Do Headphone Adapters Compromise Sonic Quality
Dec 16, 2007 at 6:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 17

BigEat

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This is an odd question, but I'm surprised that there has not been some attention given to it. Here it is.

I was wondering whether plug adapters have any effect on sound quality. For example, I have a pair of RS-1's and Grado includes the mini adapter for the 1/4 inch plug with the RS-1s.

Assuming for example, that all other factors are equal, such as the output quality of each of the jacks on the amplifier, could the adapters make a difference?
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 7:30 AM Post #3 of 17

jsmithepa

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Degrades sound by 0.00002% if gold adapter, and 0.0001% if silver.
evil_smiley.gif
Am sure there will be plenty of refuttals.

What do u want? wires cooled down to absolute zero so there will be zero signal lost?

Adapters are passive conductors correct? no active components to make trouble no.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 7:33 AM Post #4 of 17

LawnGnome

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jsmithepa /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Degrades sound by 0.00002% if gold adapter, and 0.0001% if silver.
evil_smiley.gif
Am sure there will be plenty of refuttals.

What do u want? wires cooled down to absolute zero so there will be zero signal lost?

Adapters are passive conductors correct? no active components to make trouble no.



Many are poorly made,(even grado/etc ones) and are very sensitive to orientation to achieve proper contact.

I've been able to measure them raising my noise floor 10-15dba with RMAA.

Unsoldered connections are trouble.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 7:35 AM Post #5 of 17
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No. But I still have the 20 dollar Grado 1/4" to 1/8" adapter because I like the way it looks. The 2 dollar radio shack version sounds the same.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 7:40 AM Post #6 of 17

jsmithepa

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Quote:

Originally Posted by LawnGnome /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Unsoldered connections are trouble.


Reasonable. If concern, solder on correct plug to bypass need for adapter.

Doesn't some outfit sell some sort of gel (like heatsink compounds) so one gets better electrical transmissions on unsoldered connections?
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 8:16 AM Post #7 of 17

krmathis

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They are a possible source to bad connection. So, yes they sure can compromise sonic quality
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 8:36 AM Post #9 of 17

majkel

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Good ones, well made, are transparent. I remember that Sennheiser's adapter was the best I ever used. Some made by hama were total crap, with poor contact.
I made for myself an adapter made of Neutrik mini-plug and jack socket, using Belden cable, and it isn't quite transparent compared to the Sennheiser's but I've recently bought a Neutrik adapter, and this one sounds good to me. Luckily, because I had to sell my HD595's with the adapter included.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 8:37 AM Post #10 of 17

Uncle Erik

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I've wondered if a different kind of connector might be better than the conventional 1/4" and 1/8" jacks.

Sorry if this is a threadjack, but might it be better to reterminate to something that offers a more solid connection? I haven't searched much, but, for example, I have looked at the Neutrik catalog and wondered if a different connector might make a better physical connection.

Does anyone have some insight on connectors? I'd be willing to take one for the team on this. It'd be little trouble to put a different connector on one of the DIY amps and reterminate a pair of headphones.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 1:34 PM Post #11 of 17

BigEat

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Uncle Erik that's actually what started me thinking about the thread. I've never owned any, but didn't the old Stax phones have a unique interconnect? Obviously they were slaves to their own amp.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 2:01 PM Post #12 of 17

krmathis

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Quote:

Originally Posted by BigEat /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've never owned any, but didn't the old Stax phones have a unique interconnect? Obviously they were slaves to their own amp.


All Stax 'phones (new and old) use a unique 5 and 6 pin connector.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 2:27 PM Post #13 of 17

leftnose

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Quote:

Originally Posted by majkel /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Good ones, well made, are transparent. I remember that Sennheiser's adapter was the best I ever used. Some made by hama were total crap, with poor contact.
I made for myself an adapter made of Neutrik mini-plug and jack socket, using Belden cable, and it isn't quite transparent compared to the Sennheiser's but I've recently bought a Neutrik adapter, and this one sounds good to me. Luckily, because I had to sell my HD595's with the adapter included.



Luckily for you, Sennheiser sells the adapter as a spare part (and the price is quite reasonable compared to the Grado adapter):

Retail 2002
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 2:27 PM Post #14 of 17

JML

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If you look inside the female (jack) of an adapter, you'll see that there are spring-loaded leafs that contact the male (plug) end. On some adapters, each contact leaf is single; on some it looks like there are multiple leafs (on more than one side of the jack). If you can't see inside, you'll find that some adapter jack ends don't grab onto the plug evenly, and the jack is skewed to one side. Component-mounted jacks are made the same way, apparently.

The Radio Shack all-metal push-on gold adapters seem to be really good, and match those supplied separately by some makers (Sennheiser), while some Dayton (Parts Express) adapters don't work as well.

Probably all you can do is find some good ones, or have short adapter cables built up (like the Grado). To ease cable/connector strain I'm trying to get Markertek to build me a couple of "reverse Grado adapters" with Neutrik connectors on one and Canare/Calrad adapters on another, with Canare Star Quad cable, to go from a miniplug on the headphone to a regular jack on the amp.
 
Dec 16, 2007 at 4:09 PM Post #15 of 17

LawnGnome

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Uncle Erik /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I've wondered if a different kind of connector might be better than the conventional 1/4" and 1/8" jacks.

Sorry if this is a threadjack, but might it be better to reterminate to something that offers a more solid connection? I haven't searched much, but, for example, I have looked at the Neutrik catalog and wondered if a different connector might make a better physical connection.

Does anyone have some insight on connectors? I'd be willing to take one for the team on this. It'd be little trouble to put a different connector on one of the DIY amps and reterminate a pair of headphones.




There is many better connectors. TRS connectors are flawed in many ways.
mad.gif
 

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