Ok, I’ve been guilty of this one before, many times. On gigs, I have an iPod to play background music in between sets. It has stereo 1/8″ outs, and my PA speaker has a single mono 1/4″ input. I’ve tried using only one side of the stereo 1/8″ out (so just pick L or R channel), but there is a lot of music that only has instruments panned to one side or the other (Radiohead’s In Rainbows is a great example). So when I play it via mono, I don’t get the entire song – some instruments are missing!).
So what to do? The easiest is to grab a ‘Y’ (wye) cord and just plug things in. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and … well, it’s wrong.
I knew that you aren’t supposed to just connect two outputs together. But I always thought it was because you might overload the input: two high level signals added together would clip the input. It turns out, this is not quite the case. Read on to find out why….
Wye-connectors (or “Y”-connectors) should never connect two outputs together, but Rane tells you how to use them correctly.