Headphones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, for example, you can get different colors, brands, as well as different connectors. The headphone connector varies with the device’s use, for example, a pair of ear pods for a phone will most likely use a 3.5 mm connector, whilst a gaming headset may use a USB connector. If you heard someone talking about RJ22 connections, you would most likely have no idea what they are on about. We aim to make it easier for you to understand more about these connectors, and we will be going over all of the main connection types.
Universal Serial Bus, or USB, is a very, very common connector and it is used in all types of products. It was developed by 7 companies (NEC, Microsoft, Intel, Nortel, Compaq, DEC and IBM) in the 90s, and it is an industry standard. It was designed with the goal of creating a standard connector for computing accessories, like headsets and keyboards.
There have been many variations of USB, which are all developed by the USB Implementers Forum, to work with different items. There is mini-USB, as well as micro-USB, which is a smaller USB connector and is often used in Android phones etc. Recently a new form of USB was released, called USB Type-C, and it is fully reversible, meaning it works no matter which way you have the cable oriented. Like all connectors, there are both Male and Female variations, and they can provide power.
A good example of USB headphones are the Razer Kraken 7.1 chroma headsets, which are fantastic for gaming. They are stylish and lightweight, coming in black color with LED logos, which has 16.8 million customizable color options. They have full 7.1 virtual surround sound, which really brings your content to life, and creates a 360-degree listening experience. They are also designed with comfort in mind, and they have plush leatherette padding all around them.
USB connections are often used on headphones that require more information to be passed to them than just what audio source to play. For example, the Kraken’s can alter the color displayed on the ear cup, which simply cannot be done with a 3.5 mm connection.
The 3.5mm connector is the miniature version of the phone connector, which is 6.35 mm in diameter, and it is used with all sorts of headphones. They are not only used for audio, however, and dour conductor versions of the connector, which is sometimes known as 1/8 in, can provide a video as well as stereo audio. This is more common in MP4 players and camcorders, although it is used in other, more vague, types of portable media devices.
The connector is used on the vast majority of headphones, as it works with many devices, such as mobile phones and computers. It is small, and portable, yet it is not so small to a point where it may break or be lost easily. This aspect of portability makes it ideal for most headphones.
3.5 mm Headphones
There are literally thousands upon thousands of headphones that use a 3.5 mm connector, so we will talk about one of the most common 3.5 mm headphones: The Apple Earpods. These feature a unique ear-cup design to provide the best sound to your ear, and unlike most circular earphones, they are angled into your ear canal. They have an in-line microphone that can be used to play, pause, and skip your music.
They come with nearly every Apple device, so you will have most likely come across them before, and for the price they are a very capable product.
Overall the 3.5 millimeter connectors are they favored connector for headphones, as they are compatible with the largest market requiring headphones: Mobile phones. They are everywhere and you will most likely have a few devices with the connector on.
2.5mm connectors are the ‘sub-mini’ version of the phone connector, and they are a rarer than the 3.5mm variation. The 2.5 mm connector cannot have as many connectors as 3.5 mm cables, so they are mainly used for one-ear headsets. They are better in this aspect as they can be smaller, which is good for a small on-ear headset. 3.5 mm connectors also allow for a microphone to be connected, whilst a 2.5 mm jack can simply not support this.
2.5 mm Headphones
Some 2.5 millimeter headphones do allow for a microphone however, and the 4Call H502J25 is a great example of this! It is a small lightweight headset with the main focus being on the microphone, as these headphones are usually used with DECT systems in call centers and offices.
So on the whole, 2.5 mm connectors are out of date, and have been replaced largely by the more accessible 3.5 mm connection type. Some headphones such as the one we mentioned still use them, although we highly recommend 3.5mm over 2.5 any day!
All three of these RJ connectors are in fact the exact same, and they are just different ways of saying the same thing. RJ means Registered Jack, and they are a standardized telecommunication networking connector. They are mainly used to connect a telecommunication equipment, for example, home landlines, to a local exchange center, and then onto your service provider. The RJ9s are four-contact 4P4C connectors that are used with handsets. They are most common in desktop phones like you may have at home or in an office.
They are somewhat similar to RJ11s, although these are used in things like Modems, and they have 6 positions. The RJ9 is a fairly standard connector, and they even offer adapters to convert it to a 2.5/3.5mm connection
RJ9 connectors usually connect to a base station, without the actual headphones, but there are some companies that produce 4-pin headsets. One example of this is the AGPtek headset, which is made with call centers in mind. They are comfortable and flexible so that office staff can feel comfortable when answering calls, and the microphone is clear and crisp. It requires no extra adapters, and it is directly connected.
Overall there are many different connection types, which all satisfy different jobs, and some are more up-to-date than others. USB connections are always adapting to the current need, and the latest USB-C is a real leap forward. Phone manufacturers like Apple are planning on removing the large 3.5mm headphone jack from their devices, and they will use things like Type-C and Lightning cable headphones to make more use of the slipper charging ports.