Amazon basics 3


Sounds familiar? Ever since Apple removed the tai nghe jaông chồng from the iPhone 7 in favor of a lightning port, other điện thoại thông minh companies have sầu quickly followed suit with the removal of the once omnipresent port.

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“I am Jack’s complete lachồng of surprise.”

-Fight Club

There are still a few major companies lượt thích LG and Samsung who choose to lớn release their flagships with the tai nghe jack, but I suspect that could change with the upcoming trkết thúc of true wireless headphones.



The truth is that most mainstream consumers don’t care for the headphones jack. Good riddance, they say.

So, why should you care then?


Who Is This Guide For?

Do you want to lớn enjoy audiophile headphones that only have sầu a wired connection?Are you looking to lớn buy & tăng cấp your audio cable?

If you answered yes to any of the above sầu questions, this guide is for you.

By the kết thúc of the guide, you will be comfortable with terms like:

3-pole miniStereo mini3.5milimet single-ended (or unbalanced) cable

Difference between a Headphone Jaông chồng và Headphone Plug

The Sony TA-ZH1ES with many strange looking holes at the front.

Do you see these sockets that the above sầu Sony TA-ZH1ES have? Those are headphones jacks. It is where you insert the headphone plugs to receive audio signals.

A variety of tai nghe plugs

The tai nghe jaông chồng is a family of electrical connectors that are typically used for analog audio signals. It is also known by other names like phone jack, audio jack, aux input, etc.

There are cases where tai nghe jaông chồng are used for digital audio signals. For example, the Google Chromecast can output either analog or digital signals off its single 3.5mm output jack

Female & male connectors


From Amazon. Male Connector (L) Female Connector (R)

In electrical và mechanical trades và manufacturing, each half of a pair of mating connectors or fasteners is conventionally assigned the designation male or female. – Wikipedia

Unfortunately, the audio industry has not unified in the way the electrical & mechanical trades have lớn describe the different gender of connectors. You will often find the word “plug” used to describe the male connectors while “jack” used khổng lồ describe the female connectors.

Evolution of the Headphone Jack

Who is jack?

The origin of the term “jack” can be traced bachồng to lớn 1874 when C.E. Scribner patented, what he calls, a “jack-knife” connector.

Patent of C.E. Scribner

The earliest known jack was a ¼ inch (6.35mm) version và still has mainstream usages which we describe below.

Rounded lớn pointed tip profile

In the early development days, there were many different jachồng designs. The rounded tip thiết kế was particularly popular because it was compatible with different manufacturers. The rounded tip quickly gained traction as the de-facto tip protệp tin for audio equipment.

But with the rise of stereo audio, a different tip protệp tin was needed to prevent the old rounded tip from frying the circuit when inserted into incompatible equipment. A pointed tip jachồng will prevent a rounded tip plug from being inserted fully, hence solving the problem.

Anatomy of a Headphone Plug



Regardless of the plug kích cỡ, all headphone plugs have sầu conductors. Conductors are the contact points of the plugs that cchiến bại the circuit.

A headphone plug has a minimum of 2 conductors and commonly up to lớn 5.

If it has 3 conductors, it may be called a 3 conductor plug. Some manufacturer uses pole to replace conductor. Hence, it can also be called a 3 pole plug.

Identifying conductors.


Each conductor has a specific name:

Tip (T)Ring (R)Sleeve (S)

All plugs have sầu at least a TipSleeve. It is the number of Rings that differentiate them. If the plug only has one ring, it is a 3 conductor plug or a TRS connector. If it has two rings, it is a 4 conductor plug or a TRRS connector.

Don’t mistake the blachồng band as a ring. It is an insulating bvà. The b& separates the parts of the plug from being shorted together.
Nomenclature of the Headphone Plug:2 conductor, 2 pole, TS3 conductor, 3 pole, TRS4 conductor, 4 pole, TRRS5 conductor, 5 pole, TRRRS

Different Plug Connectors configuration

Depending on available conductors, manufacturers can choose to configure jaông chồng and plug in various ways. Both must be complementary lớn each other.

2 conductor plug (TS)


Available Connectors: Only the tip & sleeve sầu connectors are available.

Connectors Connection:

The connection is fairly straightforward here. One connector is used to lớn carry the audio signal while the other acts as a return path & ground.

The ground acts as a reference point for the signal but it also picks up interference noises like an antenna. The longer the cable, the higher chance the more noise will be picked up.

