XLR to Headphone Jack Connection: Everything You Need to Know

There can be several reasons why you are looking to connect an XLR to a headphone jack. XLRs are the 3-pin connectors that you connect to your mic from stage equipment. 

Your immediate purpose might be a little different: maybe you want to connect your phone or PC to your mixing console, or might be looking for a way to connect a microphone to your phone, for audio recording.

Here, we answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to connection from XLR to headphone jack.

But before that, here is a list of 10 useful XLR adapters and aux cables to help you find the right gear for your specific application:

10 Best XLR Adapters and Aux Cables for High-quality Recording and Streaming

01. CableCreation 3.5mm TRS to 3-pin XLR, Male to Male

CableCreation 3.5mm to XLR Cable 10FT, 3.5mm Male to XLR...

This adapter is for those who would like to connect their phones or other portable audio sources to their home theaters or mixing consoles.

The 3.5mm male connector is the standard headphone jack in smartphones or mp3 players. The XLR male connector would connect to XLR female connectors of your home stereo, mixing consoles, microphone, powered speaker, and stage equipment (male connectors have pins, and female connectors have holes).

The cable provided is unbalanced. This only means that instead of three wires connecting audio, there are only two. But the gold-plated TRS connector and the nickel-plated XLR pins ensure that there is a smooth connection, while remaining corrosion-free for long.

  • Combines left and right audio to give a Mono Feed, ideal for mixing consoles.
  • Zero interference, though the cable is said to be unbalanced.
  • Ideal for connecting to microphones in church choir or for home use.
  • If you are looking for stereo output, this is not the ideal adaptor for you.

02. Hosa XVM-110M Right Angle 3.5mm TRS to 3-pin XLR

Hosa XVM-110M Right Angle 3.5 mm TRS to XLR3M Microphone...

The Hosa XVM-110M has been tested to provide quality audio recording when some participants are connecting through video conference. It combines the left and right audio to Mono Feed, so it is perfect for connecting a shotgun mic to your video camera.

This connector has an oxygen-free copper (OFC) conductor, that enhances its conductivity. It also boasts of an OFC spiral shield that protects the audio against Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).

Besides, the XLR connector comes with internal stress relief so that your connection remains uninterrupted. It provides balanced XLR input, which means that if outside interference reaches the wires at all (which is highly unlikely), it will be canceled out.

  • Right angle connector, so it is more durable.
  • Mono Audio output
  • Pliable and durable cable
  • Might have to remove your phone’s cover to connect it with the right angle connector.

03. JOLGOO Dual 3-pin Female XLR to 3.5mm TRS Stereo Microphone Cable

JOLGOO Dual XLR Female to 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Microphone...

This Dual Stereo Microphone cable is a professional grade adapter. There are 2 XLR female sockets that lead to a male 3.5mm jack. With this, you can connect stereo sound to your mixing console, and no data is lost from your source!

Needless to say, it has oxygen-free copper that shields you against interference. In fact, the core is protected in 3 layers: aluminum foil, metal braid, and an environment-friendly PVC jacket!

The 3.5 mm connector’s non-slip, step-down design gives a secure fit that is neither too tight nor too loose. The 24k gold-plated connectors provide authentic sound and optimal flow of signals.

  • No hum or interference, due to triple protection.
  • Secure fit due to step-down design.
  • Stereo sound.
  • The length varies, and you have to be careful while choosing what length you need to work with.

04. CableCreation XLR 3-Pin Female to Female

CableCreation XLR Female to Female, XLR 3 Pin Female to 3...

This does exactly what it promises to do: it works as a linking tool between 2 male XLR connectors. That is, you use it so that your XLR output becomes XLR input! You can use it to increase the cord length of microphones, or other devices, and to enjoy your music from wherever you want to be! 

The die-cast zinc alloy of this line adapter gives it a classy look while remaining sturdy and compact for easy portability. 

Again, this one is for the professionals or those who take their music seriously!

  • Works efficiently.
  • Highly portable with a fine finish.
  • Connects 2 male connectors at each end.
  • There is no wire, as this is a line adapter.

05. JOLGOO 3-pin XLR to 3.5mm TRS Stereo Jack Audio Adapter Cable, Female to Female

XLR Female to 3.5mm Stereo Jack Audio Adapter Cable, 3-pin...

The JOLGOO adapter cable provides XLR input and a 3.5 mm output. You can connect a microphone on one end and pretty much anything on the other, ranging from powered speakers to laptops or your smartphones and tablets. Safe to say that it is universally compatible!

It is again pro-grade, with 20 AWG and 4N oxygen-free copper core. The core is protected in 3 layers: aluminum foil, metal braiding, and an eco-friendly PVC jacket. 

These layers work with its 24k gold plated connectors to reduce interference and thereby optimize signal strength. The gold-plating also acts as a corrosion shield. 

