What is an audio connector?

Definition: the audio connector is a kind of electronic or fiber-optic connector used in music equipment, and it transmits the audio signal. The connecting part is desperate or exchangeable.

Classification:

The audio connector is classified as male, female, plug, jack(usually be fixed on the panel) based on the PIN structure.

Male(plug)/ Female (jack):

 

male

female

plug

male plug

female plug

jack/ chassis

male jack/ chassis

female jack/ chassis

 

Function:

The signal contains analog signals and digital signals. The information of signal can be studied by recording or video equipment. The influence factors of the audio signal are cable numbers, cable types, voltage, frequency, light density…etc. The jack would be installed on the audio or video equipment (television, receiver), then use the plug which is assembled in audio equipment ( microphone ) plugging into the jack. Electric current flows through the cable and transmits the analog or digital signal. The audio connector is the bridge of signal connecting, so we need to assure the quality of the audio connector to keep the stability of current and signal.

 

Application:

Audio, Video, Multimedia, Broadcasting equipment

 

What are the common audio connectors?

6.3 mm, 1/4" Phone Jack & Plug:

The front of the Phone Jack ( = 6.3mm ) is 1/4" plug or jack. The style of plug and jack depends on mono or stereo. 1/4" stereo phone jack contains two black grommet rings, and departs the front area into the tip, ring, and sleeve. The functions are transmitting the positive signal, negative signal, and ground. It is used in low impedance & balanced signal devices and high impedance devices.

Application: Electronic music equipment, electric guitars, microphones, home stereo system equipment.

Another name: Jack 6.3, ¼” jack, phone jack, audio jack, jack plug、TRS connector

 

Figure 1. 6.3mm phone stereo plug (left side); 6.3mm phone mono plug ( right side)

Figure 2. 6.3mm Phone Jack

 

3.5 mm Phone Jack & Plug

The structure is similar to 1/4" Phone Jack, also classified by mono/stereo. The difference is 3.5 diameters of plug &jack.

 

Application: Computer sound card, personal stereo headset

  

Figure 3(left). 3.5 mm phone mono Jack 

Figure 4(right). 3.5 mm Phone stereo Jack

 

The RCA connector

 RCA stands for Radio Corporation of America, and it has 2 PINs. PIN 1 is sleeve,  it can shield and return path. PIN 2 is a metal pin in the front of the connector, as the tip, and it can transmit positive and unbalanced signals.

Application: Home audio & video equipment, TV, DJ mixer, Hi-Fi

 

Figure 5. RCA connector

 

XLR connector

It can be classified as a male plug, female plug, male jack, female jack. It contains 3 ~7 pins, transmitting balanced audio. Take 3 Pin connector as an example, Pin 1 shields the signal, Pin 2 transmits the positive signal, and Pin 3 transmits the negative signal. Transmission direct from male to female. The related connector is mini XLR, a mini type of XLR, it is used in desk and conference microphones.

Application: audio equipment, microphone, monitor speakers, loudspeaker, karaoke

Another name: cannon

    

Figure 5. female XLR, male XLR, female Mini XLR, male Mini XLRs

 

Ring connector, Sound plug CB Type

The port of connectors is circular, it contains 2~8 PINs. It is also applied in the automotive industry, mold industry.

Application: Broadcast equipment, broadcast host amplifiers, karaoke amplifiers.

 

Figure 6. CB connector

 

Din connector

Small connectors, the port of connectors are circular, the material of shell usually use black plastic, and diameter of the connector is 3/8’’ (= 9.5mm). The related connector is Mini Din, a mini type of Din connector, It is usually applied in the mixer, computer, stage lighting.

Application: mixer, computer, stage lighting

 

Figure 7. Din Connector,  Mini Din Connector

 

Watch more

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Audio connector & XLR

 

Reference

1. 產業價值鏈資訊平台。連接器產業鏈簡介。檢自:https://ic.tpex.org.tw/introduce.php?ic=K000

2. ASPI digital (1998). Guide to good audio connections.Retrieved from http://docplayer.net/30320195-Aspi-digital-s-guide-to-good-audio-connections.html

3. Grimmaudio (2017). TPR assemblies. Retrieved from https://www.grimmaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/TPR-Assemblies-pinout-sheet.pdf

4. Wikipedia (2009). Audio and video interfaces and connectors. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_and_video_interfaces_and_connectors.