I'm buying a snake and I'm wondering what TRS is... I'm so used to 1/4" and XLR but a lot of the snakes offer TRS but I'm confused as to what it stands for - the snakes still look like 1/4" or XLR. Thanks!
TRS stands for Tip Ring Sleeve (I believe this nomenclature originated in telephone operations). It describes the three contacts on a 1/4" jack. The tip is the contact at the tip, the next contact is ring and the longest contact is the sleeve. In a balanced connection, typically, tip is high, ring is low and sleeve is ground.
But he failed to point out that TRS is a specific KIND of (although very COMMON) 1/4" plug.
A "stereo headphone" plug would be a typical TRS plug (either 1/4" or 1/8").
In this case:
TIP = Left Channel
RING = Right Channel
SLEEVE = Common/Ground
But a TS (or Tip-Sleeve) 1/4" plug is also very common (it is the standard "electric guitar cord" connector (It does not have the "ring" connection, but has a longer "sleeve" in that section of the plug.)
In this case:
TIP = Signal
Sleeve = Shield/Ground
So if the snake specifies "TRS" on its 1/4" plugs, then you are good-to-go in EITHER case, as a TRS plug will work for either a TRS or TS setup.
You can also have TRS where one connector is both an input and output at the same time. This is common on some small mixers. I know Mackie mixers do this for inserts. I believe Tip is common, ring is send, sleeve is return. Additionally there are also balanced connectors (like XLR) that use tip as common, ring as signal+, and sleeve as signal-. Now that it is all clear as mud, hope it helps ;-)
TV and Rock&Roll