What Size Is A Headphone Jack? Everything You Need To Know

What Size Is A Headphone Jack Everything You Need To Know
  • Anthony

Nowadays, wired headphones are a necessity for all device components. Do you know What Size Is A Headphone Jack is? Keep following the post of Hooke Audio to know more.

You can meet people listening from all directions on the streets. We often forget to pay attention to the most important part of our life: the headphone jacks.

Headphone Jack Sizes & Headphone Plugs?

What is a Headphone Jack/Plug?

Headphone jacks are an electrical connector that transmits and receives audio signals. You may also call it a phone jack or jack plug. The plug is pin/cylindrical, and the headphone jack is a small hollow, round analog socket.

The plug acts as a male connector while the headphone jacks act on the receiving end. The headphone jack is typically used inside an item, while the plug is connected to a cord. A headphone connector converts digital audio signals from a device to a headset. This connection is complete when you connect a plug and Jack.

When we refer to the standard size of a connection, the word to use is a plug. The male connector is the headphone plug. On the other hand, the headphone jack is where the headphones are inserted.

However, you will see me using a plug as well as a Jack when I mean plug. It is more natural to use a plug, but I don’t know why. I’m not alone. It is important to note that I am referring to the various types of connectors.

History & Evolution Headphone Jacks

Charles E. Scribner was the first to patent the headphone jack on 5 February 1884. He called Jack-knife, a connector, he was granted US Patent 293,198. This is also the reason why the name jack was invented. A quarter-inch jack was originally the first Jack, and it’s still used on many appliances today.

Telephone operators initially used it in old-fashioned switchboards for plugging and unplugging connections as human operators manually connected calls.

As audio devices became smaller in the 20th century, a 3.5 mm headphone was introduced, also known as miniature size. The popularity of the 3.5 mm headphone was increased by personal headsets using transistor radios, such as the Sony Walkman.

The 2.5 mm, also called the sub-miniature (or sub-mini), was introduced as we move into the 21st century. As technology advances, different jacks are taught to fulfill other functions.

What Size Is A Headphone Jack?

Audio Lighting Jack

Apple devices use the lightning port. Although it was introduced in 2012, there was still an audio telephone jack. With the iPhone 7, the phone jack was eliminated. It used the lighting port to charge headphones and earphones.

Rumors suggest that the lighting port will be removed with the new iPhone model in 2021. However, headphones still use the lighting port. These models aren’t limited to Apple products. Amazon offers a variety of alternative headphones and earphones for iPhones.

Lightning Jack is unique in that it produces output sound and does not reduce it. Lightning Jack is a connector that has full sound. This contrasts with the 3.5mm Jack, which can compress the sound output and only transmit 16-bits to the listener.

Lightning connectors and jacks have many advantages over other connectors and jacks for headphones. These are some of the advantages:

  • The Lightning Jack reproduces perfect sound without distortion or compression from the built-in DAC
  • The Lightning Jack allows you to provide power directly from the source to your headphone device.
  • Higher probability of digital value transfer between the audio signal source and the headphone device
  • Accessories can be customized with additional features, such as digital inputs or fitness sensors.

The pinout for the audio jack of the Lightning cable can be found here:

  • Pin GND Ground
  • Pin L0p Lane 0+
  • L0n Lane 0.
  • ID0 Identification/Control 0
  • PWR Power
  • L1n Lane 1 negative
  • L1p Lane 1+ positive
  • ID1 Identification/control 1

2.5 mm Micro-Jack

What Size Is A Headphone Jack?

Micro Jack is another name for the headphone jack. It is very similar to the mini-jack except for its 2.5 mm size. It was previously used in mobile devices. However, the standard didn’t hold, and manufacturers used a 3.5mm plug in their devices.

The 2.5 mm headphone jack is the smallest size. The plug’s diameter is 2.5 mm. It is also called a 2.5 micro jack. Micro jacks are used to connect smartphones and other players. The micro-jack is used only for audio transmission.

While many people use headphones, only a small percentage are aware of their properties. This is often a problem. You can damage your equipment’s output by inserting the TS plug into a TRRS connector.

