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Based on my study, I found that there are two different type of positioning the contact for the 3.5mm audio plug, and it is depend on the manufacturer (ex. handphone manufacturer). The difference is as follows:

Type 1: 1 is left channel, 2 for right channel, 3 for microphone, 4 for common/ground.

Type 2: 1 is left channel, 2 for right channel, 3 for common/ground, 4 for microphone.

3.5mm audio plug 4 contact

How can I determine the type of the plug when buying the earphone? Is there any effect if I par accident buy the second type of plug connection and plug it into a device with a female jack of the first type?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just swap the left and right earpieces if it's different - for music I'm sure it won't spoil anything. \$\endgroup\$ – Andy aka Sep 16 '13 at 7:14
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How to find the type while buying? Test it if possible, if you get the wrong type, It'll not do any harm, worst case you get mono sound and microphone will not work, new phones have the 2nd type.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phone_connector_%28audio%29#TRRS_Standards

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Basically, the two standards are Nokia (older) (Ground on Sleeve) and Apple (Mic on Sleeve). Anything labeled made for iPod/iPhone should conform to the Apple standard, which is pretty popular I hear.

Aside from that, there is electronic solutions. TI has a bunch of Automatic Headset Detection switches, which will check for where the microphone is (Ring 2 or Sleeve) and switch accordingly, like the ts3a225e or some that switch all four conductors for extra things like a/v or usb on a TRRS plug.

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