Headphones Connections

Connecting Headphones to your TV

Understanding how you will connect your headphones to your TV in advance of ordering them will save you from the frustration of not being able to connect them when they arrive. Depending on your TV and audio set-up, you may need to order extra items to be able to connect the headphones.

In some cases, your existing set-up may affect the headphones that you buy. For example, if your TV does not have a headphone socket or RCA audio outputs, but only has digital audio outputs, you might decide NOT buy wired headphones but would go for wireless headphones that allow digital connection.

Types of TV Audio Connections

Depending upon your TV, and your set-top box or AV amplifier if present, you will likely have a range of connections that you can use to connect your headphones.

Headphone socket

The simplest way to connect wired headphones. Many wireless headphones will allow the transmitter unit to be connected to the headphone socket. In the case of the Sennheiser RS120 headphones, an RCA-3.5mm plug adapter is provided.

Bear in mind that plugging headphones into the TV headphone socket will mute the sound from the TV speakers, which is why wireless headphones will typically be plugged into the RCA or digital audio outputs.

RCA output

Wireless headphones – Used to connect the transmitter unit of wireless headphones.

Wired headphones – You can connect wired headphones using this output but there are problems. Firstly signal output would likely be low and there would be no volume control. If there are NO other options you would need a RCA-3.5mm socket adapter, a 3.5mm male-male extension cable and a headphone amplifier.

Digital audio output

These will either be optical or coaxial or both may be options. Some wireless headphones are set up to allow connection to a digital output out of the box, such as the Pioneer SE-DIR800C (supplied with coaxial cable, requires optical cable if that is what your TV or AV amplifier supports.).

If the wireless transmitter has RCA inputs, you will need to buy a digital to analogue converter.

Example 1

Beyerdynamic DT 131 TV Wired Headphones

These headphones allow connection via 3.5mm and ¼” plugs.

If your TV (or AV amplifier if fitted) does not have a headphone socket BUT does have RCA audio outputs, then you can buy a 3.5mm socket to 2x RCA plugs connector. You will most likely need to buy a headphone amplifier (and 3.5mm male-male patch lead) to get the best sound from this arrangement. So the arrangement would be: the 2 RCA connectors plug into the TV, the patch lead plugs into the RCA adapter and the input socket of the headphone amplifier, and the headphones plug into the output socket of the headphone amp.

If your TV only has digital outputs then you need to buy a digital to analogue converter which has a 3.5mm line out socket.

Example 2

Sennheiser RS120 Wireless Headphones

These headphones allow connection via ¼” and 3.5mm plugs or by RCA connectors.

If your television (or connected AV amplifier) has headphone or RCA audio outputs then you will be able to connect the transmitter unit.

If you do not have these audio outputs, then you should have digital outputs present, either coaxial or optical.

You will need to purchase a digital to analogue audio converter and optical or coaxial cable (if it is not included). The converter can be connected to the digital audio outputs of the TV via the coaxial or optical cable, and the headphones wireless transmitter connected to the converter via the RCA or line out sockets.

Example 3

Pioneer SE-DIR800C Wireless Headphones

These headphones allow connection via RCA and digital audio outputs, both coaxial and optical. It comes supplied with a coaxial cable.

If you need to use an optical cable then you need to purchase one.

If you need to use the RCA sockets on your source device, then you need to purchase RCA connectors.

If you wish to use a headphone socket on your TV then you would need to purchase a 3.5mm to RCA connector.