However, a TRRS (Tip-Ring-Ring-Sleeve) plug is compatible with a TS connector with common ground. It is important to have a basic understanding of connectors and how they work.

This is how you wire a headset using a TRRS 2.5 cable (OMTP Standard – National Standard).

  • The first is the left channel
  • The second is the right channel
  • The microphone connection is on the third channel.
  • The ground is the fourth channel.

What is the OMTP standard?

The Open Mobile Terminal Platform (OMTP) was a forum created by mobile network operators to discuss standards with manufacturers of mobile phones and other mobile devices.

During its lifetime, the OMTP included manufacturers such as Huawei, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson.

A TRRS 2.5 cable (CTIA Standard – American Standard) – 4 poles

  • The first is the left channel
  • The second is right the channel
  • The ground is the fourth channel.
  • The microphone connection is on the third channel.

TRS 2.5 cable to connect to a standard headphone – 3 poles

  • The first is the left channel
  • The second channel is right
  • The ground is the fourth channel.

For standard headphones, a 2.5 TRS cable is available:

  • The microphone is the first channel.
  • The audio output is the second channel.
  • The ground is the fourth channel.

NOTE: Make sure that choose the right channel

3.5 mm

The 3.5mm headphone jack connector is very popular and can be found in most devices, even Apple products. This plug is being replaced by USB Type-C and has been replaced by Apple makers. It is easy to repair headphone plugs of any size, but fixing the Lightning or Type-C pin isn’t easy.

The number of wires in headphones jacks can vary between sizes. The 3.5mm plug may have three or four wires. The first case transmits a mono sound, while the second sends a full stereo sound.

Most headphones have stereo sound, which is two-channel sound. A microphone means the headset is already a headset. This will mean that an additional pin will be added to the connector.

The type of manufacturer will affect the pins on the plug. These are some characteristics of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

  • The TS cable connects a microphone. It has two audio signal conductors (positive or negative).
  • The TRS cable, the most popular type, can be used for any accessory. It is equipped with three pins: ground, right, and left.
  • The TRRS is an older model and was made for older Nokias. It is equipped with four pins. It has four pins: the first is on the left, the second on the right, the microphone, and the fourth on the ground.
  • Another form of TRRS is where the first is left and the second is right. The third is the ground. And the fourth is a microphone. It was specifically designed for the HTC, iPhone, and Samsung.

6.3 mm (6.35 mm) Headphone Jack

The 6.35 mm headphone jack, more commonly used in professional audio equipment, is an old standard. This Jack was used in the past for DVD players. The standard headphone connector is still used today in musical instruments, such as electric guitars and similar devices.

The 6.3mm headphone socket is rare today and very rarely used. The 6.3 jack is only found in professional music equipment, older microphone models, and metal detectors.

The number of pins that make up the headphone jacks can divide it into two types. There are two-pin and three-pin options. Each one has a unique pinout.

Two-pin:

  • A microphone is the first contact.
  • The second is the ground
  • These are the three pins

Three pins:

  • The second is ground, or common.
  • The third is ground.

The 4.4mm Audio Jack

As we have already mentioned, the 4.4mm headphone socket is also available.

The Pentagon 4.4mm balanced plug is a relatively recent product. It sits somewhere between a 3.5mm headset jack and a high-end XLR. It is a 5-pole TRRRS plug and is used in the professional audio and telecommunications industries.

There are many wiring options for the TRRRS. This is the most popular in headphones:

  • Tip: left channel (positive polarity)
  • Ring: left channel (negative polarity)
  • Ring: right channel (positive polarity)
  • Ring: right channel (negative polarity)
  • Sleeve: Ground/shield

With the TRRRS connector at 4.4mm, we have two balanced channels that produce a proportional stereo signal. The quieter, more efficient way to transmit stereo audio to your headphones is with balanced audio.

Many would argue that balanced headphone connections such as the 4.4mm TRRRS don’t make sense and offer a minimal improvement over unbalanced stereo. The science behind balanced vs. unequal audio is clear. Now the question is, Is it worth it?

Other Headphone Connections: Bluetooth & Wireless Headphones

Let’s talk about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack from their smartphones. This was a major decision that was not taken lightly. To make such a huge choice, there had to be another option to the Lightning cable. This alternative was wireless headphones and, more specifically, Bluetooth headphone technology.

