks?

 

Probably because their marketing research indicated that most potential buyers would be using them with 1/4" jacks. The HD598s come with their own adapter for I imagine the same reason.

post #3874 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post


The 1/4 inch jack has been the standard for many decades in home and pro audio gear. When portable audio devices and then phones came into play, they tended to use the 1/8 inch jack to reduce the weight of the connector. That and with the advent of truly slim portable audio hardware, the 1/4 inch jack housing was physically too large.

Ironically, the 1/8 jack is now the limiting factor in current device design. I think that either Bluetooth gets perfected soon or an even smaller/thinner connector will become the new standard.

 

As far as headphones are concerned, they SHOULD be electrically the same (the resistance of both is plenty low, and the current carrying capacity of both is plenty high) - but this isn't always strictly true.

 

A nice clean 1/8 inch connector going into an 1/8 inch jack should be perfectly adequate to run a pair of headphones, and there's no legitimate electrical reason for it to sound any different. However, since there is less contact area, it may be more sensitive to wear or dirt, while the larger contacts and stronger spring tension on the larger connector is more able to avoid being affected by dirt, tarnish, or wear. (Another way of saying that would be to say that the 1/4 inch set is serious overkill - which gives it more ability to forgive damage or wear. In fact, most 1/4 inch plugs have powerful-enough springs that they can literally scrape through a little tarnish or dirt, while their smaller cousins are somewhat less able to do so.) 

 

There's also the little matter of adapters. If your amp has a 1/4 inch jack and your phones have a 1/8" plug, you can plug a nice strong 1/4" adapter into the jack, then plug the smaller 1/8 inch plug from the headphone into it, and it will probably work fine. However, if the reverse is true, and your amp has an 1/8" jack while your phones have a 1/4" plug, you now have a big fat adapter that's big enough to fit the 1/4" plug on the phones being plugged into the small 1/8" jack on the amp. You end up with a big adapter, with a big plug inserted into it, hanging out of the small jack on the amp, which puts a lot of stress on that jack - especially if you happen to pull on the wire, or even just let it hang down.

 

If you logic it out, having matching sizes on both is ideal, with possibly the 1/4" size being a little bit stronger and better. However, if you admit the possibility of having to "cover" all possibilities, the most sensible combination is to put the 1/4 inch jack on the amp and the 1/8" plug on the phones. From the point of view of either device, you will either be able to plug it in directly, OR you will be using an adapter from a small plug to a large jack - and you'll never need the untrustworthy adapter that goes from a large plug to a small jack.

post #3875 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithEmo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post


The 1/4 inch jack has been the standard for many decades in home and pro audio gear. When portable audio devices and then phones came into play, they tended to use the 1/8 inch jack to reduce the weight of the connector. That and with the advent of truly slim portable audio hardware, the 1/4 inch jack housing was physically too large.

Ironically, the 1/8 jack is now the limiting factor in current device design. I think that either Bluetooth gets perfected soon or an even smaller/thinner connector will become the new standard.

 

As far as headphones are concerned, they SHOULD be electrically the same (the resistance of both is plenty low, and the current carrying capacity of both is plenty high) - but this isn't always strictly true.

 

A nice clean 1/8 inch connector going into an 1/8 inch jack should be perfectly adequate to run a pair of headphones, and there's no legitimate electrical reason for it to sound any different. However, since there is less contact area, it may be more sensitive to wear or dirt, while the larger contacts and stronger spring tension on the larger connector is more able to avoid being affected by dirt, tarnish, or wear. (Another way of saying that would be to say that the 1/4 inch set is serious overkill - which gives it more ability to forgive damage or wear. In fact, most 1/4 inch plugs have powerful-enough springs that they can literally scrape through a little tarnish or dirt, while their smaller cousins are somewhat less able to do so.) 

 

There's also the little matter of adapters. If your amp has a 1/4 inch jack and your phones have a 1/8" plug, you can plug a nice strong 1/4" adapter into the jack, then plug the smaller 1/8 inch plug from the headphone into it, and it will probably work fine. However, if the reverse is true, and your amp has an 1/8" jack while your phones have a 1/4" plug, you now have a big fat adapter that's big enough to fit the 1/4" plug on the phones being plugged into the small 1/8" jack on the amp. You end up with a big adapter, with a big plug inserted into it, hanging out of the small jack on the amp, which puts a lot of stress on that jack - especially if you happen to pull on the wire, or even just let it hang down.

 

If you logic it out, having matching sizes on both is ideal, with possibly the 1/4" size being a little bit stronger and better. However, if you admit the possibility of having to "cover" all possibilities, the most sensible combination is to put the 1/4 inch jack on the amp and the 1/8" plug on the phones. From the point of view of either device, you will either be able to plug it in directly, OR you will be using an adapter from a small plug to a large jack - and you'll never need the untrustworthy adapter that goes from a large plug to a small jack.


I think you misunderstood my comment about the 1/8 jack being the "limiting factor". I'm only referring to the physical size of the connector limiting the thinness of portable devices, not the audio performance of the connector itself.
post #3876 of 3876
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post


I think you misunderstood my comment about the 1/8 jack being the "limiting factor". I'm only referring to the physical size of the connector limiting the thinness of portable devices, not the audio performance of the connector itself.


I wasn't quite sure which you meant. Either way, my comment was that sometimes the 1/8" jack becomes an electrically limiting factor as it ages.... even though a properly working 1/8" plug/jack will not sound or measure different than a 1/4" plug/jack, I have to say that, due to the mechanical factors, I have seen a lot more 1/8" jacks that have gotten crunchy or loose after being used for a while than 1/4" ones. (And, unfortunately, the "slim line" ones they squeeze into very thin modern players, seem especially prone to getting loose or wearing out. Unfortunately, unlike the old style panel mounted jacks, they are also usually not easily replaced if they fail or get loose.) 

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