Comtháng Usage: You can find TS connectors mainly with guitars, instruments, và applications that vị not require a long cable connection.

3 conductor plug (TRS)


Available Connectors: Aside from the tip & sleeve, there is an additional ring connector with two insulating bands around it.

Connectors Connection:

PinUnbalanced MonoBalanced MonoUnbalanced Stereo
2Optional (Mic etc)Signal - (Cold)Right Audio Channel
3SignalSignal + (Hot)Left Audio Channel
With the addition of another conductor “R”, we open up different possibilities such as supporting balanced mono signals & unbalanced stereo signals.

As seen in the “Unbalanced Mono” column above sầu, the engineer can choose to make use of the additional conductor to carry a microphone signal instead. In this case, where the audio is unbalanced, we may also sometimes refer khổng lồ this as a single-ended plug.

TRS still cannot carry a balanced stereo signal. For that, see TRRRS connector below.

Common Usage: Most comtháng khung of jaông xã connectors. You see these on the kết thúc of most stock headphone cables.

4 conductor plug (TRRS)


Available Connectors: With a 4 conductor plug, we have two additional rings with three insulating bands.

Connectors Connection:

3Right Audio Channel
4Left Audio Channel
The above sầu connection configuration follows the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) standards. Such a connection format is also called the CTIA TRRS jaông chồng connector format.

Comtháng Usage: It is the most commonly adopted standard for modern smartphones and gaming consoles where the cable supports a microphone and stereo audio connection at the same time.

5 conductor plug (TRRRS)


Available Connectors: For a 5 conductor tai nghe plug, we have 3 ring connectors.

TRRRS connectors are used khổng lồ tư vấn balanced stereo signal. You will find that XLR connectors (3 pin pairs, 4 pin, and 5 pin) are also a comtháng choice for stereo balanced headphones. XLR connectors have sầu been the standard balanced connector in the professional audio market for decades.

It is no surprise that when balanced headphone connections grew in popularity, the standard XLR became a go-lớn solution.

XLR5 Female (L) XLR5 Male (R)
Unlike TRS connectors, XLR connectors have pins instead of tips, rings, and sleeve. However, they work the same way. The XLR5 connector has 5 conductors just lượt thích a TRRRS connector.

Xem thêm: Đạo Diễn Jack Carry On - Jack Carry On (Trịnh Tài Việt)

Sony did make a TRRRS tai nghe jaông chồng – 4.4milimet Pentaconn connector.

Penta means “5” & conn is short for connector.

Please be aware that the Pentaconn connectors are new và not adopted widely by the industry. You either have sầu khổng lồ get an adaptor to lớn accommodate the 5 pole connector or purchase a compatible Sony amplifier.

If you are looking lớn make your own DIY cable with the 4.4mm Pentaconn connector, check out moon audio store.

Schematic of a headphone jaông xã & plug


If you are interested in the schematic of a headphones jaông chồng, you can hop on over here for a more detailed article.

Different sizes of headphone jacks/plugs


When we describe the kích thước of the tai nghe jack or plugs, we are referring to the diameter of the connector.

6.35milimet Connector

This is the largest connector among the jacks. It is otherwise known as the ¼ inch connector.

UGREEN Stereo Audio Adapter6.35milimet Male khổng lồ 3.5milimet FemaleTRS
UGREEN Stereo Audio Cable6.35mm to 3.5mmTRS
4.4milimet ConnectorNameSizeConductors
Yinyoo Upgrated 6 Cores Copper Stereo Earphone Cable4.4milimet khổng lồ MMCXTRRRS
FiiO 8-Stranded High-Purity Monocrystalline Silver-Plated Copper Cable4.4mm to MMCXTRRRS
Geekria Apollo Balanced Gold-Plated Adapter4.4mm male lớn 3.5mm femaleTRRRS
3.5mm Connector

Known as the miniature kích cỡ or mini for short. You can call it a ⅛ inch too.

AmazonBasics 3.5mm Male khổng lồ Male Stereo Audio Aux Cable3.5mm to lớn 3.5mmTRS
Zeskit Aux Audio Cable3.5milimet to lớn 3.5mmTRRS
Nacodex Audio Cable3.5mm lớn 2.5mmTRS
Kingtop Combo Audio Adapter Cable3.5mm male to 3.5mm femaleTRRS
2.5milimet Connector

Known as the sub-miniature or sub-mini for short.

NewFantasia Replacement Cable with Remote and Mic2.5milimet lớn 3.5mmTRS
NewFantasia HiFi Cable Balanced Male2.5mm to 2.5mmTRRS

Why does a headphone plug matter?