Wireless headphones require a transmitter and receiver. The wireless transmitter transmits the source audio wirelessly, and the receiver, built into the headphones, picks up the audio and converts it into sound.

These wireless audio signals can be encoded. This means that they are contained within another call and not transmitted as audio waves. Wireless signals are usually in the radio frequency or infrared frequency band. It is important to encode the movement, or it will be transmitted as an audible sound.

The transmitter receives the audio signal and encodes it before sending it wirelessly to the receiver. The receiver decodes the wireless signal and accesses it.

Let’s now quickly go over the wireless headphones connections.

Radio Frequency Wireless Headphone Connect

The RF wireless headphones transmit audio wirelessly using radio frequencies, as their name implies. The frequency range is usually extremely high frequency/VHF (30-300 MHz) or ultra-high frequency/UHF (3300 MHz-3 GHz).

Manufacturers of wireless headphones will typically design their products to work with a narrow range of radio frequencies.

RF signals travel typically 15m to 100m and don’t require a line of sight between transmitter and receiver for proper operation.

Wireless RF headphones allow us to have as many headphones as we like listening to the same radio channel.

Listening to RF can cause interference and static. Low-level noises and a lack of bass are every day in wireless RF headphone signals.

Bluetooth Wireless Headphone Connection

Bluetooth is an international standard for digital wireless communication. Bluetooth encodes and transmits digital audio, not analog audio like most RF or IR wireless systems. Bluetooth works with RF frequencies within a band of 79 frequencies, centered at 2.45 GHz.

Bluetooth allows you to connect up to eight devices simultaneously without interference. This is possible because each connection changes frequencies 1600 times per minute.

Infrared Wireless Headphone Connection

Infrared wireless headphones transmit audio encoded using infrared waves (frequency range 300 GHz to 430 THz).

IR wireless is more reliable than RF, but it depends on line-of-sight.

This is similar in function to the way a remote control for a TV interacts with a TV.

Connection via USB

The connections to the headphone plug have been changed for laptops and PCs. Computer jacks are susceptible to damage. The computer jacks can either be damaged or thrown in.

Manufacturers have adjusted so that more headphones for laptops and PCs use the standard USB connection. It’s also easier to add stereo channels to balance the right audio via USB connections.

Related post: How To Fix Headphone Jack?

I suggest switching to USB for your PC headphones if you are tired of the 3.5mm plug. It is much more user-friendly. USB is now the norm for laptops and PCs.

The USB port is another type of connector that can be found in gaming headsets. The line output and this port are on nearly all sound sources. They have been used for years with all computers and laptops, as it is through them that information from portable flash media flows.

This type of headphone connector is scarce, as it is primarily used in Esport headsets. They are well-adjusted and have many buttons.

USB was previously only found on computers. However, today, such ports can be found on most LCD TVs, many music stations, and some tablets. You can also find a micro USB port on smartphones, where the headphones can be connected directly (not all models) or via an adapter.

Features

  • The built-in amplifier makes the sound from a USB connector more powerful than that of conventional headphones. Some phones and players come with an amplifier. However, this is rarely enough to satisfy all users.
  • USB headphones with USB jacks can be connected to via USB jacks. They don’t require an external digital-to-analog converter, as the headphones are equipped with a chip that has similar functionality.

USB headphones are power-hungry, which is a problem. The standard battery can be quickly discharged by the current flowing through the port. This is because the average USB headset consumes about 5 volts. This problem is not present when the headset is connected to a computer or another fixed device.

Further Read: How To Use Headphone Mic On Pc?

USB Type C

Apple began using USB Type C in all of its phones after replacing the 3.5mm headset jack. The iPhone 7 and later models now have Type C jacks instead of mini-jacks. Micro-USB Type C also has dramatically improved sound quality.

The pinout for the USB Type C jack

USB Type C

What Size Is the Standard Headphone Jack Connector?

The 3.5 mm plug-in is the most common type of headphone. Modern smartphones have USB-C and lightning ports for the headphone plug. The industry standard is still the 3.5 mm plug.

