Audio Connector Types [A Detailed List and Guide]

As there are several audio devices and equipment, there are numerous audio connector types. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to make a mistake by using a device that won’t connect to your receiver or audio equipment.

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Audio Connector Types

Here is the list of all the most popular analog and digital audio connections and adapters to help you avoid costly mistakes.

What are audio connectors?

Any component that links a wire or cable to another device, as well as various types of audio cables or wire, is referred to as a “audio connector.” An audio component can be male or female, as well as input or output. This is the end of the cable that will connect to an audio port or audio jack when using an audio connector.

Types Of Audio Connectors and Adapters | DigitalAudioWiz
Audio connector types

Audio connectors are available in a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes. Some are simple to insert into an audio port, while others have locking features to keep the connection secure. An audio jack, on the other hand, is any port or opening with a corresponding type of connector.

A jack is almost always female and is almost always fixed. A plug is the component that connects to a jack or port. The most popular type is a 3.5mm headphone connector, which is generally male.

This plug connects smartphones, PCs, laptops, and digital music players to earbuds and headphones.

An adapter is a sort of audio equipment that can convert signals from one device to another that is compatible.

An adapter can be used to connect two separate or incompatible devices, or it can be a connector to another connector.

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The Types of Audio Connectors

The 3.5 mm Stereo Mini Jack

The 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack is one of the most used audio plug types. Because it’s usually found in headphones, headsets, and wired earbuds, it’s also known as a headphone jack.

3.5mm Mini Jack Audio Connectors Explained | Home Cinema Guide
Audio connector types

This jack is also known as a stereo mini-jack, 1/8-inch connector, or 3.5 mm connector.

A TRS design or layout is the most common type of 3.5 mm connector. The acronym TRS stands for Tip, Ring, and Sleeve. Because it has two contact points for speaker left and right outputs, it is a stereo connector.

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The TS, TRRS, TRRRS, and TRS stereo connector types are all identical to the mini-jack.

The ¼ -inch/6.3 mm TRS connector plug

TNP 3.5mm TRS to 2 Dual 1/4 Inch TS Stereo Audio Breakout Cable Adapter -  3.5mm 1/8" Female to 1/4" 6.35mm Mono TS Male Headphone Jack Plug Y  Splitter Cable Combiner Connector

Musical instruments and other professional audio equipment, such as keyboards, pianos, electric guitars, guitar amps, headphones, recording equipment, and other high-fidelity equipment, use the TRS plug.

The stereo 14-inch jack, the Balanced Jack, TRS Jack, and phone connector are all names for the TRS plug, which was originally used by telephone operators to connect calls.

The most common 14-inch connector design is TRS, which is comparable to a 3.5 mm jack but larger and wider. Meanwhile, the 6.3 mm plug comes in a variety of configurations, including TS and TRS, the latter of which is widely used to provide balanced stereo outputs

RCA or phono connector

The RCA or phono connectors are two more popular forms of audio connections. Almost all stereo and audio equipment, including high-fidelity systems, contains it. Radio Corporation of America (RCA) is the name of the corporation that invented this style of connector in the 1940s.

RCA connector - Wikipedia
RCA Connector

RCA phono connectors are also known as RCA plugs, phono plugs, and Cinch plugs. The name “phono” comes from the fact that this type of connector was originally used to connect a phonograph to an amplifier.

The RCA is frequently white and red in color. The left channel is represented by white, while the right channel is represented by red. The colors help connect two distinct devices or equipment easier, but you can swap them out if you like.

The left and right audio channels receive a 2-channel analog audio, composite feed through RCA connectors. RCA is for audio, although it can also be used to connect mono audio.

XLR audio connector

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Audio Connector Types [A Detailed List and Guide] 11

The XLR connector is known by professional musicians and performers and is one of the recommended audio cable connector types, while not being as popular as RCA cables.

The XLR connector, also known as mic leads or Cannon leads, is used in professional audio equipment and was first developed by Cannon as part of its Cannon X. It was later improved and renamed Cannon XL and then Cannon XLR.

The XLR audio connector has a 2 cm barrel with a male with 3 to 7 pins and a female with the same number of holes. However, the three-pin connector is the most popular. This connector is used to provide balanced audio while also preventing interference and EMI.

