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Ed's AV Handbook
Batting Practice for the AV Professional
and primer for the novice

Chapter 5  Page 4

The AV System Sequence
plugs and jacks

Get familiar with the following list of audio/video plugs and jacks.  And refer to premium audio/video cables as interconnects with deservedly premium performance pricing.  If necessary, refer back to the previous page for reinforcement. 

Next, for clarity, let's define the plug and the jack.  The plug is the male connector attached to an interconnect or speaker cable.  The jack is the female port mounted on AV product. Prevailing audio and video plug/jack types include HDMI, 5-way binding post, banana, single-end RCA, Toslink, RJ-45, F-Type, and USB.


HDMI Type-A plugs and jacks support 8K-UHD, UltraHDTV, HDTV, EDTV, and SDTV televisions, projectors, AV receivers, preamps, distribution/switching devices, and source components.  HDMI transports digital audio, digital video, and encryption data.  Optional use can include Ethernet and an audio return channel.  The Type-A plug and jack remains the same for all versions of HDMI.

HDMI PlugHDMI Type A Jack

5-way Binding Post & Banana Plug

The 5-way binding post is the most common speaker jack found on receivers, integrated amplifiers, power amplifiers, and speakers.  The 5-way post accepts banana plugs, spades, bare looped wire, straight bare wire, and pin attached to straight bare wire.

5 way binding post  Banana Plug

Single-ended RCA   

The single-ended RCA is the universal plug and jack of analog devices, which includes the turntable, tape recorder, DVD/CD analog outputs, VCR, and LaserDisc.  It also connects 75 Ohm S/PDIF digital audio outputs and inputs.  This includes the CD player/transport, DVD player, and digital to analog converter.
Single ended RCARCA Jack


Toslink is an optical digital plug and jack included in AV receivers, televisions, and sound bars.

ToslinkToslink Jack Port

Note: If given the digital option of Toslink or 75-ohm coax, choose the 75-ohm coax interconnect.  It generally delivers improved audio. 
In addition, many current computers include 3.5mm optical jacks. You may find need for a Toslink to 3.5mm optical adapter or cable.

Toslink to 3.5mm optical adapter     Toslink to 3.5mm optcial cable


The RJ-45 plug and jack connect CAT-6 cable with digital devices typically attached to Internet routers. 
Hardwired CAT-6 cable provides better bandwidth, stability, and security than WiFi.

RJ-45RJ-45 Jack

F- Type

The F-Type plug and jack connect RG-6 75 Ohm coax cable to antennas, TVs, satellite receivers, cable boxes, and FM tuners.

F-Type ConnectorF-Type Jack

USB  Type-A

USB Type-A plug & jack supports all USB versions.  USB version 3.0 plugs/jacks are often colored blue.  Previous versions are black.  Regarding the word jack -- computer folks refer to jacks as ports.  Although all versions use the same plug and 'port', version 3.0 has nine pins versus four pins of earlier versions.  AV product with USB jacks include TVs, game consoles, streaming players, BluRay players, AV receivers, and AV preamps.

USB AUSB Type A Jack Port

USB Type-C

USB Type-C replaces USB Type-A interconnects.  The USB Type-C connector is a reversible double-sided rotational design plug & jack/port.
It eliminates the up/down orientation issue of of Type-A. 

USB Type-C Plug   USB Type-C Jack    

XLR Balanced

The XLR plug and jack is typical of a commercial audio product.  But it is also a staple of audiophile analog and AES3 digital components. 
Many audiophile components employ balanced active differential circuits to reduce noise via a XLR plug and jack. 
The balanced feature can significantly improve the audio performance if paired with components of corresponding quality. 


Additional Notes: 


HDMI Type-C also referred to as mini-HDMI, is commonly found in smart phones, cameras, camcorders, and tablets.  Type-C can connect to AV Type-A terminated product with a Type A-to-C cable or adapter.

HDMI Type A to C Cable

Fiber Optic Options   

There are about 100 different types of fiber optic terminating plugs and jacks.  There are also many types of fiber optic cables.  Base selection of cable, plugs, and jacks on manufacturer's fiber optic product specifications.

Bluetooth Options 

Bluetooth is a 'wireless interconnect' between devices such as a smartphone and nearby AV system.  Think of Bluetooth as a dedicated interconnect as opposed to long-range WiFi that interacts with a plethora of devices.

Bluetooth Versions  
Lossy APTx
Lossless APTxHD 24bit @ 576 kbps
Lossless APTxAdaptive 96kHx.

For general lossy compressed audio select APTx.  If the audio source is lossless, HiRez, or MQA, then consider APTxHD or APTxAdaptive
But listen to confirm the difference, and then consider the price.  In addition, the source and the playback device must support the codec.

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Ed's AV Handbook   
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288 Revised 2022

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