You’ve probably used headphones or earbuds before and know what this plug-in looks like. The plug’s diameter is 3.5 mm. There may be a few headphone plugs with different looks, but they all have the same 3.5mm diameter.

We’re referring to headphones and speakers that are intended for personal use. A different standard is used for professional-grade audio equipment. With powerful equipment, 3.5 mm is not recommended.

Notice: The 3.5 mm Jack can be found in all headphones, earphones, and bookshelf speakers. This is true even if professional equipment is not included. It will not be the 3.5 mm Jack; it will be USB and Bluetooth connections.

What Size Is the Standard Amplifier Jack Size?

The standard size of the amplifier jack is 6.3mm. It is thicker than the standard headphone socket and looks exactly like it. There are adapters available for connections from 3.5 mm to 6.3mm. A female adapter 3.5 mm in length can be used with a male adapter 6.3 mm.

Alternative connection

Bluetooth is the future of headphones and earphones. Bluetooth earbuds are revolutionizing the way people use their earbuds. Bluetooth is an excellent alternative to earbuds that were once an inconvenience for running or cooking.

Wireless headphones became increasingly popular, and manufacturers began to offer them. Only those who don’t like the limitations of batteries are likely to refuse to switch to Bluetooth. While they are correct that technology must improve, there are still some optimistic people.

Bluetooth headphones and earbuds are great options for smartphones and laptops.

What is the purpose of a headphone plug?

A headphone plug:

  • It directly affects the audio signal that it transmits.
  • This indirectly impacts the overall quality and sound.
  • This tells us the capabilities of the cable (mic, stereo support, etc).

First, let’s understand two concepts about the transmitted signal from an audio source to our headphones.

Mono VS Stereo Audio

There are two types of audio signals that can be transmitted between the audio source and the headphones

  • Monaural (Mono).
  • Stereophonic (Stereo).

Mono audio uses only one audio channel, while stereo signals use two audio tracks (left or right).

Stereo audio creates the illusion of sound coming in different directions, which simulates natural hearing. This effect is achieved by two separate audio channels that produce sound in stereo headphones or speakers. This is known as the surround sound effect.

Mono signal refers to the sound that is reproduced from only one position.

Balanced VS Unbalanced Audio

Take a deeper discussion about balanced and unbalanced audio.

Balanced audio refers to interconnecting audio, and transmitting signals in a balanced way.

We need an amplifier that produces balanced output and a cable capable of carrying that output.

A balanced output has two signal phases (or a hot or cold signal) per channel. The name balanced refers to the equal impedance of each stage relative to the ground.

Unlike TRS connectors, XLR connectors have pins instead of tips, rings, and sleeves. However, they work the same way. The XLR5 connector has 5 conductors just like the TRRRS connectors.

Benefits of balanced audio

Balanced connections have the advantage over unbalanced connections. This is because noise interference can be canceled using a technique called Common Mode Rejection (CMR).

Any noise interference that strikes the balanced phases of the cable is imprinted equally. Headphones, which are the receiver equipment in this case, only care about the differences between the steps.

Interference that adds equally to both phases is not a difference and is canceled out by the amplifier when they are recombined. CMR is a process that cancels noise and preserves the original sound.

Because it cancels noise interference, a balanced cable can run longer and be used in noisy environments.

Unbalanced Stereo and Unbalanced Mono?

For example:

The cable is not capable of carrying a balanced signal (TS, single-ended TRS connectors).

Audio is unbalanced if it doesn’t meet the requirements for balanced audio.

You should be able to send four types of the signal via the output (amplifier, for example) through a cable to a pair of headphones.

  • Unbalanced mono

Engineers can use the Unbalanced to carry a microphone signal. This is sometimes referred to as a single-ended plug since the audio is not balanced.

  • Unbalanced stereo

We can now support both balanced mono signals as well as unbalanced stereo signals by adding another conductor, R.

Conclusion

The initial questions about the headphone jacks, function, and what size is a standard headphone jack have been answered. It is amazing to see how this small part of everyday headphones can play such an important role in audio signal transmission.
Although it is clear that phone companies are now more interested in wireless headphones, the headphone jacks remain a useful piece of technology. Hooke Audio hopes you enjoyed this article.

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