5 Types of Headphone Jacks – Explaining Headphone Jacks & Plugs

By the time you finish reading this article, you should be familiar with the concept of a headphone jack and the following terms:

  • lightning jack audio connector
  • micro 2.5 connector
  • 3.5 mm mini-connector
  • 6.3mm jack
  • usb audio jack
  • type-c

Lightning Jack Headphone

Audio Lightning Jack

The lightning connector has the peculiarity of producing output sound without reducing it. the lightning jack or connector produces and transmits a full sound compared to the 3.5mm jack, which compresses the output sound and can only transmit 16-bit quality to the listener.

Reading: What’s the headphone jack called

Headphones with a lightning headphone jack have many advantages over other jacks or connectors. here are some advantages:

  • the lightning connector produces perfect sound reproduction without distortion or compression from the built-in dac
  • using the lightning connector, you can provide electrical power to your headphone device directly from the source
  • higher probability of digital value exchange between the headset device and the signal source
  • you can add other features to your accessories, such as digital inputs and fitness sensors

The pinout of the audio connector of the lightning cable is as follows:

  • pin gnd ground
  • pin l0p rail 0+
  • l0n rail 0-
  • identification id0 / control 0
  • pwr power
  • l1n lane 1 negative
  • l1p lane 1+ positive
  • id1 identification / control 1

Vention 2.5mm to 3.5mm Aux cable

2.5 mm Micro-jack

micro jack is another name for the headphone jack. It is almost indistinguishable from the mini-jack, except for its size (2.5 mm). Previously, it was used in mobile devices, but the standard was not maintained and manufacturers decided to use a 3.5 mm jack in their devices.

If you’re looking for a very small connector, the 2.5mm jack is the smallest headphone jack. it is called 2.5 micro jack because the diameter of the plug is 2.5mm. the micro jack is often used in the cables of smartphones and players. this micro-jack is only used for audio transmission, and is hard to find nowadays because manufacturers have started using the mini-jack.

many people use headphones, but only a few know the properties of the plug. this usually causes a problem for them. for example, if you insert the ts plug into the trrs connector, while trrs means “tip, ring, ring, sleeve”. there is a very high risk of damaging the output of your equipment whereas instead when you connect a trrs plug to a ts connector there is no problem. That’s why a basic knowledge of connectors and jacks is essential.

connecting a headset with a 2.5 trrs cable (omtp standard – national standard) looks like this:

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

See also: Best audiophile headphones 2022 | What Hi-Fi?

one trrs 2.5 cable (ctia standard – american standard):

  • first channel is left
  • second channel is right
  • fourth channel is ground
  • third channel is for the microphone connection

a standard trs 2.5 headphone cable:

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

a standard 2.5 trs headphone cable:

  • first channel is microphone
  • second channel is audio output
  • fourth channel is ground

headphones with 2.5 mm micro-jack

  • jbl e45bt
  • bose 700 anc headphones
  • sennheiser hd 4.50 btnc

Mini-Jack 3.5 mm 2 Pole 3 Pole 4 Pole

3.5 mm Mini-jack

The 3.5mm mini jack is a very common type of connector and is used on almost all kinds of devices, including apple products. This is the same plug that is now being replaced by USB Type-C and has already been replaced by Apple manufacturers. repairing spark plugs of any diameter is very easy, but the lightning or type c spark plug is an exception.

Headphone jacks of the same size may also differ in the number of cables. for example, the 3.5mm plug may have 3 or 4 wires. in the first case, a mono sound is transmitted; in the second, we have full stereo sound. in most cases we find headphones with two-channel sound (stereo sound). if there is a microphone, it is already a headphone, which means there will be an extra pin on the connector.

The pins of the plug depend on the type of manufacturer. These are some of the features of the 3.5mm minijack.

  • the ts cable is used to connect a microphone; having two signal conductors (positive and negative)
  • the trs cable is the most common type, suitable for all types of accessories. it has 3 pins, left, right and ground.
  • the trrs is older and was designed for older nokias. it has four pins. the first is left, the second is right, the third is microphone, and the fourth is ground.
  • there is another form of trrs where the first is left, second is right, third is ground, and the fourth is a microphone. it is specially designed for htc, iphone, samsung and sony.

headphones with 3.5 mm mini-jack

  • beyerdynamic mmx 300 (2nd generation)
  • surface headphones from microsoft
  • philips shp-6000
  • sony wh-1000xm2
  • meze 99 neo
  • marshall monitor ii anc
  • sennheiser hd 660 s (6.3mm balanced cable and 3.5mm unbalanced cable with a 6.3mm adapter mm to 3.5 mm)
  • beyerdynamic lagoon and traveler with aptx low latency

Stereo Audio Adapter – QGEEM Headphone Jack 6.3 mm – Use cases and compatibility

6.3 mm (6.35 mm) Headphone Jack

The 6.3mm headphone jack is a fairly old standard, used more in professional audio equipment. In the past, DVD players were equipped with this connector. Today, the standard headphone jack is used on musical instruments: electric guitars, etc.

Nowadays the 6.3mm headphone jack is very rare and rarely used. you may only see the 6.3 connector on professional stereos, older microphone models, and metal detectors.

See also: How to Repair Your Frayed or Broken Headphone Wires – Headphonesty

The headphone jack can be divided into two types based on the number of pins. two pins and three pins. each of them has a different pinout.

for both pins:

  • first contact is a microphone
  • second is the ground

for all three pins:

  • the first is left
  • the second is ground or common
  • the third is ground.

headphones with 6.3 mm jack

  • philips shp-6000 (with 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter)
  • meze 99 neo (via 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter) to 6.3 mm)
  • sennheiser hd560s
  • meze 99 classics (via adapter)
  • mee audio pinnacle p1

USB Headphone Connector

Connection via USB

another type of connector is the usb port commonly found on gaming headsets. this port and line output are found on almost all sound sources – they have long been equipped with all computers and laptops because it is through this port that information from portable flash media passes. This type of headphone jack is quite rare as it is mostly found on gaming headsets for competitive esports gamers. they have a lot of extra buttons and are very well adjusted.

In the past, USB was only found on computers, but today such ports are found on the cheapest LCD TVs, most music stations, and some tablets. and on phones, you can find a micro-usb port, to which the corresponding headset can be connected either directly (not all models) or via a suitable adapter.


  • unlike conventional headphones, the sound emitted by a usb connector is more powerful and clear, thanks to the built-in amplifier. some models of phones and players have an additional amplifier, but very rarely, and the standard is not enough for some users.
  • some usb headsets that can be connected via usb connectors do not need an external amplifier of digital to analog. converter because headphones have their own chip with similar functionality.

of course, usb headsets have a drawback: they consume a lot of energy. A current of about 5 volts flows through the port; due to this, the standard battery can be discharged quite quickly. Of course, such a problem does not arise when you connect the headset to a computer or other fixed equipment.

headphones with usb headphone jack

  • hyperx cloud flight usb headset
  • steelseries arctis 7 wireless

Headphone Jack – Type-C Headphone Jack And Lightning Interface

USB Type-C

After replacing the 3.5mm headphone jack, Apple started using USB Type-C in all of its phones. Today the mini-connectors on the iPhone 7 and newer models are replaced with Type-C connectors. also, micro-usb type-c has greatly improved the sound quality.

the usb type c connector pinout looks like this:

See also: Over-ear Headphones vs IEMs – Find the Better Choice – SoundsightR

Mini-USB Type-C Pinout

Headphones with USB Type-C headphone jack

  • steelseries arctis pro + gamedac – micro usb
  • sennheiser impulse 3 wireless

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