The zinc alloy die-casting gives the adapter its sturdiness. The non-slip layer on the XLR connector and the 360-degree grip treads on the audio jack add durability and ease of use.

  • Pro audio and home audio equipment support.
  • Locking metal for stable fit at the XLR end.
  • Balanced audio for smooth connectivity.
  • Only 1 foot in length.

06. AmazonBasics 3.5mm Stereo Audio AUX Cable, Male to Male

Amazon Basics 3.5mm Aux Audio Cable for Stereo Speaker or...

AmazonBasics Aux cable is the easiest way to connect your phone to your car stereo if you want some music while traveling. It is smoother than Bluetooth due to wired connectivity, and at 4 ft or more, is long enough to give you enough space to maneuver your device. 

The gold plated plugs transmit audio in stereo format, so that you get what you put in. The beauty of this adapter is that it works with any device that has a 3.5mm jack. Pretty much all android phones as well as stereos are therefore covered!

The cable is protected via dual shielding and polished metal molding. This uncoiled design guarantees greater flexibility, meaning that the use of this cable is hassle-free.

  • Beveled down design for a secure fit.
  • Universal compatibility with any device that has an AUX-in port.
  • The head adapter is of 7mm diameter.
  • Its light-build signals at lightweight utility, meaning it is mainly ideal for home use.

07. Oldboytech Nylon Braided AUX Cable, Male to Male

Sale oldboytech 2 Pack AUX Cord, 3.5mm Audio Cable [4ft/1.2M,...

The highlight of this AUX cable might be its nylon braids that completely protects the enameled silver core wires from wear and tear. This makes the AUX cable tangle-free and durable, much more than PVC coated ones.

The 24k corrosion-free gold-plated connectors provide stereo audio. Its beveled down design means that the cable won’t be pulled off the jack if you accidentally yank on it! 

It is thus secure and tight, but when it is time for you to unplug it, it comes off easily enough. 

This is ideal for the hassles of everyday, and will thrive in daily use due to its premium metallic mold.

  • The sound is crystal clear with no distortions.
  • Thin and sturdy plug to work with most phone cases.
  • The braided cable does not kink, but is stiff enough to provide protection.
  • No right angle connector.

08. NANYI 6.35mm to 3.5mm Adapter, Male to Female

Sale NANYI 1/4'' Male to 1/8'' Female Stereo Headphone Adapter...

The NANYI adapter is pocket-friendly and handy to convert a 6.36 inches (¼ inches) older outlet into a 3.5mm (⅛ inches) normal outlet. 

Many day-to-day audio equipment for musicians and sound artists, like keyboards and amplifiers, come with 6.35mm large outlets. This is where you can make use of NANYI.

The cables fit well into this adapter as they have a snap-in feature that indicates that the connection is secure. The connectors are made of pure copper, to ensure optimum conductivity of sound and to resist corrosion. 

Its 360-degree grip treads ensure that the adapter is always ready to be used! The NANYI is sturdy, well-built, and easily portable. 

They fit in your back pocket or your wallet easily enough and are ideal if you want a solution for the obstinately large audio jack of your keyboard or other sources!

  • Converts older 6.35mm ports to 3.5 ports.
  • Small and sturdy to carry around easily.
  • Easy connectivity of headphones to sources such as keyboards.
  • There is no length extension, as this is only to change the size of the port.

09. MillSO 2T1-20 Headphone Splitter, 3.5mm Male to 2*3.5mm Female

MillSO Headphone Mic Splitter, 3.5mm Headset Adapter...

If you have a headphone with its audio and mic in separate cables, and a laptop with only a 3.5mm port, the MillSO 2T1-20 splitter will help you out. Ideal for gaming headsets that have separate male plugs for mic and headphone, this splitter has two 3.5mm female sockets to plug them in. 

The 24k gold-plated connectors, as usual, provide smooth conductivity of sound. They optimize the signal flow and reduce signal interference while keeping corrosion at bay.

Its braided cable makes this splitter durable and ready to use whenever you want to. 

The one thing that should be kept in mind while purchasing this splitter is that it supports CTIA certified headphones ONLY. 

While this may sound complicated, you can easily check the compatibility of your headset with this splitter by checking whether it is CTIA certified. 

Make sure of the above point, and you should be good to go!

  • Dual female connectors to take in audio and microphone from the same headset.
  • Braided cable provides durability.
  • Connects high-end gaming headsets to your portable device.
  • Only CTIA certified headphones are compatible.

10. FOBOIU Headset Splitter, 3.5mm Male to 2*3.5mm Female

Foboiu 2 Pack Headphone Splitter Adapter, Headset Splitter...

The FOBOIU is a 13-inch long premium looking splitter. It helps you connect a headset with separate audio and mic male plugs to a device that has only a 3.5mm port. 

Its nylon-braided cover gives it durability over PVC models. The crystal nylon remains tangle-free without the demerit of stiffness.

