TRS Cable: All You Need to Know


We understand the inherent frustration that comes with choosing the right cable assembly, which is why we take out the entire process of choosing your cable assembly. Instead, we create the cable assembly that you want the way you want it.

Our custom cable assemblies have better wiring and insulation than off-the-shelf cable assemblies. You can choose the connector that you want throughout your cables; you can also choose the material of the wiring itself. We test out wires for the best performance that you can buy, ensuring that the custom cable that you are buying is the best around.

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Due to frequent plugging and unplugging, pro audio cables need to be tough. They encounter a lot of twisting, stepping, and tugging during their use. Besides, the wires, especially those conveying signals over a long distance, are vulnerable to external noise. A stable construction should have two fences and a ground such as in TRS cables, a design that is critical in noise cancellation.

However, TRS cables vary in quality and can significantly impact captured sound and signal flow. Therefore, you need to have adequate information on TRS cables before you buy one.

TRS jack
TRS jack

1. What is a TRS cable

TRS, short for Tip Ring Sleeve, refers to the jack plug’s parts to which different conductors are connected. To get a reasonable interpretation of the TRS cable, you can visualize a headphone. It is also known as insert cable.

TRS cable consists of three conductors while the standard guitar cable has two. The guitar cable is the TS abbreviation for Top Sleeve cable, and the top jack plug is the TS jack. There are a pointed metal tip and a long metal shaft, which is the sleeve.

A black band, which is the insulator, prevents the shorting of two parts of the jack. A device that needs a TRS cable means that the application requires a third wire. When you hear of a TRS cable, the meaning is that there is a TRS jack on the two ends. However, there is a variant known as TRS Y cable.

1.1 Uses of TRS cable

There are several functions of the TRS cable. It helps to connect stereo signals between devices and is also suitable for mono, balanced signals.

TRS cable serves in two ways. There is a single cable that conveys two audio signals, and there is also a ground signal. The two signs can be cold or hot, depending on how it connects to equipment. It is an unbalanced mono TRS cable connected to the right audio and a stable one if combined with the left sound.

2. Varying plug sizes of TRS cable

The cable has varying plug sizes, the 3.5mm, and the Quarter-inch jack.

2.1 The Quarter-inch jack:

The Quarter-inch jack has an exterior diameter at quarter sleeve. The connector is handy today despite being an old type. The first use of the Quarter-inch jack traces back to the 19th century.

Several ¼ inch audio cables plugs
Several ¼ inch audio cables plugs

2.2 The 3.5-millimeter jack:

The plug became popular in the 1950s. The 3.5millimeter jack works harmoniously with one of the initial radio, Walkman. They require the jack to connect to an external speaker as they come without one.

3.5millimeter jack
3.5millimeter jack

The 3.5mm jack allows proper conveyance of stereo audio sounds. Furthermore, it ensures call, volume, and playback on specific mobile devices and laptops.

3. TRS vs. TS Cable: What’s the Difference?

3.1 TRS connector and cable

TRS connectors

You can use the TRS cables for both stereo and single stable signals. TRS transmissions have three lines with two rings insulating them. The apex conveys the audio message while the casing is for the ground, and there is an extra wire, which is the second wire.

Can I use a TS Cable as a TRS Cable?

At times you can. However, the output is less and increased the chances of noise obstructions.
The ring of TS shorts connects to the ground. Therefore, the cables do not convey stereo signals.

3.2 TS connector and cable

TS connectors

TS cable is vital for mono unbalanced signals and is efficient in the connection of keyboards and guitars. They have two conductors, with insulation between them. The apex conveys audio signals while the casing is a ground line.

TS jack to TRS jack
TS jack to TRS jack

Can I use a TRS Cable instead of a TS Cable?

Use TRS cables in place of TS cable will lead to an unstable signal.

4. TRS Cables and TS Cables made by what?

4.1 TRS Cables made by what?

They consist of a polyvinyl chloride shell, and the lines made of copper material. The cables have the ground and two signal lines.

4.2 TS Cables made by what?

Similar to TRS cables, they consist of Polyvinyl Chloride casing and copper wire lines. They have a single contact line and the ground.

5. Comparison between TRS cable and XLR cable

TRS cables and XLR cables have several differences and similarities.

5.1 Similarities

The mode of connection determines the capacity of the two cables.

Both TRS cables and XLR cables have three connection lines.

They can convey ground and hot signals in case the two are stable connectors.

TRS and XLR Audio Cable
TRS and XLR Audio Cable

5.2 Differences

XLR cables can lock, which does not happen in TRS Cables.

Sometimes the XLR cables are on the microphone inputs. For TRS, the slot is on the inner and outer line components. Nonetheless, most appliances that use XLR cable have their XLR on them.

In contrast to TRS cables, the XLR is crucial in conveying stable connections and not ideal for applications.

