Originally Posted by r0llinlacs
3.5mm is only three wires... a shared ground and two positives. How could they make that proprietary without ruining compatibility with every headphone ever made? Unless they have plans for some expensive servo-type wiring with special servo headphones to match, I can't see it happening. Or unless they plan on actually running separate grounds for each channel with headphones to match... that would be the only reason I'd be for something proprietary is if it increases sound quality.
If you read the article is says the new wiring is ground on the tip, whereas all standards before had a left channel on the tip and ground was sleeve. Their new standard will require special adapters to go to any other format and headphones and even more confusing when you have to use one adapter for one type of 4 pin 3.5mm plug into another format of 4 pin (CTIA vs OMTP)
oh and yes there are two main standards of 4 pin 3.5mm and 2.5mm plugs for balanced headphones with their own "ground" per channel (really, the negative side of each circuit in a proper differential balanced amp setup). Hifiman's setup and Astell & Kern's setup, two competing solutions for balanced 4 pin audio on a 2.5mm and 3.5mm miniplug. On the one, you have left+, right+, then left- and right-. On the other solution you have left+ and left-, then right+ and right-. Personally, I think Hifiman's solution is better with left and then right on the tip and ring, because it allows for the cable to be plugged into an unbalanced source and still function by shorting the negative sides to ground return so it still works ok. In A&K's solution you can only plug the cable into a balanced port and plugging it in to an unbalanced will cause the headphones to not function and could damage things as well.
Though that balanced 4 pin setup wont be seen in Apple devices as they use 4 pins to run a mic on one of them like usual. Hence why I mentioned OMTP vs CTIA because that deals with the two standards that run stereo audio and a mic together. But even worse now the new jack doesn't conform to Apple's usual OMTP standard because now they are creating a new 4 pin wiring "standard" of their own once again so we will have 3 standards now for stereo audio+mic+ground.Edited by EniGma1987 - 9/26/15 at 3:19pm