Analog Audio Cable

Mini Jack Audio CableAnalog audio cables can be used with any PC sound cards, so it is definitely the most universal and straightforward type of audio connection. It is especially suitable for connecting stereo speakers standing near your monitor. And, although the analog audio cable can impair the quality of signal being passed on the larger distance, your sound reproducing system is still more likely to receive the signal in case of some insignificant connection problems (if to compare to the digital audio cable). This makes the analog connection type more durable in general.

As a rule, mini jack to RCA cables are used for the analog PC audio connection. Such cables have a stereo mini jack connector (also known as 3.5mm or ⅛″ jack, TRS connector, audio jack, headphone jack, stereo plug, etc.) that is plugged into the mini jack output socket of the sound card and a pair of RCA connectors that are plugged into the RCA sockets of the active PC speakers or the audio amplifier. The connection schemes can differ depending on the sound system interface (the number of channels, socket types, etc.).

A stereo mini jack connector typically has 3 conductors. But in some cases you can meet the 4-conductor, or even the 5-conductor mini jack connector usage, like with Creative Labs 6.1 and 7.1 channel sound cards. Note, that Creative uses the word “pole” instead of “conductor”. The number of poles depends on the socket type you plug the mini jack connector in.

Sometimes you may need a 3.5mm male to male stereo cable which has the mini jack connectors on its both sides, e.g., when this is required by the audio system you are connecting your sound card to. Also, sometimes it’s possible to connect the LCD monitor to the sound card with such a cable – in this case you can plug the headphones to the monitor output mini jack socket instead of the one on the sound card.

One more rare type of the analog PC audio connection is represented with RCA to RCA stereo audio cables. You can use them with the sound cards having RCA output sockets. The external audio cards often provide such an interface, and some computers have the RCA outputs on their front panel. Generally, it’s all about the same as using the mini jack PC audio cable, though some audiophiles believe that this type of connection is better, as the “ground” isn’t shared by the left and the right channels. On the one hand, you can’t say for sure that it’s not shared in your sound card anyway. But, on the other hand, why not to use that theoretical opportunity if your hardware allows that?

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