Originally Posted by Trogdor
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.
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.