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What's your favourite balanced headphone connector?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

There are many forms of connectors for balanced headphones and IEMs. I created a survey that will hopefully aid users and companies understand each other better in terms of preferences of the various balanced connectors.

 

Will publish the results at a later stage so as to reduce unnecessary influences on responses.

 

Survey Form

 

Results

 

Let me know if there's any way I can improve the survey.

 

 

 

 


Edited by eron - 2/7/13 at 6:06am
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

Is there any reason why one would prefer dual 3-pin XLRs vs a single 4-pin XLR?

post #3 of 8

One word for best balanced. STAX

post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by eron View Post

Is there any reason why one would prefer dual 3-pin XLRs vs a single 4-pin XLR?

Because that's how it was done for years and years?

Personally I like the Koss/STAX Amphenol plug or the newer Koss d-sub knockoff better than XLR.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Because that's how it was done for years and years?

So I'm seeking professional and enthusiasts opinions on what they think is the best connector to use moving forward. We have to consider some factors like

1)Cost of connector

2)Durability

3)Cost of adaptors

4)Size

 

Remember how mobile phones all had different chargers? Now most mobile phone manufacturers have agreed on the micro-USB. Hopefully as balanced headphones become more common, there will be a common consensus on what's the best balanced connector to use.

post #6 of 8
I vote for 4pin mini xlr for portable and dual 3pin xlr for desktop.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

The results of this survey shows that about 50% of the respondents have balanced headphones, with majority of respondents preferring the 4-pin XLR connector.

This shows increased interest in balanced headphones. Personally, I think there's room for companies to explore and push for new or less popular connectors. Like how Apple pushed for the Thunderbolt connection, there's room for innovative firms to market, and push for a connector that could become the mainstream for years to come.

post #8 of 8

I have been thinking about this issue for awhile.  One must remember that "balanced" headphones are not truely "balanced"  The 3 pin XLR jack provides a true balanced connection on the back of audio equipment.  It carries 3 wires, a ground, a positive, and a negative (this negative is the same amount negative as the positive is positive).  These 3 wires are for one channel, with another 3 wires for the other channel.  The :"balanced" connection has been used mostly by the "pro-audio" community for years, and is favored over single ended connections for thinks like microphones and guitar pickups where a low signal is carried for a long distance, often in an area with many competing signals.  They also use the TRS connectors. (think guitar jack).  The 3 pin XLR jack is a popular "balanced" connector, and is still used if you have "balanced" source devices.  Of interest, one does not need "balanced" source for there to be "balanced" output from your amp.  The output transformer can output balanced signal from a single ended input.

 

"Balanced" headphones however, refer to each headphone element having both a ground and a signal wire to it.  A total of 4 wires for a set of headphones.  There are no third wire connection that would be a proper "balanced" connection.  I think a pair of XLR plugs was used because it is a proper "balanced" connector, and since there are only 3 pins, then 2 were needed.

 

Simply hooking two 3 pin XLR plugs onto an amp with a common ground between the 2 channels is functionally the same as a single ended connection.  A true "balanced" amp will have the signal ground separated from input to output, and I think that is why there is improvement, not the fact that there are 2 signal wires, and 2 ground wires going to the headphones.

 

All that being said, my balanced headphones have dual XLR connectors, and they are heavy, and a lot of real estate is used on the amp for the connections.  I would be in favor of the 4 pin XLR as a new standard, although I would not be switching any time soon due to my current gear.

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