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what's the difference between a normal 1/4 Jack to a TRS 1/4 Jack, are they excatly the same thing ** laughs out loud **




Jack (any size) maybe mono or unbalanced, i.e. 2 poles, tip and sleeve




maybe stereo or balanced or TRS, i.e. 3 poles Tip, Ring, Sleeve

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ok thanks, so is that just the regular jack cable thats used for guitars for example?


the reason I need to know this is because im buying a new PA amplifier and it says that it has TRS jack inputs but my mixer's manual says that if im connecting an amplifier I need mono :D what do I choose?

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To help you visualise...


Look at the plug on a pair of headphones - there are three distinct bits of metal on the end. That's TRS.

Look at a guitar lead - There are two bits of metal comprising the plug. That's TS.


Headphone lead might be a minijack, if it's an ipod type. That's 3.5mm diameter. Guitar jack will be normal size, which is 1/4".


So there are four physical types in total:

  • 3.5mm TS - not used much for anything
  • 3.5mm TRS - headhpones for portable devices
  • 1/4" TS - guitar leads
  • 1/4" TRS - balanced mono connections

TS will always be carrying a mono signal. TRS can be carrying either a stereo signal or a balanced mono signal; the equipment you connect it to will determine which it is. With pro and semi pro gear, 1/4" TRS jacks will usually be carrying a balanced mono signal. The connection between your mixer line level out and amplifier input will likely be of this type. The manuals should tell you.

I suspect the blue room wiki can tell you more about any of these connection types.

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Well an unbalanced jack (i.e. one with 2 connectors) is usually used for guitars etc. and a balanced or trs jack (3 connectors) has several uses, stereo sources, insert leads to some mixing desks, and they are also used with balanced signals, which is a quite an involved explanation (at this time on a Sunday night) might I suggest you search for and peruse some of the discussions on the differences between balanced and unbalanced and come back with specific queries or, just explain what you are trying to do,


Hope that helps,




Edit - pretty much as Shez has said!

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Basically a "normal" jack has two connections the tip and the sleeve. The tip carries the signal and the sleeve is the ground. This is what you would normally use for a guitar etc.


A TRS Jack has three connections, the tip, the ring and the sleeve. These can either be used to carry a stereo signal (tip carries the left, ring carries the right and sleeve carries the ground) or a balanced signal (tip carries postitive signal, ring carries negative and the sleeve carries the ground).


You can use a TRS Jack for a guitar but it is a bit pointless because the signal travels down the tip and the ground travels down both the ring and the sleeve.


Recommendation, if you've got a TRS jack then you can use it but if your buying purely for the use as a guitar cable buy a "normal" one, it'll be cheaper.


This is of course providing the lead is wired the same at both ends. For more info on all this check out the wiki.

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our mixer can give out a stereo sound but our speaker cables only have a mono plug, does this council out the stereo?


You have two speakers normally. One cable goes from your amp left output to the left speaker. Another cable goes from the right amp output to the right speaker. Voila - stereo!

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oh yea how f**kin stupid of me ** laughs out loud ** we was even told that in college and I was thinking "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. im not an idiot" ** laughs out loud **


must be tired! im off to bed, thanks!


** laughs out loud **

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If you're looking at the same equipment you mentioned in a previous topic, then the desk and the amp say (in their manuals) that they can cope with both balanced & unbalanced signals. However, the output of the desk is not balanced, but the input if the amp is. Getting TRS wired cable will not give you a balanced signal.

So if you already have some "normal" TS jack leads then they should be fine. Also they're cheaper, & easier to get hold of! Use the shortest you can though.

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