3.5mm Stereo Cables and What they Entail
The 3.5mm stereo audio cables are designed for use in computer audio applications. They are typically used to connect a PC sound card, mini stereo audio device, or a portable CD player to a multimedia speaker. There are various kinds of 3.5mm audio cables; however, all of them feature a 3.5mm mini connector of some type.
This connector is often found connecting headphones and earphones. The input for the connector can come from PCs, DVD players, MP3 players, TVs, and CD players. While the connector combinations used in a 3.5mm stereo cable varies, the stereo sound can be transmitted, that is, it can be used for surround sound and sound perspective applications that enhance listening pleasure.
Types of 3.5mm Stereo Cables
There are a variety of cables that can be designated 3.5mm stereo cables. These include:
Mini plug to RCA: This is the cable used to connect iPods and stereos to computers. One end sports the 3.5mm connector while the other end has two color coded RCA plugs. The red plug is the right stereo cord while the white one is the mono or left cord. This cable provides great listening pleasure as it optimizes the signals. The 3.5mm connector is easy to identify as it resembles that found in the connecting end of cables attached to headphones and earphones.
Female Jack to RCA: This cable has a 3.5mm connector at one end and two RCA connectors at the other.
Mini Plug to female RCA: This cable has a mini 3.5mm connector at one end and two female RCA connectors at the other. The two female RCA connectors allow a set of male RCA connectors to be inserted into them.
Stereo Headphone Jack Splitter: This cable has a 3.5mm male connector at one end and two female 3.5mm connectors at the other end. This enables you to connect the output to two stereos or two sets of headphones. However, though this cable splits the sound, there is no stereo effect as only a single stereo signal is transmitted by the cable. This means that you cannot use this cable to connect to two sides of a stereo receiver to obtain stereo effect.
3.5mm to 3 RCA: This cable helps connect both audio and S-video signals. This is often used to connect cameras and camcorders. At one end of the cable you will find a male 3.5mm connector while at the other end are three male RCAs. Two of these are used for transmitting audio signals while the third can transmit S-video signals.
RCA to 3.5mm Mono Cable: This cable has a mono 3.5mm connector at one end and a RCA connector at the other. The connectors are gold plated. The cable can be used to connect small audio devices to other devices such as a mixer. However, the cable can only produce a mono sound connection, not stereo.
Headphone Extension: This cable can be used to extend the length of the headphone cable. It has a male 3.5mm connector at one end and female connector at the other. The cable length can vary from 6 feet to 100 feet. The length of the cable used does not affect the quality of the audio transmission. You can use this cable if you want to connect the audio output from a TV to your headphone to avoid disturbing others around you.
Patch Cable: This 3.5mm connector cable has male 3.5mm connectors at both ends. These cables can vary in length from 3 feet to 100 feet. They are essentially auxiliary cables and can connect a variety of audio devices from car stereos to MP3 players.
When you are looking to purchase 3.5mm stereo cables you need to be aware of the potential problems. One main issue with these cables is the small connectors that are breakable. This is because the connectors are made by bonding copper and gold plated barrels using their size differences. If one of the components is loose, it can become jammed into the receiving plug of the device you are connecting. As such you need to check the 3.5mm connector before inserting it into any device. Also, the wire can be easily worn out, leading to audio distortions or even failure.
However, you can avoid most of these problems associated with 3.5mm stereo cables if you ensure that the cable you purchase is made to higher standards. Ideally, the cable should be made of 99.99 percent oxygen free copper wire.
Additionally, the cable should have a low loss 95 percent spiral wound copper shield. It should also have a 26 AWG gauge and a stranded copper center conductor. Nickel or gold plated connectors provide better protection against corrosion, increasing the life of the cable. Fully molded construction of the connectors also makes them less prone to damage and wear and tear.
The 3.5mm stereo cables are used to connect a variety of audio devices such as MP3 players, CD players, DVD players, and TVs to multimedia receivers including headphones and earphones. The various combinations include one male 3.5mm connector a choice of RCS connectors – two or three, male or female.
Some cables have 3.5mm connectors at both ends. While some cables can transmit and deliver stereo sound, others can only deliver or transmit mono sound. You need to pick the right 3.5mm cable for your needs after assessing the actual requirements. These cables are available in various lengths from 1.5 feet to 100 feet.