A headphone plug:

directly affects the audio signal it transmits.indirectly affects the overall chất lượng of sound.tells us what the cable is capable or not capable of doing (mic, stereo support, etc).

Let us first understand two basic concepts with regards to the transmitted signal from the audio source to our headphones.

Mono VS Stereo Signal

Two types of signal can be transmitted from the audio source lớn the headphones

Monaural (Mono)Stereophonic (Stereo)

A mono signal uses only 1 audio channel while a stereo signal uses two audio channels (left & right).

Stereo signal simulates “natural” hearing by creating the impression of sound coming from different directions. This is accomplished by the separate audio channels producing sound in two different speakers (or stereo headphones). You can Điện thoại tư vấn this the “surround-sound” effect.

As for mono signal, the sound reproduced is intended to be heard from one position.

Balanced VS Unbalanced Audio

For a more in-depth discussion on balanced và unbalanced audio, you can read “Balanced vs Unbalanced Audio Connections“

Balanced audio is all about interconnecting audio equipment and transmitting signals in a “balanced” manner.

To vày that, we need a combination of an audio source (amplifier) that can produce balanced output and a cable that is capable of carrying that balanced output.

From boxcast

A balanced output has two signal phases (or a hot và cold signal) per channel. Each phase has an equal impedance relative sầu khổng lồ ground, hence the name balanced.

A balanced mono cable typically has at least three conductors (TRS) lớn carry the signal khổng lồ the headphones. A balanced stereo cable has at least five conductors (TRRRS).

Advantage of Balanced Audio

The advantage of balanced connections over unbalanced connections is the canceling of noise interference via a technique named Common Mode Rejection (CMR).

Any noise interference that hits the two balanced phases in the cable is imprinted equally on them. The receiving equipment (headphones in our case) only cares about the difference between the phases.

So, interference that adds equally lớn both phases creates no difference between them và is canceled out when they are recombined by the amplifier. This canceling process of noise while preserving the original sound is known as CMR.

This means that balanced cable can run longer than unbalanced cable và operate in noisier environments because it cancels any noise interference.

So when is audio unbalanced?

When the requirements lớn meet balanced audio are not met, the audio is considered unbalanced.

For example:

The audio source is unable khổng lồ produce a balanced output.The cable is not capable of carrying a balanced signal (TS, single-ended TRS connectors).

Plugis the key

With the above two concepts, you should know that you can send 4 types of signal from the output (amplifier for example) via a cable lớn a pair of headphones.

Unbalanced monoBalanced monoUnbalanced stereoBalanced stereo

Whether a signal can be fully supported or even supported at all depends on the number of conductors found on the plug.

đầu ra SignalJaông xã ConnectorBalanced Audio Connection
Balanced MonoTSN
Balanced MonoTRSY
Unbalanced StereoTRSY
Balanced StereoTRSN
Balanced StereoTRRRSY

Is it confusing?

It can be hard lớn digest if you are reading all this for the first time. The part where stereo uses two channels & balanced audio needing two copies of the same signal with reverse polarity tripped me up pretty good, too.

An easy way khổng lồ underst& is to first acknowledge that we need conductors khổng lồ skết thúc & carry signals.

The more signals we need to skết thúc, the more conductors we need.

For example, if we want khổng lồ sover a balanced stereo signal, it needs to lớn send

one right channel (R+),one flipped right channel (R-),one left channel audio (L+),one flipped left channel audio (L-).

In total, it needs 4 signal wire và one ground wire which only a TRRRS connector can provide.

Thus, if a jachồng with an inadequate connector is used (lượt thích a TRS connector), the tai nghe doesn’t receive the complete set of signals khổng lồ bởi vì the CMR. Hence, the whole audio connection becomes unbalanced.

Let’s Practice Our New Skill

Let’s see if we can put our new-found skill to lớn good use.

Rethành viên the “3 pole mini” term we mentioned right at the start of the article? What bởi vì you think it means?

Ans: 2.5mm TRS jaông chồng that can carry balanced signals


Do you see that the FiiO Q5 had two outputs? One with a tai nghe logo sản phẩm, another with “BAL” sign. Do you underst& what that means?

Lastly, another practice question.

Xem thêm: Tóm Tắt Kiến Thức Lịch Sử Lớp 12, Kiến Thức Lịch Sử


See if you can read the “Headphone Output” specifications of the Sony TA-ZH1ES và underst& what they mean.