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:
- how much do they care about balanced vs. single-ended
- how much more likely they'd be to buy new gear if it didn't carry an associated re-cabling price tag
- the value they assign to portability
- the likelihood of them owning both a portable and desktop rig given the ever narrowing gap between the two
- would they consider a single transportable rig in lieu of portable and desktop
- whether they'd willingly accept the cost associated with convergence
- how resentful they are of the lack of coordination within the manufacturer community and the associated inefficiencies being passed-on to the consumer
- their preferred connector for balanced
- their preferred connector for single-ended
- whether they currently own any balanced gear
- the type of balanced connectors on their current gear
- the types of headphones they currently own or realistically intend to own in the future
- how much they plan to spend on equipment in the next year
- how much they've spent on the gear currently in their possession
- how often they roll gear
- 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.
I won't do that survey. In honesty, they are badly phrased questions and leading. Even when corrected, what you intend to do above is like a semi-structured interview that takes at least 30 minutes to complete verbally. These detailed interviews are normally conducted by Market Research firms, and usually take some incentives to complete. Considering the resources required, the resulting data does not necessary solve the problem.
What I think is necessary to combat this fragmented balanced connector issue is to have a number of companies come together to agree on a robust, small connector, and then manufacture adaptors for legacy connectors. Similar to how Apple is now using the Thunderbolt connector for diverse uses.
Edited by eron - 2/25/13 at 7:14pm