TA4 Connectors are Bullshit And We All Know it

There seems to be this nothing in our industry that TA connector are somehow the future, better than what we’ve used in the past. And in some regards that is true. 

 

Lectrosonics adopted the TA5 connector and set the stanard for how TA5 connectors should be wired for use with a lavalier. 

lectrosonics-um400a-rental.jpg

The TA3F/M earns its nickname “mini XLR” because it follows the same wiring scheme as its bigger brother and sister. 

But TA4… well TA4 has been spit out, stepped on and chewed up by every manufacture in our industry. It’s had a real mess of a life that, lets face it, only exist because you could physically put 4 pins inside a TA sized connector and for no other good reason.

What is TA4? Is it 12v power? Is it mono audio? Is it unbalanced lavaliers? What is it? And why can’t two wireless microphone makers agree to the same pinout? Do you use pin 4 or just float it? Do you short Pin 1 & 4? Why is signal on Pin 2 but also on Pin 3 or sometimes just on Pin 3? Why can’t anyone set a standard for TA4? 

 

 

And if you are using it for power, who’s bright idea was it to put Pin 1 and pin 4 so close to each other, its just begging for them to short out from one stray wire strand? That’s just bullshit.  The designer for 4 Pin XLR at least was smart enough to put them on opposite sides of the connector!

And don’t even get me started on MiPro using a threaded locking TA4 connector for the output on their new ACT-80 system. What could they possibly need with a 4th pin!?!?! And Threaded Locking TA4 are even more bullshit. TA4 was already a locking connecter, it didn’t need the threads. You don’t gain anything from bulky threads… Its not like theres this bizarro world where TA connectors are just popping out of their jacks all the time but thank god someone added the threads to save the day. 

The case could be made that a Locking 3.5mm connector is more professional than a TA4 connector.

The 3.5mm connector has a industry standard pinout for mono microphones (balanced and unbalanced), stereo microphones inputs, and a standard pinout for mono and stereo outputs. TRS 3.5mm are cross compatible even their TS/TRRS brethren. Locking 3.5mm connectors are threaded but the threads can be pulled back so the connector can fit into non threaded jacks and vice versa.  

Both TA4 and 3.5mm offer the same amount of strain relief on the same size gauge cables. Both use a crimp method for securing themselves to the cable jacketing. But 3.5mm connectors use less material, are cheaper, and don’t feature a spring/sponge that can wear out over time. I have never seen a locking 3.5mm with stripped threads. 

The only good thing you can say about the TA4 connector is at least it isn’t a 5pin TC push-pull connector… now those are bullshit! WTF is Pin 3 & 4 used for?!?!?!

 


Written By Grumpy Soundman

Life is full of garbage. Its time someone took out the trash.

5 thoughts on “TA4 Connectors are Bullshit And We All Know it

  1. Nonsense!! Shure use TA4s on all their beltpacks and they work great. The wiring has been the same something like 30 years across many different models. Connector-wise, the Switchcraft TA4F (with a spring) is better than the Rean version (with a sponge). But both are far more reliable than 3.5mm jacks, which are not a professional connector, even with a locking screw. Sennheiser’s decision to use the latter when they brought out the G1 Evolution was really dumb and has inflicted two decades of misery on sound engineers.

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  2. De acuerdo, agree, but not only that, expensive camera like Alexa mini, it does’t have earphone out, also the bnc which is perfecto is replaced by Lemo???? And it can change from camera to camera…..
    Malisimo!!!

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  3. De acuerdo, agree, but not only that, expensive camera like Alexa mini, it does’t have earphone out, also the bnc which is perfecto is replaced by Lemo for sync box es ???? And it can change from camera to camera…..
    Malisimo!!!

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  4. I find this article very interesting as I do not understand the reason for its existing. It denounces the TA4 connector witch is a reasonable thing to but completely neglects the TA4F connector witch is in use by : Shure, Line6, Beyer, Electrovoice, Peavey, and Switchcraft. The most notable and high profile being Shure. As far as I an aware its currently a battle between company and their standards being Sennheiser vs Shure. A battle witch Sennheiser seems to be loosing.(Number of Company’s adopting the respective standards, Sennheiser is so big (Market leader) they do not need to change. ) While I do prefer the 3.5mm jack by Sennheiser, dismissing the TA4F connector would be a mistake seeing as it is gaining a foot hold in the market. Thats why i do not get the statement: ” But TA4… well TA4 has been spit out, stepped on and chewed up by every manufacture in our industry. ” , because I don’t see any sign of it being dead. Please do not see this a critique I am just genuinely confused.

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  5. love this rant ! agree , wtf is mipro doing with its locking 4pin ta4 ! and for a connector that’s easy to solder wins.. that’s why I like locking mini jack , but then they short the pins together as you insert the socket.. errr … and what the hell are we paying 50$ + for Limo connectors for ? the whole wireless mic connector area is a mess.. it stinks !!!

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