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The Centrance HiFi M8 thread - Page 99

post #1471 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

True, but combo jacks, especially fullsize, are rarely found on portable amps.  And if you have everything terminated to a single standard (like the mini XLR), then you don't need combos.

I disagree. I think the 3-pin combo XLR really gives you a lot of flexibility and makes way more sense as thia point in time from a market perspective. YMMV.
post #1472 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

True, but combo jacks, especially fullsize, are rarely found on portable amps.  And if you have everything terminated to a single standard (like the mini XLR), then you don't need combos.

FraGGleR,

 

The mini 4-pin XLR is rarely found on portable amps either, and I don't think you can call it a "STANDARD" interface.

However, if we can make the RSA connector a choice, why not the mini 4-pin XLR? 

 

 

Michael,

 

The purpose of this thread is to get everyone involved in the M8's development.

If there is no technical problem, like analog PCB integration, to add the mini 4-pin XLR as a new choice, I think some people will really want to know "why not."

I think the mini 4-pin XLR will be a way to the future for portable balanced amps.

Why not let's make it a standard interface first, just like a pioneer?

 

Cheers!

 

Adrian

post #1473 of 5057

If anything is ever going to be standardized, you'll probably need at least one extra pin for a microphone/headset passthrough.

post #1474 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianTW View Post

FraGGleR,

 

The mini 4-pin XLR is rarely found on portable amps either, and I don't think you can call it a "STANDARD" interface.

However, if we can make the RSA connector a choice, why not the mini 4-pin XLR? 

 

Adrian,

 

For what it's worth, I believe Fraggler is referring to the fact that, connected to what I'll (lazily) refer to as a balanced-capable cable, the mini 4-pin XLR can then be adapted to either a single-ended or balanced connector at the amp. This results in fewer purchased cables, as well as disconnections and connections at the headphone (when you want to switch between single-ended and balanced). This is how I've got my IEMs setup and it's great. Not sure whether I'll take it to the extreme so I have adaptors at the headphone end, as well, but I haven't ruled it out. 

post #1475 of 5057
Yes, this is what I meant. I don't think anyone uses it yet, but I feel like it would be the best connector to become the standard. Robust, compact, inexpensive, can be used balanced or unbalanced. Really isn't a need for all the different connectors that require adapters at this point. It will take our demanding a standard, since we are the target market of most manufacturers for whom this would matter. A company like CEntrance could lead the way, supported by the cable manufacturers who are already offering cables terminated to mini xlr.
post #1476 of 5057
Double post
post #1477 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chexxchexx View Post

the mini 4-pin XLR can then be adapted to either a single-ended or balanced connector at the amp. This results in fewer purchased cables, as well as disconnections and connections at the headphone (when you want to switch between single-ended and balanced). 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

Robust, compact, inexpensive, can be used balanced or unbalanced.  ... A company like CEntrance could lead the way, supported by the cable manufacturers who are already offering cables terminated to mini xlr.

Chexxchexx & FraGGleR,

 

Thanks for your explanations about the advantage of the mini 4-pin XLR connector. I very agree with your viewpoints. beerchug.gif

Due to the inherent benefits from the mini 4-pin XLR, it'll be glad for me to see CEntrance can reconsider it as an option, even though a normal-sized 4-pin XLR is enough for my current setup. rolleyes.gif

post #1478 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianTW View Post

Chexxchexx & FraGGleR,

Thanks for your explanations about the advantage of the mini 4-pin XLR connector. I very agree with your viewpoints. beerchug.gif

Due to the inherent benefits from the mini 4-pin XLR, it'll be glad for me to see CEntrance can reconsider it as an option, even though a normal-sized 4-pin XLR is enough for my current setup. rolleyes.gif
But you guys are forgetting the fact that people already have heavy investment in the 3-pin XLR cables.

What do you tell all these folks exactly?

Even though I think the 4-pin XLR configuration has some inherit advantages, it really doesn't make sense from a market perspective unless someone can provide more substantial data that people are willing to abandon their expensive recabled 3-pin XLR headphones for 4-pin.
post #1479 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post


But you guys are forgetting the fact that people already have heavy investment in the 3-pin XLR cables.

What do you tell all these folks exactly?

Even though I think the 4-pin XLR configuration has some inherit advantages, it really doesn't make sense from a market perspective unless someone can provide more substantial data that people are willing to abandon their expensive recabled 3-pin XLR headphones for 4-pin.

Very good point.  There would be a number of people caught in transition, most actually, since mini-XLR isn't anyone's standard except for the few who have started down the modular cable path.  But anytime a new standard is adopted, it necessitates folks to adapt.  And of course there are a lot of amps who still use 3 pin and 4 pin full sized.  

 

I will point to the RSA connector that has caught on as a quasi standard for portable balanced, even though it is far from an ideal connector (as discussed much earlier in this thread and others), simply because a couple manufacturers adopted it.  It has forced many people to reterminate cables, get new ones, etc.  I'm sure there was some griping about that, but in general, people were excited enough for the amp or dac that the added expense wasn't a big hindrance.  I'd hope that the promise of a single connector to handle most output scenarios would be exciting enough for people to accept the challenges.

