3.5mm Mini Stereo Jack Cable
A mini stereo jack connection is found on many AV devices, and in some circumstances it can be a useful option.
But what is it for, and when should we use it?
What does the connector on the device look like?
The 3.5mm mini stereo jack socket on your device look like this.
It is often used for a headphone connection on a small portable device or as a line level stereo audio input/output.
The stereo left and right audio signals are both transmitted through this one connection.
What does the cable look like?
The 3.5mm cable looks like this.
It can either be a mono or a stereo version. The mono version will have one ring and the stereo version will have two.
The two examples pictured here both stereo versions with two rings.
What does it do?
The mini stereo jack is used for transmitting analog mono/stereo audio signals. It does not support surround sound or digital audio signals.
When should I use it?
A mini stereo jack is often used as an alternative analog stereo connection to the more common phono connector.
If you have the option of using digital audio connections like an HDMI connector, coaxial digital audio and optical digital audio, then you would usually transfer the audio with these. However, where it is provided, a mini jack connection is often your only way of hearing the audio.
It is also common to find different analog stereo connections on the back of an HDTV. So you may get a 3.5mm mini jack audio input for the VGA connector, but a stereo RCA plug for the component video cable input.
What else can you tell me?
You will find this type of analog stereo connection on many consumer devices. It is more likely to be found on small devices with limited space, and is also very common as the line-level output on computer sound cards. It is also commonly used for connecting headphones.
This connection type can be known by a number of different names. Mini jack, headphone plug, 3.5mm jack, mini-stereo plug, mini-TRS jack......and many more.
'TRS' stands for Tip, Ring, Sleeve. This term refers to the design of the connector and the way the cable is connected to it. It is a common design for different types and size of analog audio connectors.
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