Before we dive into looking at what you might want to consider when buying an audio interface, it’s worth having a quick look at the type of connectors you might come across and what the differences are.
The type of connectors you’d find on audio cables intended to be attached to computers, MP3 players etc. are 3.5mm jack plugs. These are usually stereo cables, such as you’d see on a set of headphones. A mono cable will have a single insulating break around the jack, separating the tip from the sleeve, but a stereo cable will have a second insulating break, creating what is referred to as a tip-ring-sleeve, (TRS), jack. The sleeve provides a common earth, (or ground), whilst the tip and ring carry the left and right channels. The tip is dimpled to allow an internal sprung connection to take the signal and hold the plug in place at the same time. Professional audio equipment, (anything that isn’t meant to be consumer hi-fi), very rarely features these connectors.