There’s A New Headset Connector In Town

Sony TRRRS Connector MDR-NC31EMSome time ago I published a backgrounder on 3.5mm headset connectors. It detailed a bit of history of the 1/8″ (3.5mm) mini-plug, from the Sony Walkman of old to present day. That evolution could also be described as from “Tip-Ring-Sleeve”  (TRS) to Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve”  (TRRS.)  That post has proven surprisingly popular.

It’s been said that the universe is continually expanding. That includes the universe of mini-plug variants. Today I got my first look at the next step in the evolution of the lowly mini-plug; TRRRS!

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Flash In The News

microSDXC-trioOne of the announcements coming from MWC2015 today was the release of a frightfully capacious flash memory card from SanDisk. Their new Ultra Premium Edition microSDXC card holds a whopping 200 GB of data! With class 10 performance it’s able to record 1080 video.

The company positions the product as targeting those who want to collect and carry massive amounts of media in their handheld devices. You can expect to put 20 hours of VC1 encoded 1080p video on the tiny card.

At first glance, I am at a loss to know why I would truly need such vast storage in a tiny flash card. However, Alan Buckingham provides some enlightenment via Beta News. He notes that there are a coming wave of security cameras that require substantial local media storage. This also came up in conversation with Grandstream during VUC529. Some of their surveillance cameras & encoders sport USB or SD-based local storage capability.

At $399 the monster SanDisk card is not exactly cheap, but it’s still only $2/GB. That’s a bargain compared to Sony’s SR-64HXA audiophile microSDXC card. Announced at CES2015, the 64 GB Class 10 card has an asking price of $155. That’s $2.42/GB. It’s marketed in Japan as “for Premium Sound,” presumably targeting those who would also shell out $1200 for their latest ZX2 uber-walkman

In contrast, Amazon has SanDisk Extreme 64GB UHS-I/U3 Micro SDXC Memory Card for just $45, which is just $0.70/GB. For my money, that’s where I’d put my bits, be they music or other.

Sony has clearly lost it’s way. Although, there is a long and storied history of depriving the rubes of their currency. This holds especially true in the realm of audiophiliacs. Witness Audioquest, who offers a $10k audiophile Ethernet cable. P.T. Barnum would be proud.

An Interesting History Of Headphones

k240studioSome time ago I stumbled upon a nice article that proposed to be something of a history of headphones. It’s a fairly good effort on the part of the author. However, I would like to add my two-cents in reference to a couple of missing items that I think are significant.

When I was in school in the mid-1980’s I was studying music recording and broadcasting. I spent a lot of time in and around various recording studios around Toronto. The single most common headset that I saw at that time was the AKG K240 Studio monitors. These were the reference grade dynamic headphones used in many facilities at that time.

The K240s are genuinely, big-ole, cans. A circumaural headphone with a semi-open design they sound great, even today. They can be cleanly driven to excessive volumes if required. Fairly efficient, they can even be powered by a cell phone or iPod.

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Did Toshiba Drop HD-DVD Too Early?

Alec Saunders (a fellow Canuck) has an interesting observation about Toshiba and HD-DVD.

IMHO, Toshiba’s comment doesn’t take into consideration Blu-Ray. Not making that statement is political face-saving on their part. Alec argues that they need to move the entire value chain to sell HD-DVD. That means making & selling the technology but also ensuring that the desirable content was readily available. Their trouble is that they were unable to sustain the support of a significant mass of content creators…the studios.

To those of us with HD-DVD players (mine is an HD-XA1) we could see that this battle was over by mid-2007 when HD-DVD releases slowed to a trickle. No new content…no reason to buy the players. At the very same time Blue-Ray releases started to come in good numbers and from a variety of sources.

Now the really good question to ask revolves around did Sony & IBM really make a deal with Toshiba involving dropping HD-DVD in return for additional rights to the cell processor and related manufacturing in the far east?