I just read in another thread that a new Sharp MD player uses separate left and right signal returns (grounds) for its headphones. I believe that there is no reason, other than convention, for high-end headphone and amplifier manufacturers to continue using the 3-wire common ground standard. I'm sure Danny or Jan can provide details, but headphone performance in areas such as channel separation and imaging should improve tremendously
. Attached is a picture of the modified plug used by the Sharp. A 1/4" version of this could be adopted by industry as standard, possibly made so that 3-conductor headphones will still work when plugged into a 4-conductor jack. With the amount of influence the members and manufacturers of this board have, we may be able to lobby the industry to change the existing standard. What do you think?
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I'm by no means an expert and I may be wrong here, but as far as I know balanced only gives you an improvement if it's all the way from the source to the speakers or headphones.
Just wiring up the headphones balanced with still having a common ground in the amplifier is worthless since you still don't have separate grounds for the headphone drivers.
Thought the last line in Citizen Kane was nosebud.
Jun 22, 2001
Uhm, balanced connections and separate grounds shouldn't be mixed up. For a balanced (=symmetrical/differential) connection you'll need active components that do the inverting and re-inverting. So you can only run balanced connections to something with active electronics - thus with speakers that's only applicable for active/powered monitors. And then you will need three lines per mono channel: signal, inverted signal and ground. So for stereo that would make at least 5 lines (with common ground) - with seperate grounds it would be 6 lines, then.