Warning: Avoid earbuds with "Apple ControlTalk" feature!


vaustein

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
240
My Sennheiser earbuds are slightly damaged, so I went shopping for a new pair. The Monster DNA In-Ear Headphones with Apple ControlTalk has good reviews on Amazon. Also, my local Best Buy matches Amazon shipped-and-sold prices, so I got these for $60 USD instead of $99 or $120. Good deal, I thought.

Then I tried listening to music on the OP with the Monsters. Horrible distortion, low volume, totally unlistenable *unless* I constantly hold down the ControlTalk button near the left earbud.

I had already read the Open Pandora user's guide, and I remembered that headphones specifically designed for Apple devices may not work with the Open Pandora. However, to me, the Monsters were featured as general purpose earbuds sporting a specific feature exclusive to Apple devices.

So, the expensive lesson here: when shopping for earbuds that sound great plugged into your OP, avoid any earbuds that advertise the Apple ControlTalk feature. Now I have to figure out how to permanently depress the ControlTalk button. Masking tape or super glue: which is less ugly and less likely to destroy the earbuds? I'm reluctant to get a refund or exchange these because they fit my ears so perfectly and the cord is tangle-free.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

mcobit

Advanced Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2008
Messages
6,910
There is just a different connector layout.


you can buy adapters to switch to normal layout instead of this apple nonsense.
 

TrashyMG

Sarcasm Dispenser
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
11,026
Pandora uses the standard headset connector at the time it was developed, Apple decided to go their own way and differentiate itself from other phone manufacturers to corner the market on accessories and it seems to have infested other manufacturers too now even Samsung phones use the bastardized connection layout now.. The difference is that apple's connector layout switches the Mic and the ground.. which is why when you click the button it causes it to properly go to ground and it sounds better.

Like Mcobit says there are easy to find adapters floating around.

http://www.amazon.com/conductors-Earphone-Converter-Motorola-Headphone/dp/B00E3PMG82/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1391106216&sr=8-8&keywords=apple+headset+to+nokia+headset+adapter

 
 
Last edited by a moderator:

matzesu

Forum Addict!
Staff member
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
11,114
Age
36
Location
Germany,, Saarland, at home
Long ago, i used to use the Headphones of my Ipod Nano 2 on my Nintendo DS.. and mybe i also used they on the Pandora..

Now i have the Nano 7 whit this new Apple Airbuds (whitout Microphone)

Shall i try they on the Pandora and write how they work??
 

Grench

Forum Addict!
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
6,623
To my understanding, what Apple did to take a common stereo headphone + mic jack and make it semi-proprietary was to swap the mic and the ground circuits.

The headphones don't have a ground connection - and are effectively sending the audio signal to the microphone circuit UNLESS the push-talk is enabled, yielding a path to ground for the headphones.

Unfortunately, the Apple method seems to have become so common on headphones that additional device manufacturers have started to wire their devices this way too.

Yes, there are cheap adapters out there to swap the mic/ground lines back to where they really should be - with the ground as the outermost/base barrel.

See TRRS standards on this article for more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_connector_(audio)
 

TrashyMG

Sarcasm Dispenser
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
11,026
The headphones don't have a ground connection - and are effectively sending the audio signal to the microphone circuit UNLESS the push-talk is enabled, yielding a path to ground for the headphones.

No they have a ground connection, it's just swapped from the standard. If you use an apple headset on the Pandora hitting the push the talk with give a path to ground.

Nokiavsiphone.png
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Fzero

Advanced Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
4,703
I'm listening to music on my big bad Sennheisers now :) Only cheap[ish] ones, about 20 quid, sounds good though. Were a good choice all those years back
 

Grench

Forum Addict!
Joined
Oct 3, 2008
Messages
6,623
The headphones don't have a ground connection - and are effectively sending the audio signal to the microphone circuit UNLESS the push-talk is enabled, yielding a path to ground for the headphones.

No they have a ground connection, it's just swapped from the standard. If you use an apple headset on the Pandora hitting the push the talk with give a path to ground.

Nokiavsiphone.png
No, they don't have a proper ground UNLESS you push the talk button - which opens the mic circuit and yields a ground path.

Until you push the button, they are in essence 'grounding' through the mic feed by overpowering it - which can't be good for the mic circuit.  They don't have a proper 'ground' unless that button is pushed.  It still leaves the amplified signal from the headphones on the mic input circuit as well as going to ground at that point.
 

TrashyMG

Sarcasm Dispenser
Staff member
Joined
Jan 18, 2010
Messages
11,026
No, they don't have a proper ground UNLESS you push the talk button - which opens the mic circuit and yields a ground path.
Which is exactly what I said.. But it clearly has a ground pin just not in the right place, which your sentence made it sound like it didn't have any ground what so ever in the pinout.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

vaustein

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Messages
240
where did you wrong in life?
You live in Cleveland, Ohio - presumably by choice - and you ask where *I* went wrong in life?

I was in a hurry to replace my damaged Sennheiser earbuds, so I was limited by the available stock at my local Best Buy. Also, the Sennheisers never quite fit my ears. These Monsters fit beautifully.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

hedwards

Active Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2008
Messages
872
Pandora uses the standard headset connector at the time it was developed, Apple decided to go their own way and differentiate itself from other phone manufacturers to corner the market on accessories and it seems to have infested other manufacturers too now even Samsung phones use the bastardized connection layout now.. The difference is that apple's connector layout switches the Mic and the ground.. which is why when you click the button it causes it to properly go to ground and it sounds better.


Like Mcobit says there are easy to find adapters floating around.

http://www.amazon.com/conductors-Earphone-Converter-Motorola-Headphone/dp/B00E3PMG82/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1391106216&sr=8-8&keywords=apple+headset+to+nokia+headset+adapter
This is one of the reasons why I refuse to have anything to do with Apple products. They charge way too much for their hardware, then use non-standard ports to try and force people to stay within their ecosystem. In order to technically comply with EU regulations on the type of charging cables, they use a proprietary port with a cable adapter, IIRC.

There's a lot of shrewd marketing that goes on, but they frequently just steal ideas from other companies and pretend like they invented them.
 

Askarus

Forum Addict!
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
4,618
Location
Germany
Ugh I want to stab Apple in the eye for forking something which was supposed to be standard...
Amen.

Changing ground and mic does make no sense.

What if we declare the Apple headphone jack as standard?

Will they switch back to the old standard  then?
 

Granitehead

Advanced Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
3,011
What if we declare the Apple headphone jack as standard?

Will they switch back to the old standard  then?
I guess they will be proud to have invented the first real mic/headphone jack and will add that to their list of accomplishments. That old standard doesn't count, it was so bad and barely worked anyway, and it didn't even have "Apple" written on it, so it can't count.
 
Top