What You Need to Know about 3.5mm Male to Female Audio Cables

The most common method of connecting your computer's outgoing sound to an external sound source, such as desktop speakers or a surround sound unit, relies on the use of 3.5mm audio cables. A male to female audio cable acts as an extension cable for your audio cables, allowing you to extend the length of wire needed to run between your computer and your speaker system.

What is the difference between a male and female adapter?

A male audio adapter features a 3.5mm plug that can be inserted into a computer's audio port or into a female adapter. Likewise, a female adapter features a port to accommodate a 3.5mm plug or device. A male to female stereo adapter gives you a method to alter the receptacle of your audio cable to suit your needs.

Why are audio adapters used?

One of the most common uses of a stereo adapter is to plug your computer's sound board to an external stereo system. Moat computer soundboards use a 3.5mm stereo outlet while the cable requirements for many stereos and audio equipment may use an RCA or TRS format. Using the proper 3.5mm adapter for your audio equipment is essential for connecting your computer to your external speakers. Another common use of a female cable adapter is to simply provide an extension cable for your audio equipment for situations in which you may need additional length in your stereo cables.

What types of 3.5mm female audio adapters are available?

Chances are that if you can think of a combination of cable types, there is an adapter type for it. Whether you are simply looking for an extension cable or to connect complex audio equipment, there is likely a male to female combination in existence for your needs.

Some common adapter types include:

  • 3.5mm to RCA
  • 3.5mm to TRS
  • 3.5mm Male to 3.5 mm Female Cable
  • 3.5mm Y-Adapter
What tools or materials are required to use stereo adapters?

The term "plug and play" cannot be more appropriate anywhere else but in this situation. The use of audio adapters simply requires that you insert one end of your cable into one end of the adapter and connect the male end of your other audio type, RCA, or TRS into the other end of your adapter. While no specific tools are required, you may want to consider some of the following items when using these adapters:

  • Twist Ties: To organize cables
  • Gaffer tape: To secure cables to surfaces