How to Connect Headphones to RCA Jacks

By Sue Stepp

Knowing how to connect headphones to RCA jacks is essential for listening to audio through VCRs, DVD players, record players or televisions using headphones. Using RCA jacks eliminates the need for having high-wattage amplifiers to produce sound through speakers. They can also help you save money on electric bills. Materials needed for connecting the headphones to RCA jacks are minimal. With a simple adapter cable costing approximately $5 to $10, connecting headphones to RCA jacks is a quick, simple process.

Things You'll Need

  • 6-foot stereo 3.5 mm Y-RCA adapter cable

Step 1

Connect the headphone's 3.5 mm male plug to the 3.5 mm female input jack on the 6-foot stereo 3.5 mm Y-RCA adapter cable.

Step 2

Locate the RCA audio output jacks on the device you want to connect to the headphones. There are two output jacks. The output jacks are usually located on the front or back of most electronic equipment. Connect the red RCA plug on the 6-foot stereo 3.5 mm Y-RCA adapter cable to the left RCA audio output jack on the device you're connecting to the headphones. Connect the white RCA plug on the adapter cable to the left RCA audio output jack on the device you're connecting to the headphones.

Step 3

Turn on the device connected to the headphones, and turn on the unit to produce sound. For example, if it's a DVD player, start playing the movie. Put on headphones and adjust volume to the appropriate listening level. If the sound isn't working, check all of the jacks making sure they were attached tightly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Connecting the headphones to a unit that requires an amplifier for sound production may cause less sound through the RCA speaker jacks, and it might not produce enough sound or too low of a sound through the headphones. If this is the problem, use self-amplified headphones. These headphones require batteries for amplifying the incoming sound.
  • If you are not hearing sound through the headphones, make sure that the volume control on the headphones, if equipped, is turned up.
  • If you check the volume control and the headphones still don't work, check where you plugged in the headphones to the audio output jacks. Make sure you plugged both sides of the RCA jacks into the audio output jacks. The video output jack is usually located beside the audio output jack, and it's easy to make a mistake.