What Is An Aux Input?

The Age Old Question: What is an Auxiliary Input?

Often referred to as an auxiliary jack, the Aux input is the most appropriate name for a standard communication port. This asynchronous serial port includes an interface that enables an electronic source to input audio files. Ultimately this allows the driver to  connect the following sources to their car system:

  • MP3 Players
  • Smart Phones
  • Tablets
  • iPods
  • Portable Music Players
  • Amplifiers

An Aux input is a simplistic audio connection identical to the headphone socket. By pairing with an Aux-In cable, the interface allows you to input sound from any media device. The same concept can be applied to computers and TVs, since their Aux inputs allow for externally connected devices to play through. Unfortunately not all stock stereos come with this capabilities, but after market manufacturers have created devices that enable even the oldest factory stereos to be aux compatible.

Consumer's Guide to Auxiliary Input

Types of Aux Inputs

There are two types of Aux inputs being used in cars. They include the RCA and the 3.5mm normally labeled as AUX or Aux IN. Certain cars locate the Aux on the center console while others place it at the glove box or armrest; the location varies.

The 3.5mm Aux input is the most common type and looks like a standard headphone socket. All you need is a 3.5mm Aux audio cable to go in between the Aux input in order to connect the media player of your choice.

What is an aux? What is an aux?

Functionality of Auxiliary Inputs

Like most new Aux input users; you’re probably wondering which of your device’s features are compatible with your AUX. No matter what type of AUX input you are using, they can only transfer audio data from your media device to your car stereo. As such, you can only play music, podcasts, audiobooks or any other audio file through the speakers. Auxiliary inputs also let drivers transfer audio from other things like phone calls, Spotify and other applications such as Google Maps.

Additionally, the direct audio line from the AUX, provides exceptional sound quality. It is up to your media devices to convert the audio signal from digital to analog because the AUX input only accepts analog sound.

Shop Aux Ports

Since Aux inputs only work by transferring data bit by bit, it is impossible to display the information on your dash screen. This means that you can’t show maps from your applications or even see the song title from your music playlist. However, you can still use the source display for other functions. In conjunction with the Aux input, it is encouraged drivers use a phone mount so they can use their device hands-free for safety reasons.

Furthermore, no charge is provided to your device while it is connected to the Aux. This input is only designed to relay analog audio signals to your car stereo. It is worthy to note that the AUX cables only connect to the headphone socket leaving the charging port available. This allows you to charge your device as you enjoy your favorite music.

Advantages of Auxiliary Inputs Limitations of Auxiliary Inputs
  • Simplistic design is easy to use
  • Fitted to most modern vehicles
  • Control through the media player
  • Transfer audio from calls and apps
  • Connect media with 3.5mm sockets
  • May not be present in older vehicles
  • Does not integrate with vehicle controls
  • Will not provide power to charge your device
  • Does not transfer info to your car's display
  • Cables tend to ware down and need to be replaced

Bottom Line

Sonic Electronix has a wide array of products to enhance your driving experience. The last thing we want is for you to drive to work on a Monday with nothing to listen to but talk radio. Our website is loaded with phone accessories so you are never stuck in such a horrible circumstance. We have aux adapters, phone docks and chargers, phone adapters, and even stereos to ensure your device can always pair with your speakers.

Born in a subwoofer box, music has always been my passion. At the proud age of 9 I began driving. The two eventually met and led to my career at Sonic Electronix.

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