The term "1/4"" is used in audio to describe a 1/4" "phone" plug similar to a headphone plug. There are T.R.S. three-conductor versions used for balanced audio connections and T.S. two-conductor versions used for unbalanced audio connections.
The 1/4" connector is similar to the T.R.S. connector originally developed for use in telephone switchboards. There are two variations; one with three conductors and one with two conductors.
The ¼” connector is commonly used for headphone outputs found in HiFi and professional audio equipment. A headphone plug typically has three conductors similar to the T.R.S. connector, but with a different wiring scheme because it carries two channels of unbalanced audio. Please also see T.R.S. or T.S. for details on non-headphone applications of ¼” connectors.
Typical Wiring Connections
A ¼” plug used for headphones is wired in the following manner:
- The tip is connected to the Left channel signal conductor.
- The ring is connected to the Right channel signal conductor.
- The sleeve is connected to the signal return conductor for both channels, which is typically ground.