 

I'll admit that is a pipe dream to actually have customers and manufacturers to all agree to a standard and to move forward with it, since there would be switching costs on both sides (even if the connectors would be a source of savings in the long run).  It will probably never happen because when it comes down to it, most people, customers and manufacturers included, are inherently lazy and resistant to change.  But if we don't start the conversation, then we get stuck in an inefficient, expensive rut.

 

 

All I want is one connector to rule them all.  A man can dream, can't he?  :)

post #1480 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianTW View Post

FraGGleR,

 

The mini 4-pin XLR is rarely found on portable amps either, and I don't think you can call it a "STANDARD" interface.

However, if we can make the RSA connector a choice, why not the mini 4-pin XLR? 

 

 

Michael,

 

The purpose of this thread is to get everyone involved in the M8's development.

If there is no technical problem, like analog PCB integration, to add the mini 4-pin XLR as a new choice, I think some people will really want to know "why not."

I think the mini 4-pin XLR will be a way to the future for portable balanced amps.

Why not let's make it a standard interface first, just like a pioneer?

 

Cheers!

 

Adrian

Ah, "we" didn't make the RSA connector a choice, Ray did.   (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)As for Centrance making the 4 pin mini xlr a standard - how exactly do you see them doing that- dropping every other connector option, or just making it one of many?   If the former, then how much business will they lose because people's headphones and iems do not have minis on them?  If the latter, what degree of financial risk is worthwhile, given the cost of developing and manufacturing yet another option?

 

I have no beef with the claims that 4 pin mini-xlr makes sense.  I also understood why Krell, Levinson, and Naim use(d) Camacs, Lemos, and DIN. Ah, I know, let's get a tech-driven, quality conscious company with deep pockets to lead the charge - Apple, are 'ya listening?   biggrin.gif


Edited by fzman - 2/24/13 at 6:52am
post #1481 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post


But you guys are forgetting the fact that people already have heavy investment in the 3-pin XLR cables.

What do you tell all these folks exactly?

Even though I think the 4-pin XLR configuration has some inherit advantages, it really doesn't make sense from a market perspective unless someone can provide more substantial data that people are willing to abandon their expensive recabled 3-pin XLR headphones for 4-pin.

 

Trogdor,

 

From my standpoint, I see it as a natural evolution. Once LCD and plasma TVs came out, people move away from CRT and rear-projection TVs. A better mousetrap was available so people pivoted. Older gear wasn't made obsolete due to the availability of converters. Consumers were able to transition on their own timetable; it's just that the older options were no longer available when it came time to make subsequent purchases. 

 

The issue today is that audiophile-level performance is available on-the-go so more and more people are looking for a one-size-fits-all approach or at least the ability to use the same headphones on both their portable and desktop gear. The larger connectors just aren't nearly as convenient and certainly limit the degree to which portable gear can be reduced in size without trading-off features. The mini 4-pin XLR could be used directly into new gear (which I'd still suggest should have 1/8" given the TRS' truly prolific nature) and adapted into gear that would have some of the older connector styles.

 

Perhaps there's an even better option than the mini 4-pin XLR which will be made available down the road. If it comes about, I'd consider switching. In the meantime, though, I'd like to have fewer obstacles to gear rolling. 

 

Also, bear in mind that re-terminating cables isn't especially difficult or expensive so it's not as if everyone would need to start from scratch. Also, it's hardly the case that older gear is necessarily inferior so options would abound for years to come.

 

I'm no expert, just a guy with an opinion, but it does seem to be an opinion that's gaining steam. I'd guess if Centrance offered my proposed configuration it might be slow out of the gate, but would win-out over time...provided an even better miniaturized cable didn't come out in the meantime, of course. 

post #1482 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post

Ah, "we" didn't make the RSA connector a choice, Ray did.   (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)As for Centrance making the 4 pin mini xlr a standard - how exactly do you see them doing that- dropping every other connector option, or just making it one of many?   If the former, then how much business will they lose because people's headphones and iems do not have minis on them?  If the latter, what degree of financial risk is worthwhile, given the cost of developing and manufacturing yet another option?

 

I have no beef with the claims that 4 pin mini-xlr makes sense.  I also understood why Krell, Levinson, and Naim use(d) Camacs, Lemos, and DIN. Ah, I know, let's get a tech-driven, quality conscious company with deep pockets to lead the charge - Apple, are 'ya listening?   biggrin.gif

No doubt it was Ray's choice at first, but ALO and Cypher Labs followed suit.  I don't think the 1/8" connector will realistically be replaced, but having an amp with a 1/8" and mini XLR would be no different than Ray's first balanced amp.  And certainly with CEntrance giving us so many options already, it seemed like it could be the perfect time for a respected manufacturer to introduce it as an alternative (a better one IMHO) without significant additional risk or investment since they had already committed to giving us the options.  It is very unfortunate that the original list of possible connections left out the mini XLR, otherwise we might have seen a very different HifiM8.

