Open vs closed frame jacks

jwyles90

Well-known member
Hey all,

Sorry if this is a silly question, but I couldn't really find much about it through searching so I'm curious what you all think about open vs closed frame jacks. I personally like open frame more since I have an easier time differentiating the tip vs sleeve, however I'm wondering if there are uses for closed frame jacks that I'm unaware of.

I saw a drill template on Aion FX that said open frame jacks won't fit inside enclosures that have 5 or more knobs. Is this generally the case? Or is it more of a case-by-case basis? Right now I pretty much only have open jacks in my inventory, so I'd like to save myself the headache of getting a pedal all wired up and built only to find that the open frames are touching the enclosure, that kind of thing.
 
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spi

Well-known member
so I'd like to save myself the headache of getting a pedal all wired up and built only to find that the open frames are touching the enclosure, that kind of thing.
I think you hit the nail on the head here. If you prefer open jacks, use them, but on your next order you may want to grab some closed jacks to stash on hand if you ever find the open ones aren't fitting.

On a recent build, I underestimated the length of my wire from switch to jack, and I realized it wouldn't reach the open jack once after I had already soldered it to the switch. Rather than unsolder the wire and cut a new one, the closed jack came to the rescue. Its solder leads are closer to the switch, so it fit perfectly. Always nice to have options.
 

manfesto

Well-known member
I used to use the Tayda closed frame jacks because they're $0.45, reliable, and switching TRS so can be used for anything.

Now I mostly use the @StompBoxParts closed frame jacks with the teeth that bite into the case:


Because they'll bite through paint and make a solid ground connection and they won't come loose, but I still keep some of the Tayda ones on-hand for switching applications.

You can also get mono closed jacks if your primary concern is being able to easily visibly distinguish tip and sleeve; on closed frame jacks, sleeve is usually the extra "flat" side.
 

cdwillis

Active member
I started out using the cheap closed from stereo jacks Tayda sells, but switched to the open mono ones because the simple two lug setup was easier for me to not fuck up. The open ones look better to me as well, though I realize that's low on list of why to use them compared to other factors like quality and durability.
 

Bricksnbeatles

Well-known member
I used to use switchcraft #11s in everything, but they’re too expensive haha.
I now use lumberg open frame jacks or the Stompbox parts closed frame jacks that dig into the enclosure depending on the space I’m working in. I also use the enclosed switching jacks (where they have an N/C and a N/O connection for each pin, so 9 pins total) a lot for weird mono/stereo/dual mono configurations and stuff. I really love the Neutrik enclosed switches stereo jacks too, but they’re hard to find in solder-lug varieties, and I don’t often have situations where I’m using board mounted jacks (though I specifically design a lot of my own stuff to use these because I absolutely love them) and they’re pretty damn bulky
 

jwyles90

Well-known member
I started out using the cheap closed from stereo jacks Tayda sells, but switched to the open mono ones because the simple two lug setup was easier for me to not fuck up. The open ones look better to me as well, though I realize that's low on list of why to use them compared to other factors like quality and durability.
I'm right there with you. I prefer the way the open ones look too, although I know it really doesn't make a difference haha. Especially since the majority of that pedal's lifespan will be spent with the enclosure closed up.
 
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vigilante398

Authorized Vendor
I used to always use the cheap closed ones from Tayda and I loved them, but when I switched from side-jacks to top-mount jacks they stopped fitting in a lot of my builds. So I grudgingly switched to the Lumberg KLBM3. They're the best open frame out there, but they certainly charge for it. Also every few months they seem to disappear, everyone runs out of stock and I frantically look everywhere trying to source a hundred or so to keep building.
 

szukalski

Well-known member
I am still in my journey of experience, but I have found I lean toward closed jacks, I have a paranoia that an inserted cable will hit a wayward wire.

Lumberg klbm 3 are awesome, and I would go that route if I could ever find stock in europe.

Most importantly is having a ground which connects to the enclosure, I did an order which didn't do that and I had to run ground wires to the enclosure. A PITA indeed.

Currently enjoying the Amphenol ACJS-MHOM, by bending the pins you can make it really low profile.
 

HamishR

Well-known member
I will only use Switchcraft, Lumberg or Neutrik jacks. For me the brand is more important than the type except for tight locations such as a 1590B enclosure. That's where I use Lumbergs. Cheap jacks crap out, it's as simple as that. And if you shop around the good ones don't cost too much more.

If you are reasonably careful about wiring then open jacks shouldn't be any more of a problem than closed.

It's similar with DC jacks. I have discovered that the Lumberg DC jacks are far more reliable than the copies which look nearly identical.
 

Coda

Well-known member
I use the knock-off switchcraft open-frame ones from LMS. I’ve never had an issue…or at least an issue that could not have been solved with more accurate drilling. Occasionally I’ll have to file a few mm’s off the wafer…
 

manfesto

Well-known member
Most importantly is having a ground which connects to the enclosure, I did an order which didn't do that and I had to run ground wires to the enclosure. A PITA indeed.
That's why I really like the StompBoxParts jacks with the teeth that bite into the enclosure.
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
I use whatever I can get my hands on.

Sometimes that means really cheap... and then as HamishR noted, you have to replace the really cheap facsimile-jacks that are not actual jacks but mere look-alikes that bend like melted butter at the slightest prod of a plug... replace them with real jacks, quality, from real companies.


Whatever works and is right for the project, sometimes that's enclosed jacks in a 1590A or a set of Lumberg-alikes in a 1590B... whatever.


Now what to do with that bag of butter-jacks? Maybe solder up some sculpture? Nah, they won't hold their shape...

I know, I'll get some pegboard or hunk of wood and make a patch-cable & lead-cable hanger. The cheap-O jack-lookalikes will at least be strong enough for organising/hanging-up some cables/leads ...
 

jwyles90

Well-known member
Thanks for all the replies! This has been super helpful. I basically just ordered a few batches of different jack types to have on hand. It's crazy how small those Lumberg jacks are, if they weren't as expensive as they are I'd use those for everything, but will probably just save them for tight fits.

Another silly question, if I have a jack that's slightly touching the side of the enclosure (the round area up on top of the jack is pressing against the screw area of the enclosure), would covering that part of the enclosure in electrical tape or something like that prevent shorts? Obviously it's not a habit I'm trying to get into, but in a pinch, I'm wondering if it will work.
 

Feral Feline

Well-known member
Depends on what part of the jack is touching, and whether or not that jack needs to be isolated.

I've had a few tight builds where my Lumberg-alikes were touching the enclosure's screwy corner, but it didn't matter because it was the ground that was touching and the circuit didn't require isolated jacks. ✔️

Now if the tip or tip-lug is touching... 🚫
 
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