earphone jacks

Facts you probably didn't know about Earphone Jacks

26 July, 2019   Earphones

Everyone is used to carrying their headphones everywhere, no matter where they are heading. The love for music is embedded in our lives and at TAGG, we couldn’t agree more. But amidst enjoying our favorite beats, we barely notice the fine details of our wired audio gadgets. One important part of wired headphones/earphones is the jack which eventually allows us to experience the magnificent sound of music. 

Headphone jacks are typically a family of electrical connectors used for the analog audio signal and are usually cylindrical in shape.  The 3.5mm jack was invented during the 19th century and was originally invented to make it easy for a telephone operator to make connections on the switchboard. Earlier, there were many different jack designs but with the rise of stereo audios, a different type of jack tips, rings, plugs were invented to enhance music listening experience.

 To understand this dynamic technology, it’s important to discuss different types of jack conductors:-

 2 Conductor Plug (TS)

These type of conductors carry audio signal from one connector and are usually used to connect guitars to an amplifier.TS connectors have two contact points separated by an insulator ring, the tip (T) and the sleeve (S). The audio signal travels over the tip while the ground uses the sleeve. Its longer cable also leads towards the distortion because the longer the cable, the higher the chances that it will pick up more noise.  

3 Conductor Plug (TRS)

These type of audio jacks support stereo sound but it does not support microphones. It means that you can only listen to music but can’t take calls. Its additional ring gives you the two contacts allowing you to access left & right audio channels. These conductors are also referred to as single-ended plugs.

4 Conductor Plug (TRRS)

These conductors are most commonly used in modern smartphones & gaming consoles and can also support microphones, stereo audio connections simultaneously. Its conductor design follows Cellular Telecommunication & Internet Association  (CTIA) standards, U.S.,  hence it is also known as CTIA TRRS jack connector.

5 Conductor Plug (TRRRS)

These conductors are used to support balanced stereo signals. The XLR connectors (3, 4 & 5 pins) are a common choice for stereo balanced headphones. XLR connectors have been the standard in the professional audio market. It is no surprise that these conductors become the most popular among the others and its XLR become the go-to solution.

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