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Ordinary mic cables, monitor speakers, mixer cables, PA connections, professional audio equipment, and audio interfaces are not preferred by most professionals.

Optical digital audio TOSLINK connector

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Audio connector types: Optical digital audio TOSLINK connector

Toshiba Link is a type of optical digital audio interface. TOSLINK connectors were originally designed for Toshiba CD players, but as the benefits of this connector became clear, audio equipment makers adopted it.

The TOSLINK is a square tapered optical digital audio connector with angled edges on one side and square tapered edges on the other. The TOSLINK is a signal transmission system that connects two devices. Lossless 2.0 PCM and compressed Dolby Digital formats are supported by this connection.

It is incompatible with DVD-A, HD audio, SACD, and Dolby TrueHD.

Digital audio is transformed to light and transmitted across optical fiber lines using the TOSLINK connector. Despite being coupled to fiber optic cables and other forms of audio connections, a TOSLINK is just 5 meters long.

Banana Plug

Insignia™ Speaker Wire Banana Plugs (4-Count) Red/Black NS-HZ309 - Best Buy
Audio connector types : Banana Plug

Speaker wire connectors are sometimes known as banana plugs. It can join wires together, such as speaker wires, to make a clean, tidy wiring arrangement. The audio connectors and adapters are called Banana Plugs because they have a metallic pin in the middle that looks like a banana.

The Banana Plug has numerous benefits. One, it has no effect on the audio quality of your system. This plug keeps your speaker connections neat, making it simple to utilize with various speaker systems.

If you’re utilizing a Banana Plug for the first time, set aside some time to prepare the plugs. But don’t worry, connecting to your speaker or receiver takes only a few seconds.

Spade connectors or speaker pins are narrower and straighter than Banana Plugs. The two pins have very identical shapes, but you should check your system’s terminals to see if your speakers have spring-loaded or binding post terminals.

Simply push the clip and insert bare speaker wires or pins to use a spring terminal. Release the clasp after the pins or wires are in place. This type does not use spade connectors or banana plugs to connect.

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Audio Connector Types

Meanwhile, the binding post terminal includes a screwed component that must be unscrewed in order to open a hole and attach bare speaker wires, banana plugs, speaker pins, or other connectors. One of the most prevalent forms of audio connector is the spade connector.

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MMCX connectors

The MMCX is a micro-miniature coaxial connection that is one of the least used forms of audio connectors. IEMS and earphones commonly use this cable. These gadgets have a wide range of applications. This connector is simple to use and works with a variety of devices.

It may be connected to an MMCX jack and rotates 360 degrees. Because it is a small jack, it works well with IEMs and earbuds.

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Audio connector types, detailed list and guide

SpeakON

Because the 2 and 4-pole versions are interchangeable from the same socket or port, the SpeakON is available in 2, 4, and 8-pole designs. Because it is one of the newest connectors on the market, you might say you have never seen a SpeakON connector.

Conclusion

A Comprehensive Guide to Types of Audio Connectors
Audio Connector Types

There are two types of audio connectors: analog and digital. Analog cables, which can be balanced or unbalanced, carry continuous electrical impulses that alter voltages from positive to negative. Analog cables include RCA, TS, XLR, and TRS.

Meanwhile, digital connections deliver data that computers can understand. TOSLINK, USB, MIDI, and digital coaxial cables are the most common digital cables. To avoid costly mistakes, figure out what type of equipment you want to connect and the ideal connection for excellent audio output ahead of time.

Keep in mind that the type of connector, cable, input and output device, and audio media all play a role in audio quality. Never accept anything less than the best.

FAQs about Audio Connector Types

What are different audio connectors?

RCA, XLR, TS, and TRS connections are all common analog connectors. Digital audio cables transfer audio in a computer-readable format.

What are the different types of connectors?

Board-to-board connectors, cable/wire-to-cable/wire connectors, and cable/wire-to-board connectors are the three types of electrical connectors based on their terminating ends.

How many types of audio cables are there?

There are three types of digital audio cable: coaxial digital cable, which can carry up to six audio channels and is ideal for 5:1 digital surround sound, optical cable, which transmits the digital audio signal as light pulses and ensures a perfect signal, and high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cable, which is ideal for high-definition video.

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!

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