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I'm in the early stages of planning a MIDI-mapping component that I can plug into my Alesis DM-6 drum kit so I can ultimately play it through Rock Band 3. I know there are commercial options out there, but I'm intrigued about building one (at probably 5x the cost, no doubt :P). Everything I've read about this talks about requiring an extra set of patch cables to plug into each drum which then plugs into the Arduino black-box.

Anyway, my question is this: Is there a specific reason the connector of choice for each drum (not to mention guitars, etc.) is the 1/4" phono? I could probably get away with a much smaller box if I can use 1/4" on the drum-plug side, but the smaller 1/8" (3.5mm) phono on the box-side. Am I losing anything by using 1/8"(3.5mm) connectors going into my device? Other than being more 'durable' or maybe having a tighter-fit, are there electrical or noise/interference/impedance/other issues using the smaller connectors?

Thanks!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm guessing you mean "phone" not "phono" plug (TR vs RCA). The phone plug is a 19th century invention for telephone switchboards so it was expected to survive very frequent usage. I guess 21st century bands and roadies still like things that are hard to break. \$\endgroup\$ – RedGrittyBrick Aug 18 '13 at 10:47
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I don't see how there could be any difference between the two plugs, other than size.

There is some discussion of this issue on Reddit.

To summarize that discussion, the consensus is that the 1/4" plug would be more durable, but otherwise exactly the same.

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1/8" and 1/4" would be electrically equivalent. Even if the 1/4" is a TRS (Tip, Ring, Sleeve) instead of just a TS (Tip, Sleeve), you can get the same electrical balanced connection from an 1/8" stereo plug hooked up for balanced mono audio. If you support balanced audio, you could even get an adapter from XLR to 1/8".

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