Beginner's question regarding 1/4" jack replacement on PA/speakers


2016-01-20 3:19 am
Hello all, long time listener/first time caller...this forum has been a great source of information for me in the past for all kinds of random questions I was searching the web for answers but I just now finally registered to ask my own question. I'm a musician and gear-head who has had to do a handful of minor repairs involving soldering electronics in the past but not super confident or knowledgeable about all this stuff, my question today is very simple but it's difficult to find an answer using google because of the broad range of subjects the search terms could refer to. Anyways...

Basically, at a recent show I played I had to bring my home PA system along (which I normally use for band practice every week but don't lug around) to use as a vocal monitor. Somehow or another one of the speaker cables was jerked very hard and it broke the nut/outer plastic part of a speaker jack as well as the input jack on the speaker itself. Not a huge deal, I just need to replace both jacks. I have some 3-conduction 1/4" stereo phone jacks laying around already, I know that the jacks I'm replacing are mono but is there any reason that these stereo ones wouldn't work? Sorry for the newbie and I realize that it would make more sense to order the "right" kind but the sheer # of different types of 1/4" phone jacks you can find on the internet is pretty intimidating so I'm not even sure what the "right" kind is. It's a fairly cheap PA system (4 channels, non-stereo, 120 watts, two 8 ohm jacks for non-powered speakers [one of which is broken]) that suits my needs for home practice but would not be worth the $ to have a professional to look at...especially to replace some jacks, which I am totally capable of. Thoughts?


2011-04-29 8:37 pm
one of the speaker cables was jerked very hard and it broke the nut/outer plastic part of a speaker jack
as well as the input jack on the speaker itself.

The stereo jacks should work, just ignore the ring (left channel).
Make sure the internal wiring and pcb weren't also damaged.
If the original jacks had a plastic body, check if mounting the new jacks
on the metal panel might cause a ground loop.
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They would work if they provide enough pressure to hold the plug. Some stereo jacks work well with headphones but aren't designed to handle the current requirements of a speaker. Like Rayma said, don't use the middle connection (ring), use the Tip and Sleeve.

If you want a good replacement, look at a Switchcraft 11 jack at Parts Express. They show a picture. They are about $2 and are fairly rugged.
There are a zillion kinds of 1/4" jacks, but most of them are readily available.

If you told us the make and model of the speakers, we might be better able to tell you the exact parts. Was it only jacks on the speakers? Or was there also a broken jack on the amp?

Switchcraft #11 is about as sturdy as it gets, but if the existing jack was plastic, it may have been there for its insulative properties. Are there just a pair of input jacks on the speaker? or does it also have "bi-amp" jacks?

If the jacks are soldered to small circuit boards, open frame jacks like the #11 can be used by running wires back to that board, but then you need to mount that board somewhere so the thing doesn't hang by the wires. If they are Cliff style jacks, and are soldered to the board, I'd go ahead and find new Cliff jacks. (Cliff is a brand, and nearly identical jacks are made by Rean and others.)

If the broken jacks are in the amplifier part, then all the more reason to replace with same type, as space can be a problem for different types.

Here, from one seller to the musical instrument industry, some examples.
Switchcraft #11

Cliff with circuit board pins (Also available with solder lugs)

Switchcraft and others make these vertical mounts for some OEMs

I don't worry about a low power system like that drawing too much current through #11s.
Agree and add: if the jacks are "free" and just join the PCB wirth wire,then almost any one will do, but if it's a PCB mount one, jack pins/legs must match holes in PCB, so it becomes more complex to find the exact one.

Supposing those are the popular "Cliff" type jacks ("what Marshall uses") , you can't fit a stereo one instead of the mono one, because the extra ring connections will not have a hole waiting for them.

I suggest you post a couple pictures of the original jacks, even if broken, and another showing the PCB solder side.

Cliff mono with wired lugs:

Cliff stereo with PCB lugs:

As you see, if replacement (stereo) jack has 6 legs but PCB only 4 holes .....

Now on the wired type, you can simply ignore what you don't need.

That said, there's hundreds of jack types.

And you forgot to mention brand and model of your mixer and speakers ;)
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