With all the computer RFI many of us have to deal with I disagree with, "Most people would not see a difference," statement. Interference noise is much more important than cable "fidelity." People buy unbelievably expensive balanced cables for superior sound quality then connect them to single ended sources and end up with absolutely no noise protection. Single ended interconnects and headphone cables should always be shielded for RFI protection.
A screw on Speakon to 4 banana plug adapter can fry a balanced amp if a TRS plug is connected to it. I know this doesn't apply to the Mini-X though.
XLR connectors are interlocking too.
The no solder point is valid.
The Hifiman cable itself isn't shielded though, right?. I thought it was just L+,L-,R+,R-? After connecting via the Speakon, you could use SPC, OFC, whatever wire available and send it to 4 banana plugs, with minimal to no change in RFI compared to the Hifiman cable directly to a headphone out.
Balanced is where I get a little confused. For the Hifiman, wouldn't you be able to cut one end off a 4-pin XLR cable, and attach the bare wire into the applicable L+, L-, R+, R- on the speakon?
Since RFI is more of a high impedance issue, shouldn't 38ohm be less of an issue? I send a balanced connection to my subs from my MiniDSP over 30 ft via CL2 4 wire speaker cable, with no RFI issues whatsoever (4ohm and high power though).
I see it more as a budget way to connect. $250 cables are absurd, and I'll suffer some RFI to save $200+. To me, Speakon is the normal way to go over amped lines. Save the XLR for line level. I'm more of a home theater guy though, and the headphone world is somewhat new to me. I also think dual 3 pin is absurd.
Edited by bhazard - 11/8/13 at 12:32pm