There's a audio 3.5mm to pigtail cable on sell at Adafruit: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1700

It looks like what I need as I could connect one side to an old phone, play some music and the loose wires to a breadboard\oscilloscope etc.

But what I don't understand is why it has 3 wires coming out of it and not just 2?

One wire is for ground - check Another should be for signal I believe and that's it.

But it has 3, and it says "Ground ring is black, middle ring is white and tip is red."

Why are there white and red and just one or the other? If I want the audio signal w/o caring if it's stereo, can I just pick say the red one and ignore the white one (or vice versa)?

Thanks kindly for your help..


1 Answer 1


If you choose one wire or the other, you will only hear that channel, so some music will be noticeably different. You can mix the two channels, or if you desire mono, getting a mono plug wouldn't hurt. If you were attaching this to headphones, you could connect two headphones to one wire with the effects mentioned above, plus you might halve your volume and screw up impedance, possibly damaging amplifier outputs.

The ring and white wire are the right audio channel and the tip and red wire are the left audio channel.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer. Yes, I'd prefer mono if I could find it. Would you say that using one cable is like listening to one only headphone in a two headphone headset? Mixing might be interesting if it's not complicated - i.e. if I could just connect both cables to same socket in the breadboard and it will mix them(?) that'd be best. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 2:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. The left and right channels each have a signal wire and share their return wire(black). See Oli Glaser's answer to this question for instructions on mixing. If you want something audio related to plug into a breadboard, that's a nice simple starter project for you. \$\endgroup\$
    – K H
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @K H The simple mixer in Oli's answer doable, and hopefully the output of just one wire would conserve most of the sound, so I won't even need to mix. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 3:42

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