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Studio Essentials

The distinction between TRS and TS connector

by Foroomaco Expert 28 Apr 2023

The distinction between TRS and TS connector

The TRS and TS connectors look very similar, but their uses are different.

trs and ts cable knowloge


People also say that the two cables are 1/4" connectors.

It is also classified as a Mono/Stereo connector.

trs blueprint by beringer

TRS blueprint by manual of Beringer

ts connector blueprint by beringer

TS blueprint by manual of Beringer

If you look at the blueprint above,
The TRS connector has three contacts to connect three lines, and the TS connector has only two contacts. In both connectors, one line is used as a ground line, and in fact, there are two TRSs and one TS line through which signals can flow.

Therefore, these connectors are sometimes referred to as Stereo/Mono cables.

The two connectors are largely divided into an unbalanced signal and a balanced signal.

Equipment operated with a balanced signal using three lines must use a TRS or XLR connector using three lines. Balanced signals are used at the microphone level and pro-line level that require clean and large signals.

On the other hand, unbalanced signals are used at the Consumer line level used by consumer customers, or at the Instrument level - instruments with high impedance (guitar or bass).

The two connectors look very similar, but they can be clearly distinguished and must be used in the right way to prevent normal operation or damage to the equipment. Often, you may be asked if it is okay to connect the TRS connector to the TS input.

The answer is Yes.

Most of the equipment can be used normally even if a TRS connector is used for the input of equipment using an unbalanced (TS) connector

However, in the opposite case, if the TS connector is connected to the equipment to which the TRS connector should be used, the normal use of the equipment is impossible. For example, Stereo signals will only be transmitted to Mono. And it may cause damage to the equipment by using the wrong connector.

If you are familiar with this small knowledge, you will not only be able to operate the right equipment but also be confident in the signal.

-Ted Kim

Mail producer and Female singer recording in studio

Make your Dream Studio


-Ted Kim
House Live Engineer of Free Bird, a live house with the history of South Korea's indie music scene.
Single album/Regular album/Live recording, Mixing and Mastering experience of various rock and jazz musicians

Knowledge that you must know at Recording

In today's era of home music production, it's important to understand the essential knowledge required for the entire process.
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