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Guide to Connector Choices - Amp / Source End



 

Guide to Connector Choices - Amp / DAP End



This guide will help decrypt the various choices for the headphone end of the cable.  We use Eidolic connectors wherever possible.  We can separate this list into single-ended and balanced connectors.  Balanced connections use four contacts instead of three, opting to separate the two ground connections into their own individual contacts rather than using one shared contact.  In this way, the four signals of an audio cable can be individually driven for additional power and performance.    

Single-Ended

3.5mm:  
Also known as a "TRS" plug - for the "tip, ring, sleeve" contact arrangement.  Used on most cell phones, laptops, and music players.  We offer Eidolic gold 3.5mm and rhodium 3.5mm - the tip plating is largely cosmetic although rhodium is the toughest, longest-wearing plating we know of.  Both plugs have a beadblast aluminum barrel with carbon fiber trim.  

6.3mm: 
Essentially a larger version of the 3.5mm plug, the 6.3mm (1/4") TRS plug is found on most larger amplifiers and gear and were first seen on stereo receivers.  

Balanced

2.5mm TRRS:  
A slim 4 contact plug that resembles a thinner 3.5mm plug with an extra ring on it, introduced to the market by Astell & Kern on their audio players, and adopted by other products including Onkyo DP-X1, Mass Kobo, ALO CDM, and more. Eidolic has a slim silver aluminum 2.5mm plug and a more roomy, carbon fiber trimmed variant available for DHC customers.  

3.5mm TRRS:
Like your usual 3.5mm plug - and compatible with most standard 3.5mm jacks - but with an extra contact ring.  Used with Hifiman music players, Sony NW-ZX2, Light Harmonic Geek products, and more.  

RSA/ALO Kobiconn Iris:
The Kobiconn Iris 4 pin plug, used first by Ray Samuels Audio and then ALO and Cypher Labs, is a square connector for cameras that was introduced as a standard for portable balanced connections.  Fits select RSA, ALO, Cypher Labs, and Cavalli Liquid Carbon.  

Dual 3.5mm for Pono and Sony PHA-1:
These music players use two 3.5mm plugs and employ two contacts on each one, separating left & right signals into their own connectors.  


4 pin XLR:
The common standard for balanced home headphone amps.  A Neutrik 4 pin XLR plug is typical, but Eidolic now offers (and it's standard on all DHC cables) higher-performance 4 pin XLRs with rhodium plated contacts, aluminum housing, and tellurium copper pins.  As it's easiest to plug in one connector, it's what we recommend for amps that have many connections - although 3 pin XLR offers the isolating effect of separate connectors.

Dual 3 pin XLR:

This home audio connector was introduced as a headphone connector by Headroom in the early 2000s, on the first balanced headphone amps.  It offers a dedicated ground contact as well as pins for + and - for left and right.  The only downside is that there's two connectors instead of one, but we like this connector for Complement4 and Prion4 cables, as we can do a separate, isolated cable for left & right channels.  It's comfortable - we swear.