Difference Between TRS and TS Cables
TRS vs TS Cables
TS (Tip, Sleeve) and TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) are among the oldest and still widely used connectors. Initially created for interconnections on telephone switchboards, it has now gained widespread use in audio equipment and is still the most used today. Obviously, the main difference between TRS and TS cables is the ring, or lack of it. As you can see with their respective connectors, TS has two conducting parts, logically called the tip and sleeve, separated by an insulator. With TRS, there are three conducting metal parts and two insulating parts.
That basically means that a TRS cable has three wires inside while a TS cable only has two. This is important when you consider how many signals you need transmitted across the cable. TRS cables are capable of transmitting two signals at once with the third cable acting as the common ground. For telephone systems, a cable carries the voice signal for each direction. In modern audio equipment, you would see TRS cables being used in headsets and speakers. Suited because it the two cables can carry the left and right channels for stereo audio. On the other hand, TS cables are no longer as popular as TRS cables. One of the common uses of TS cables is with microphones, where only one signal is usually being transmitted.
The two cables do not really differ that much from each other and there are many cases where the two are combined in a compromise between devices that use either one. For example, you got two speaker boxes that use a TS connection but your source is a music player that typically has a TRS output. You can have a TRS cable that splits on one end and terminates in two TS connectors, basically separating the two channels to be routed to the two speaker boxes.
In rare cases, it is possible to damage your hardware when using a TS cable on a TRS socket and vice versa. This is because the ring and the sleeve would be shorted. In more modern equipment, safety measures are put in place and the worst that could happen is the loss of the signal that runs on the ring.
TRS cables have three connections while TS cables only has two
TRS cables are capable of transmitting stereo audio while TS cables aren’t
TRS cables are typically used by stereo headsets while TS cables are typically used by mics
TRS cables can be terminated on one or both ends with two TS connectors
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