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Sharp 4-pole 'phones

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The difference between plug-ins of the 3-pole and 4-pole design

3-pole on left (two black loops) 4-pole on right (three black loops)


The available 4-pole phones; all made by Sharp


HP-SS30-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 2,200 yen.


SS-30 stats:

Drive diameter, 14.5mm

Impedance, 32 ohms

Max.allowed output, 10mW

Sensitivity, 97dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz

HP-SM30-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 2,200 yen.


SM-30 stats:

Drive diameter, 16mm

Impedance, 32 ohms

Max. allowed output, 10mW

Sensitivity, 95dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz

HP-SS30 (right) next to HP-SM30 (left)



HP-MD1-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 2900 yen.


HP-MD2-P (pink) retail price in Japan, 2900 yen.


HP-MD2-A (blue) retail price in Japan, 2900 yen.


all 3 (silver, pink, and blue)


MD-1 & MD-2 stats:

Drive diameter, 30mm

Impedance, 32 ohms

Max. allowed output, 20 mW

Sensitivity, 105dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz

HP-MD5-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 5000 yen.


MD-5 stats:

Drive diameter, 30mm

Impedance, 32 ohms

Max. allowed output, 50mW

Sensitivity, 102dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz

inner ear

HP-MD33-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 3500 yen.


HP-MD33 stats:

Drive diameter, 9mm

Impedance, 32ohms

Max. allowed output, 20mW

Sensitivity, 120dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz


HP-MD90-S (silver) retail price in Japan, 12,500 yen.


HP-MD90 stats

Drive diameter, 16mm

Impedance, 32ohms

Max. allowed output, 20mW

Sensitivity, 95dB/mW

Frequency response, 20~20,000Hz

All 4-pole 'phones come with a 3-pole to 4-pole converter chord; without it, plugging 4-pole phones into a 3-pole socket will only provide a signal to the left channel.

User experience:

SS30 & SM30: These are stock buds that are available at the retail level. They get the job done.

MD1 & 2: The 1's & 2's have a clean detailed sound. They are louder than the 5's when compared at

equal volumes. I would use them more but the plastic ear-hangers do not keep the 'phones in

place when I walk. During the cold weather, it is not a problem because I wear a stocking

cap over them that keeps them in place.

MD5: This set is more expensive than the 1's & 2's but I think it is for the housing quality rather than the

speaker quality. The rubber-coated metal hangers do hold the 'phones in place better than the

plastic hangers of the 1's & 2's but the sound is not as loud. I do hear the same amount of detail

in the 5's as I do the 1's & 2's but I have to turn the volume higher to match the sound level.

MD33: A very clean and detailed sound; these are the best sounding of the available 4 pole 'phones.

It has taken me several months to become accustomed to wearing inner-ear phones and I

only use them for riding planes and trains; at home I use 66 eggos. I find they aren't good for

walking because they can block out too much outside noise and they are prone to losing their

seal from the vibrations of body motion, whether it be walking or turning my head.

MD90: A strong sound and as detailed as you can expect from earbuds. These are my favorite buds of

any 3 or 4 pole buds I own and I use them with both 3 and 4 pole units. They are lightweight,

they sound good, and the ear hangers keep the buds in place.

Edited by bland10000
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Very nice review and pix. I miss my old Sharp DR7. but that 4 pole headphone sure played havoc with my FM modulator in the car. It just wouldn't behave like the Sony MDs with the 3 pole connections. Still, when going headphone out to PC or deck, that Auvi 1 Bit 4 pole connection was tops!

Thanks again for the pictures and review. good.gif

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  • 4 months later...

What extra signal are they transmitting with the extra pole?

That sounds like an invitation for some NSA jokes... :lol:

According to two different sources, one I've linked 'cause I could find it, the 4-pole has to do with 1) saving energy and 2) presenting a cleaner stereo signal; less bleeding of signal between left and right channel. At home I'll listen to auvi units with 66eggos and I find it just as satisfying as using 4-poles but 66's are a great 'phone so I'm not surprised. Perhaps the difference would be more noticeable with lower-end 'phones.

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