6. Balanced Vs. Unbalanced Audio: What’s The Difference?

6.1 Balanced audio

What is Balanced Audio

Balanced audio involves the use of stable lines in the interconnection of audio equipment. The connection is crucial in sound recording and production. It allows the use of long cables and reduces susceptibility to external noise, resulting from electromagnetic interference.

The balanced audio cable has a structure similar to an unbalanced cable, but with a ground wire. It transmits two copies of an equivalent incoming audio signal known as positive (hot) and negative (cold). The two signs have reversed polarity such that they cancel each other out when they travel down the cable.

Balanced Cable Types

XLR

The XLR cables can transmit balanced audio signals to a distance of 200 ft. The connector has three male pins: the hot signal, cold signal, and the ground wire.

Quarter-Inch TRS

It is also a balanced audio cable. You can use it to send either mono or stereo signals.

6.2 Unbalanced Audio

What is Unbalanced Audio

An unbalanced signal flows along an audio cable with two wires, a ground, and a message. The signal wire transmits the audio signal, whereas the ground wire is the signal’s reference point.

Unbalanced Cable Types

RCA Cables

The RCA audio cables are analog and unbalanced. They convey the stereo signals over a left channel and right channel. They don’t transmit above 25ft since they are unstable.

Quarter-Inch TS Cables

The cables are vital in the transmission of unstable signals. They are common in electric guitars that usually output to an amplifier.

7. Custom TRS Cable: What You Need To Know When Customized

7.1 Building the TRS Cable

TRS cables are relatively easy to build though you need adequate information and necessary material. You need to follow the instructions and ensure that you buy the right stuff. You will come across inferior quality materials in the market. Therefore, you should only make your purchase from an excellent custom product supplier.

Materials for building the TRS cable

  • Testers
  • Screwdriver or drill
  • Soldering iron
  • Side cutters
  • Wire strippers or razor blade

7.2 The Six Steps of Building a Custom-made TRS Cable

The process of making a custom-made TRS Cable is easy to master.

1. Cut the cable length:

You will need to cut the cable to your desired length using a side cutter.

2. Strip the cable:

Once you have a cord of your desired length, strip the cable using a wire stripper. You will find three connectors—the white cable for hot, the black for cold, and the silver for the ground.

3. Pull off the shield

Use a screwdriver to pull off the cable shield. Then insert the protection into the cable.

4. Reassemble the XLR connector

Ensure the XLR connector clocks in securely and tighten it with a screwdriver.

5. Connect the TRS connector

You will then connect the TRS connector. Eliminate the rear sleeve, slide it over the cable and separate the wires. You should do the separation carefully to avoid burns from the pin, which is usually very hot.

6. Solder the TRS cable

You will now solder the TRS cable with the soldering iron. Once you solder the wire, use the tester to test whether it is working appropriately.

8. Most Popular Custom Types of TRS Cables

TRS to XLR Cable

Similar to TRS cables, the XLR cables have three wires. XLR cable is a shielded twisted pair cable for balanced connections where one conductor grounds the hot tip.

TRS Cable for Guitar

TRS type lead works in a guitar thought it is pointless. The output for a guitar is an unbalanced mono signal.

TRS Cable for guitar
TRS Cable for guitar

TRS y Cable

TRS Y cable is useful when there is a single signal to go to two different places.

TRS y Cable
TRS y Cable

Right angle TRS Cable

Right angle TRS cable allows easy accessibility of the jack with little clearance.

Right angle TRS
Right angle TRS

TRS to RCA Cable

The RCA cable has a single conductor and ground.

RCA Cable
RCA Cable

TRS to TRS Cables

TRS to TRS cables transmits a balanced signal. The cable has three wires, which are the positive, negative, and ground.

TRS to TRS cable
TRS to TRS cable

TRS patch Cables

TRC patch cables connect one device to another for signal routing.

TRS patch Cables
TRS patch Cables

9. Where to Buy Custom TRS Cable

Making use of TRS cables is not a big issue. The market has a lot of TRS cables that are efficient for your equipment. The puzzle is where to purchase the cable.

The fear is understandable since no one would wish to spend resources on buying an item that comes without a guarantee. CLOOM Tech is the safest place if you are looking to purchase a TRS cable.

Conclusion

Although many people cannot distinguish between the TRS and TS cables, the two differ a lot. TRS cables give a stable connection. Audio cables, to a great extent, impact the quality of sound. Choosing correctly and doing everything right will provide the results you want from your studio. Therefore, you must select the TRS cables with precision. Though it might seem unimportant, the right decision in choosing TRS cable could be a game-changer for your music. However, identifying the wires that you will use and when to use them requires background information, which could be a challenge to many. Through recognition of the plight, CLOOM Tech offers you the solution at all times.

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