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Line Out vs Headphone Out

The headphone jack, ultimately a design flaw in the industry. As technology has undergone rapid progress, we have seen that most devices are losing their analog plugs due to limited space and power consumption. Can the two-pronged cable be replaced with only one?

The “line out vs headphone out motherboard” is a question that has been asked many times. The answer is the line out, which outputs audio to your speakers or headphones.

Line Out vs Headphone Out


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Headphone outputs and line outputs are two similar audio connectors that are commonly mixed up.

The line out is an audio connection port for a line-level out output. Line outs are used to connect to external amplifiers, whilst headphone outs are used to drive headphones.

A line output produces an audio signal that may be further increased by an external amplifier, while a headphone out enhances the signal before delivering it.

What Is Line Out and How Does It Work?

A line-out is an audio connection port that can create a line-level audio stream (or Line Output). The line level signals are stable enough to be transferred across several devices without major signal variations.

Line out, on the other hand, refers to an audio output port or point of connection on a source device to which external devices such as speakers, headphones, or other output devices are connected. The audio devices can receive line-level audio signals from the source device via line out.

Guitars, bass amps, keyboards, mixers, and a variety of other devices have a line out. As a result, the machines transmit audio signals out across the line to other devices for processing.

For example, utilizing the mixer’s line out, you may transfer an audio signal from the mixer to a keyboard amp.

What Is The Definition Of Line In?

Line in is an audio jack used to connect to another audio output device or the microphone. It is also known as sound in, audio in, or mic in. It might be analog or digital, and its main function is to manipulate incoming audio or audio recordings.

Most audio equipment and PCs have a line in port. You can attach microphones, portable music players, and other audio equipment to them since they carry electrical audio signals.

What Does It Mean To Have A Headphone Out?

A headphone out, in general, is an output that has adequate amplification to drive headphones.

Keep in mind that headphones are passive speakers that rely on external amplification to create audible sound. As a result, “Amplification” is the term in “Headphone Out.”

To go even further, headphone line out is the technology that is utilized to replace/substitute line level output. A headphone line-out may connect headphones, external speakers, and other output devices to your speaker.

When it comes to sound quality, a pure line output will outperform a headphone line out. In recent years, though, the difference has shrunk to nearly nothing.

As a consequence, headphones and line-level output loads may both be driven via headphone line outs.

Line Out vs. Headphone Out: What’s the Difference?

Because they’re so similar, most people can’t tell the difference between Line Outs and Headphone Outs. Headphone out is used to enhance line-level signals in order to drive headphones.

Line-Outs are audio ports that transmit line-level audio signals between two audio devices. The key differences between the audio connection ports line-out and headphone out are detailed below.

Line out and headphone out seem to be quite comparable based on the information we’ve previously given. However, there are some significant distinctions between them. Let’s have a look at some of the differences in more detail.

Signal Quality at the Output

You’ve probably figured out that headphone outs have built-in amplifiers, but line outs don’t. When a result, it’s reasonable to assume that the amplifier causes some distortion in the music as it amplifies the signal.

The degree of distortion may be large or low depending on the quality of the amplifier used in your headphone out.

When compared to those produced by low-quality amplifiers, certain high-quality amplifiers will give flawless sound, and even if they do have some little noise, it may be difficult to discern.

Because line-level outputs lack amplifiers, the sound they produce is often exceedingly clean.

Line-level outputs typically have a source impedance of 50 to a few hundred ohms. They’re designed to drive inputs with high impedances of up to 5k ohms or higher. They’re also well-suited to low-noise and low-distortion applications, particularly when dealing with high-impedance loads.

Headphone outs, on the other hand, are usually constructed with a source impedance of less than a hundred ohms.

They’re designed to drive headphones with impedances ranging from 16 ohms to 300 ohms. Furthermore, they are well-suited to offer low noise and low distortion with low impedance loads.

As a result, it’s evident that headphone outs are designed to handle lower impedance loads, whilst line outs are designed to handle greater impedance loads.

The line out signals’ source resistance is in the region of 100 ohms and higher. They’re designed to power signal loads with high input impedance. Unlike line outs, headphone outs have a much lower signal intensity.

They range in impedance from 16 to 600 ohms. Headphone outs are used to minimize the resistance that headphones cause. Headphone outs are designed to deliver high current with little signal loss and noise creation when used with low impedance loads.

A headphone output, on the other hand, is designed specifically for low-impedance loads and may provide more power to them. In contrast, a line-out is intended to drive loads with greater impedance ratings.

  • Volume Control And Amplification

Line outs aren’t often used to power headphones. This is due to the fact that they are not equipped with amplifiers. Headphones out, on the other hand, are equipped with amplifiers that allow them to drive headphones.

