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Quick Info about 3.5mm Male-to-Male Cables

Wired audio connections remain the standard for anyone looking for a quality, reliable listening experience. There are a number of different standards that are not compatible with all audio devices, and 3.5mm wired connections are a global standard that directly connects audio devices, which means that they minimize interference and do not suffer from the same signal issues as wireless connections.

What are these cables used for?

Commonly referred to as a headphone jack, the 3.5mm connector is a universal standard that can be found on just about every device that outputs audio. From home theater speaker systems to phones to MP3 players and car stereo systems, 3.5mm stereo audio cables output an analog signal that is used in a variety of speakers.

One advantage of stereo audio cables is that they utilize an analog audio signal. This signal does not contain complex digital encoding. It can be played back on virtually any system that receives a 3.5mm input. Another benefit is that audio played from a 3.5mm audio connection does not use Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM often bars consumers from playing music or other audio from one service on a competitor's platform, which can result in the consumer deciding to purchase duplicate copies of the same content.

Are there different types of cables?

Options for this type of cable include:

  • Length
  • Quality
  • Additional features

Deciding between different audio cables means more than just picking the right length. There are two other variables that you should consider.

High-quality cables often offer a clearer signal made possible by gold-plated connections. These gold-plated cables conduct the electricity that carries the signal better and are preferred by audiophiles.

Some 3.5mm cables come with the option of being used as a microphone cable. These stereo cables still carry both left and right audio signals but contain an extra wire inside that is used for the microphone. This option can commonly be found in 3.5mm male-to-male connectors that connect to devices such as computer monitors with internal speakers and a microphone. These special cables can be identified by the three rings on the connector versus the two that are on stereo cables.

What is inside a 3.5mm stereo audio cable?

Inside these stereo cables there are at least three wires. Headphone jacks carry signals for both the left and right channels along with a ground wire. Each of these three wires are connected internally to a different part of the cable's connector. The connection's tip corresponds to the left input, the middle to the right, and the area that follows connects to the ground.

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