So you got a new TV, a new gaming console, or a new BluRay player, went to plug it into your sound system and there was no way to connect? We’ve heard this story from countless readers, so we decided we’d write up a piece answering the question, “how do I convert digital audio to analog audio?” and vice versa.
If all that is over your head, don’t worry. All we’re talking about is an optical connection to 3.5 mm, that is, connecting your TV or gaming console to your stereo, sound system, or headphones. This article will help you sort out all the terminology and have the best audio experience possible for your equipment.
Optical to 3.5 mm or headphones
If you’re in a situation like many of our readers, you’re looking for optical to 3.5 mm, sometimes called optical audio to mini-jack, connection.
How to convert optical connection to 3.5 mm? Luckily for you, connecting optical audio to 3.5 mm is incredibly easy with the optical to 3.5mm adapter linked above. With this little box, you can transfer the audio from your optical out to 3.5mm.
Because optical audio is digital and the audio that goes into a 3.5 mm is analog, you should be highly wary of an optical cable to 3.5 mm. For the best sound quality, you’ll want to get a converter for your optical audio to mini-jack needs.
Remember these are only optical audio cable to 3.5mm, not the other way around. For 3.5mm to optical, see below. How to convert optical connection to 3.5 mm:
- With the optical to 3.5 mm box, simply plug your gaming console, TV, or another digital audio device into the back of the converter labeled “input.” The digital audio output plug of your device can then be fit into the audio device.
2. Then, connect the white and red analog audio cables into the side of the box labeled “output” with white and red connectors and plug them into your stereo or sound system. In order to convert red and white cables into 3.5 mm you need to use an adapter cable like this:
3. You should be ready to listen!
Fiber optic Toslink to 3.5 mm
2. For a Toslink to 3.5mm headphone jack, you’ll want something like the cable shown above. A Toslink to 3.5mm headphone jack allows you to connect your digital sound system to a DAC. It will also allow you to play audio on an analog player like a sound system, stereo or headphones from a digital source like a TV box, Blu-ray player or gaming console.
To convert Toslink to 3.5mm analog, simply:
- Plug in your fiber optic Toslink to 3.5 mm cable into your digital audio player (your gaming console, TV, or another digital sound source)
- Plug the 3.5 mm end of the cable into the input end of your DAC. Note: you won’t be able to plug the 3.5 mm end directly into your headphones or stereo because the sound is still digital.
- Plug your headphones or stereo into the output end of the DAC.
Digital audio to 3.5 mm
Maybe you’ve just bought a new piece of exciting technology: either a new PS5 or another gaming console, an HDTV, or a TV box of some kind and you want to connect it to some form of audio output.
Most likely, if you have a new TV, gaming system, or TV box, you need to connect digital optical to 3.5 mm. To convert digital audio to analog, you’ll need a digital audio cable to 3.5 mm. You’ll also need a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that allows for digital audio out to 3.5 mm female. This will be something like the product shown above.
Converting analog to digital and vice-versa requires a bit of work, but it’s actually quite simple once you understand the basics. In general, you’ll need a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that will allow you to transform your digital audio (optic) to analog (3.5mm) or the reverse. We hope this guide helped you solve your audio conversion needs, and be sure to check out our FAQs below.
Converting analog audio to digital audio and vice-versa can seem confusing, but understanding the basics can take you a long way. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on the internet concerning optical to 3.5 mm.
Is optical better than 3.5 mm?
Yes. The sound quality is much better. Digital audio is very complex and is able to sound much richer and deeper than simple analog. Thus, we don’t recommend converting digital optical to 3.5 mm.
How do I convert optical to aux?
Aux is always a 3.5 mm cable. If you’re wondering how to convert optical connection to 3.5 mm or aux, simply use a digital to analog converter (DAC) and plug your optical coaxial cable into the side of the DAC labeled “output.”
Is 3.5mm digital or analog?
3.5 mm will always represent an analog audio source. To convert it, buy a 3.5 mm to optical cable and a digital-to-analog converter.
Is USB analog or digital?
USB is digital. Therefore, any audio passing from an analog sound source into USB must be passed through a converter.
Is digital audio out the same as optical?
Essentially, yes, though the two are slightly different. Whereas your sound system with digital audio sends digital audio out, it does so along a fiber link optical cable. Thus, digital audio out is to optical as analog audio out is to aux. To convert your optical audio to analog, you’ll need an optical audio cable to 3.5 mm and an optical to 3.5 mm adapter like a digital-to-analog converter.