 

As much as I have issue with many of Apple's design and business decisions, you are absolutely right that it would realistically take someone like them to really effect change.  Unfortunately, they don't really give a poo about audiophiles.  Hence the need for specialty devices like the HifiM8.

 

It would be business suicide to only have mini XLR on an amp.  But having it as a standard option introduces it to the marketplace.  Then hopefully another company decides they like the idea and switch to it.  No single business takes on all the risk.  It would be awesome if Ray decided to switch over to an audio connector instead of a camera connector, but there is no reason for him to - it is almost a trademark for him now.  

 

Anyways, this is a fun discussion.  Much better than getting sucked into cable or DAC discussions (i.e. do they matter?).

post #1483 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

I'll admit that is a pipe dream to actually have customers and manufacturers to all agree to a standard and to move forward with it, since there would be switching costs on both sides (even if the connectors would be a source of savings in the long run).  It will probably never happen because when it comes down to it, most people, customers and manufacturers included, are inherently lazy and resistant to change.  But if we don't start the conversation, then we get stuck in an inefficient, expensive rut.

 

Perhaps I'm being naive, but I'm more optimistic, FraGGler. I think there are very few manufacturers with the ability to remain consistently tone-deaf to their customers' desires. With every passing year, more and more people are hitting their point of diminishing returns and stepping away to actually enjoy what this is supposed to be out at the end of the day: the music.

 

This means fewer dollars are up-for-grabs. Now, there will be new converts which will bring more dollars, but I'd expect many of these people to gravitate to the lower price points given the ever-increasing value offered as the quality is increasing by leaps and bounds. This will put added pressure on higher-end manufacturers to play in the same sandbox with everyone else.

 

Back to my point about manufacturers being tone-deaf to their customers' desires, if we as customers don't "organize" to make our collective desires known we can hardly accuse them of being tone-deaf. What's needed is a concise comparison table to summarize the pros and cons of the various connectors available today. Attached to that should be a carefully constructed survey which would make it clear:

  1. how much do they care about balanced vs. single-ended
  2. how much more likely they'd be to buy new gear if it didn't carry an associated re-cabling price tag
  3. the value they assign to portability
  4. the likelihood of them owning both a portable and desktop rig given the ever narrowing gap between the two
  5. would they consider a single transportable rig in lieu of portable and desktop
  6. whether they'd willingly accept the cost associated with convergence
  7. how resentful they are of the lack of coordination within the manufacturer community and the associated inefficiencies being passed-on to the consumer
  8. their preferred connector for balanced
  9. their preferred connector for single-ended
  10. whether they currently own any balanced gear
  11. the type of balanced connectors on their current gear
  12. the types of headphones they currently own or realistically intend to own in the future
  13. how much they plan to spend on equipment in the next year
  14. how much they've spent on the gear currently in their possession
  15. how often they roll gear
  16. how much they use the secondary market when rolling gear

 

I'm sure there are plenty of other useful questions to be asked. It would be interesting to do something like this on an annual basis because it would make it easy to spot trends and, hopefully, show manufacturers it's in everyones' best interests for the current landscape to be simplified.

post #1484 of 5057
It seems to me the output choices are set and cases have been ordered. Mini XLR isn't gonna happen right now. I agree an industry standard would be nice.
post #1485 of 5057
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post


But you guys are forgetting the fact that people already have heavy investment in the 3-pin XLR cables.

What do you tell all these folks exactly?
Trogdor,
 
We cannot change the history, but we may have chances of changing the future. Providing a new mini 4-pin XLR option doesn't mean to discontinue other options, and it won't hurt people who have heavily invested in the 3-pin XLR cables. wink.gif
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogdor View Post

Even though I think the 4-pin XLR configuration has some inherit advantages, it really doesn't make sense from a market perspective unless someone can provide more substantial data that people are willing to abandon their expensive recabled 3-pin XLR headphones for 4-pin.

 

The only "STANDARD" is the 2 x 3-pin XLR. However, more and more manufactures who make decent balanced headphone amps also provide the "NON-STANDARD" 4-pin XLR together, because they are aware that a headphone doesn't really need a 2 x 3-pin XLR configuration. In this example, no one really gets hurt. From a market perspective, I can feel a trend that a revolution is underway silently -- 4-pin XLR is enough for a headphone system and is even cleverer /cheaper than a 2 x 3-pin XLR solution. I just think that CEntrance should take a step forward to provide the mini 4-pin XLR as an option, trying to create a "STANDARD" (or "CONVENTIONAL") interface not only for a portable balanced headphone amp but also for prospective headphone uses.
 
Honestly, although I love Ray's amps, such as The Intruder, I don't really like the RSA connector. The plastic plug and the right-angled wiring may cause issues regarding robustness. Moreover, if one terminated his/her cable with the RSA connector, it's almost impossible to plug his/her re-cabled headphone into a SE amp, unless buying a new cable or making another re-cabling again! People, like me, feel even more being constrained. blink.gif
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