Nice to know: What is the audio connector?

Every one of us probably has used the audio connector at least once. In its most popular specification the connector is used for headphones for instance. It also has a lot of different application scenarios and specifications, which we want to explain you in this article.

History of the audio connector

The audio connector as it is known today, has developed from the connectors that were used in manual telephone exchanges in the late 19th and early 20th century. That’s why the audio connector has one of the longest evolutions in the connector technology.
It is typically used to transfer audio and video signals. Back in the days it was also used to supply small electronic devices with power. Due to the high risk of shorts this is no longer used.

Construction of the audio connector

In its simplest form the connector consists of an elongated shaft and a ball-shaped, rounded tip which is separated by an isolating ring.

The audio connector knows two main specifications which differ in the diameter of the shaft: one with 3.5 mm and one with 6.3 mm diameter. The miniature size connector is often used on portable devices such as smart phones or on soundcards. The 6.3 mm connector is used on almost every device in the music industry. There are some other specifications, for example with 2.5 mm, 4.4 mm and 5.2 mm and 7.1 mm, that are not very common.

Special applications of the audio connector

The audio connector is not only differed by the shaft diameter but also by the amount of poles. There is for instance the mono plug with two poles, the three-pole stereo plug and the mono plug with symmetrical connection and three poles.

A specialty is the four-pole stereo plug with an additional function. On this plug four contacts are available. It is used to connect headsets but also to transfer multi-channel, audio, video and USB signals.

Colour coding of the 3.5 mm audio connector

Our Mini-PCs are equipped with different sockets to connect the audio plug. There are special colours to distinguish between the various specifications.

  • pink:         Mic-In
  • blue:         Line-In
  • green:       Line-Out
  • black:        Rear speaker ouput
  • silver:        Side speaker ouput
  • orange:     Subwoofer output

##See all spo-comm Mini-PCs!

More on this topic

18 Sep 2018 know-how

Nice to know: What is LAN?

The abbreviations LAN or WLAN are probably known by anyone – no matter if you have heard it at home or at work. In this article we want to explain you what exactly stands behind LAN and what Ethernet and WOL have to do with it.
27 Sep 2018 know-how

Nice to know: What is USB?

Two weeks ago we initiated our new series about interfaces on our spo-comm blog with the “What is LAN?” article. Today we want to continue the series with the commonplace USB port. We use it to charge our phones or to connect a mouse or USB-stick with our computer. In this article we want to give you a glimpse of what stands behind the well-known USB and what the differences between the various specifications such as USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 Gen. 2 are.
23 Oct 2018 know-how

Nice to know: What is SPDIF?

Today we are sharing an article, in which we want to tell you about the interface SPDIF. Although it is mostly used in the consumer electronics field, some of our Mini-PCs are equipped with this port. In this article you will find what defines SPDIF, what it is used for and how it does compared to HDMI.