This splitter boasts of 24k gold-plating for optimal conductivity and corrosion resistance. The male plug is TRRS while the female sockets support TRS. 

In common speech, this means that it takes in mic and headphone audio separately but gives it through the TRRS plug together into your device. 

Its step-down design ensures that the plug fits in securely without being too much of a tight fit. 

Its reinforced SR for the connection joint protects it from breaking off accidentally, so you can stop worrying while using this splitter. 

Again, this is compatible only with CTIA certified devices.

  • Very well-built and durable with its crystal nylon braids, reinforced SR, and pin adapter for the wire interface.
  • Connectivity is smooth through the copper core.
  • CTIA standard audio splitter.
  • Compatible with CTIA certified headphones only.

Frequently Asked Questions about XLR to Headphone Jack Adapters

1. Can I use the headphone jack as an audio input?

Ans. Yes and no. It depends on whether or not the headphone jack has contact points for connecting the microphone. If you are referring to the headphone jack of a smartphone or tablet and many of the laptops where only one port is given, then it can be used as an audio input.

2. Can I plug the microphone into the headphone jack?

Ans. Yes, you can plug in a dynamic microphone to your headphone jack, with the help of an XLR to headphone jack adapter.

3. Is AUX and headphone jack the same?

Ans. Not exactly. AUX-in ports are meant to connect to any type of device, while headphone jacks are meant to connect only to headphones. They look the same, but are slightly different in their function, because the AUX is semi-universal, in terms of the types of devices that can be connected to it. 

4. What is the difference between 2.5 mm and 3.5 mm headphones?

Ans: The numbers 2.5mm and 3.5mm denote the diameter of the headphone plug. 3.5mm (1/8 inches) are more common these days, as they are used in many smartphones. The smaller 2.5mm headphones are used to connect to landlines and some video cameras, but they are rarer than the 3.5mm headphones.

5. Are balanced headphones better?

Ans. Yes, if you are referring to a coupled output, i.e., a true balanced output, given by the use of transformers in headphone amplifiers. In some cases, devices called operational amplifiers split the sound into pseudo-balanced output, which isn’t as good as a true balanced output. 

6. Can I plug headphones into AUX IN?

Ans. No. AUX-in ports take audio input, and a headphone needs audio output. So, it wouldn’t work, though you may be able to plug headphones into an AUX-in port. 

7. How do I record audio through my headphone jack?

Ans. You need an audio cable for this. You insert one end of the audio cable to the microphone jack of your computer while your headset is connected to the headphone jack. 

The other end of the audio cable is to be connected to its slot in the headphone. After this, the output audio can be redirected as input audio and recording can be done using the microphone of your computer. 

8. Which audio jack should I use for headphones?

Ans. 3.5mm TRS is the universal audio jack these days, and it can be used to connect headsets to your audio source. 

9. What are the different sizes of headphone jacks?

Ans. 2.5mm, 3.5mm, 4.4mm, and 6.35mm are the different sizes of a headphone jack. 

10. How do I know if my headphones are balanced?

Ans. If your headphone has XLR to headphone jack cables for output, then it is a balanced connection. Otherwise, look for 3 black rings on the male plug of your normal 3.5mm or 2.5mm headphone connector. These also provide balanced connections, when coupled with balanced amplifier sources. 

11. Why do some headphone jacks have 3 rings?

Ans. The rings on a headphone indicate where each part gets connected to. For example, the tip usually connects the left side audio, the first ring gives the right audio connection, the second ring grounds the headphone, and the last part, called the sleeve, gives the microphone connection in a 3-ring connector.

12. Will an XLR female to a 3.5 male decrease audio quality when recording?

Ans. Usually, when XLR to headphone jack adapters is used for sound recording, audio quality is different from that of a purely XLR connection. But the quality of the adapter—whether it retains balanced output—will determine the quality of audio while recording. So you can have the same audio quality even in XLR to headphone jack adapters. 

13. Does XLR deliver better audio quality than Aux or USB?

Ans. XLR and AUX cables both transmit analog signals between audio equipment or between one device and one audio equipment. Here, over distances longer than say, 1-2 feet, XLR might deliver better performance. 

But USB is for sending digital signals between two digital devices, and transmitting them without any loss, so USB connection is different from either XLR or AUX. Therefore they cannot really be compared.

Wrap up

The audio world might seem a bit confusing at first, but we assure you that it isn’t. Once you are familiar with these terms that seem so confusing, you can make an informed decision and shop according to your requirement. It is a process that can be quite enjoyable once you have the know-how.

Last update on 2023-12-10 at 01:41 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vitaly Fedorov

Vitaly Fedorov is a seasoned audio technician and writer. After spending ten years in a studio team, I have decided to spread my knowledge to people in this domain. On this site, I work for headphone fixing or repair issues, that you’re thinking about fixing. Click on any article on my site and read the complete answer about that issue. I am excited to read your feedback.

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