In many circumstances, if you utilize a device with a line out and an in-built amplifier, the amp will be bypassed by the line out. If the device has both a headphone out and an amplifier, the amp will assist in driving the headphone by enhancing the audio signal sent via it.

You also have no control over the level of audio that comes via the line outs. Because line outs are meant to link to external amplifiers from which volume controls may be made, this is the case. Headphone outs, on the other hand, have volume controls built in since they have built-in amplifiers.

• Signal Purity at the Output

Signals are boosted and transmitted to the headphones at line level. As a consequence, audio signals delivered via a headphone port may be amplified many times, possibly distorting or adding noise to the signal.

As a consequence, compared to the clear sound from the line out, headphone outputs are often muffled. This noise, however, may be difficult to notice depending on the intensity of the headphone out’s built-in amp. On the other hand, line-level output signals are exceedingly pure.

They’ve been fine-tuned to produce nearly no noise or distortion. In principle, since line-out broadcasts have a low audio signal strength, they are less prone to be distorted.

• Amplification and volume control

Because line outs lack built-in amplifiers, they are unsuitable for driving headphones. On the other side, a headphone out was created with built-in amplifiers. As a consequence, headphone outputs may be more powerful while exhibiting less distortion.

The amp in a device with an inbuilt amp is bypassed when you utilize the line out. The device to which line outs are attached has a set volume. On the other side, you may adjust the volume of a headphone output.

Is it possible to use a headphone out as a line out?

Headphone outs are designed to drive low impedance loads, while line outs are designed to drive high impedance loads.

As a consequence, swapping them may not provide satisfactory results. You may, however, utilize the headphone out as a line out without causing any damage to your equipment.

Additionally, certain contemporary gadgets, such as keyboards, may lack separate line out and headphone out connectors. For example, if your device just has a headphone out, you may utilize it as a line out as well.

Keep the level low to avoid damaging your device and to guarantee you’re receiving decent audio with little noise and distortion.

The basic line is that you may utilize the headphone output of your smartphone as a line out. There will be no major signal quality loss or distortion as a result of this.

Headphone outs may be utilized with line outs. Despite the fact that headphone outputs are not as clean as line output signals, they may be utilized as line-outs without compromising sound quality.

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep the volume down. This is because a headphone out signal has a much stronger audio output than a Line Out signal. This reduces noise and eliminates signal distortion.

Despite the fact that utilizing a headphone out as a line-out is a viable option.

Experts in the field of audio warn against creating such links.

Is it possible to use headphones with the line out?

Because line-level outs have low signal carry, they have little impact on the headphone.

As a result, the headphone may be able to use the line out, but the sound quality will be poor. Because line outs lack amplifiers, the sound signal is not amplified before being sent to the headphones.

The experience you get with this form of connection, on the other hand, may vary depending on the headphones you use and their electrical impedance.

Keep in mind that the headphones employ a coil that requires sufficient signal strength in the form of electrical power to vibrate and recreate sound. Because the line out signal is often weak, you may hear very little or no sound at all.

In the end, headphones may be hooked into a Line Out jack. The audio output will be weak if it can be detected at all via the headphones. This is the situation because the audio signal from the line out is usually inadequate to drive headphones.

This implies you’ll very probably hear nothing if you put a headphone into a Line Out. Even if you do, you’ll have a hard time hearing anything. Even if the audio is loud enough, the bass will be greatly reduced.

All of these issues will, of course, differ depending on the headphones you’re wearing and the device’s line Out.

It’s important to note that the Line Out functionality does not have the necessary signal amplification for your headphones to work.

What Is the Definition of Headphone Line Out?

Headphone line output systems are integrated into modern electronics. Technically, they are output lines that combine line out and headphone out.

They’re more adaptable and user-friendly since you can use them to power both line-level and headphone devices without difficulty.

What Does It Mean When An Amplifier Says “Line Out”?

The amplifier’s functioning premise is a straightforward and easy-to-understand audio connection technique. The line outs and line-ins are coupled to deliver line-level audio signals from one device to another. Through the port’s line, the signal is received.

Finally, when it comes to line outs and headphone outs, there are a few things to bear in mind.


Headphone outs feature built-in amplifiers that amplify the signal before sending it to the headphones, while line outs are meant to direct signals into external amplifiers. To get the greatest results, you should limit each port to its intended function.

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The “line out vs headphone out reddit” is a question that has been asked by many people. The answer to the question, is that the line out option will output sound to your speakers or headphones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is headphone out the same as line out?

A: Yes, though there are some slight differences in the functionality of each.

Do headphones go in line out or line in?

A: They go in line out.

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