So, you bought you beautiful Sony Xperia S, plug in your custom headphone and it doesn’t work. Do not fear, it’s not you headset, it’s the phone. Fortunatly, or unfortunately, this only applies to 4pin headphones with inline microphones.
Sony, in their effort to be more green and save power, decided to take the industry standard, and modify it. Why they would do that remains unclear, but personally, I think they want to monopolize the headset industry for their phone.
Sony made two movements when it comes to headphone: Firstly, they shifted from OMTP to CTIA and the second; they changed a voltage regulator from 2.7V to 2.0V. The change from OMTP to CTIA basically involves swapping the ground and mic pins on the connector. The mic pin is also for all the button functions built into the headset, such as answer, volume up and track skip. The change in voltage regulator results in the MEMS microphone chip in older headsets won’t work because it is not getting enough power. Either of these changes, or even both, could be the cause of your deffening silence. Since I own three sets of headphones with inline microphones from Skullcandy, this is a total write off.
Here is a message from a Sony representative explaining this to me.
“The cause of the incompatibility: Sony Xperia S supply 2V (Volts) purely from an energy consumption perspective. The microphone in the boundled Sony Mobile headset is Electret microphones that only require a 2V feed. For other suppliers (e.g. IPhones headsets) they can use MEMS microphones that require a minimum of 2,7V.
In order for fully compatibility, Sony smartphones need to supply a minimum of 2,7V. This requires a feature/HW change.
A feature/HW change has been submitted to be implemented in coming products.”
There is however a small workaround to gain some functionality from your not-so-functioning headphones. Simply hold down the volume up (there have been reports of using the middle button and the volume down button, however volume up worked for me) button before you connect the headphone, and 5 seconds after that. You should be able to listen to music using the headphones, but the microphone and the buttons won’t work.
To tell you the truth, I’m terribly disappointed in this. Such a minor change causing major discomfort. Maybe if we put enough pressure on Sony, they will maybe consider a refund, but this is still highly unlikely…
Try to enjoy your Sony Xperia S!!