Mixing Stereo and Mono interconnect cables in system?

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by mikehende, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. mikehende

    mikehende Active Member

    About to hook up my friend's recently purchased equipment and went to Guitar Center this morning to get the interconnect cables.

    I am hooking up starting from top to bottom:

    Numark Mixer into
    Peavey EQ into
    Rane AC22 Xover into
    Crown MT1200 for bass and MT600 for mids and highs

    Normally when i hook up I either go all mono 1/4" cables if doing like a 3-way mono deal or all Stereo 1/4" when doing 2-way stereo. Salesman said he does not have a double RCA [from Mixer] to Stereo 1/4' [for EQ] so he gave me a double RCA to mono 1/4" connectors, is this ok to mix stereo connectors and mono connectors in the same system?
  2. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm confused. Are you possibly mixing up mono/stereo with unbalanced/balanced cable needs?

    Maybe list the models of the Numark and Peavey, so we can see what options are available.

    I'd guess since you have the crossover, and low-freq AND mid-hi PA speakers, you could run the x-over two-way stereo if you wish. My guess would be RCA mixer out to 1/4" EQ in (unless the EQ has RCA). Depending on the EQ and x-over models, it may be possible to run "balanced" cables between them, and balanced to the amps, though it would likely work fine running all unbalanced, if all cables were kept short.

    Anyway, list the models, and if you intend to actually run stereo.

  3. mikehende

    mikehende Active Member

    The models are:

    Numark Mixer
    Peavey QF215 EQ :peavey :: QF 215™
    Rane AC22 Xover: rane.com/pdf/old/ac22man.pdf
    Crown Microtech 1200 and 600: crownaudio.com/pdf/legacy/102990.pdf

    I am hooking this system 2 way stereo but for future knowledge, I would like to know if or when it's ok to use both stereo and mono connectors when interconnecting equipment?
  4. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with using a pair of mono cables to connect a stereo signal. "Stereo" cables are just pairs of mono cables stuck together. I'm assuming you're not talking about cables with two conductors inside one shield.
  5. mikehende

    mikehende Active Member

    To be more precise, the Mixer has Master RCA OUTS, to go from the L and R OUT of the mixer to the IN on the EQ, I will be using a cable with regular RCA connectors on one end but 1/4" mono connectors on the other end which will go into the EQ's L and R INPUTs but from there I will be using all cables which have STEREO 1/4" connectors on each end, I will be using these cables for interconnecting the rest of the equipment so this is what I wish to know if it's ok to mix the entire system with both mono and stereo connectors?
  6. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    The cables you are talking about have 1/4" TRS plugs at both ends. That connector can be used in at least four different ways: unbalanced stereo, balanced mono, unbalanced insert and 2-channel control (like a guitar foot switch). TRS plugs don't automatically mean stereo. Your application for TRS cables is balanced mono.

    The answers you're looking for are:

    It should be okay to mix balanced and unbalanced, but go with balanced whenever possible, especially over long distances.

    The cables from the mixer to eq are probably fine.

    For connecting the eq to the crossover, yes, the output and input are both balanced TRS so use balanced cables with TRS connectors.

    For connecting the crossover to the amp, it depends. If the crossover has the balanced output option then you will need XLRF-TRS cables or standard XLR mic cables. If it doesn't have the balanced option then use unbalanced 1/4" TS cables, though balanced 1/4" TRS cables may work just fine. Unbalanced connection generally works well for distances up to 10' and it's assumed that the crossover will be close to the amps.

    Note that there are several ways to interface unbalanced gear with balanced gear (like the mixer with the eq or the crossover with the amp). There's a handy reference written by the people who made your crossover: Rane Note 110. Rane Note 151 is an in-depth paper in balanced/unbalanced signals and connections.
  7. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member


    As you can see, confusion can arise from simple terminology about the uses of certain cables.

    It's good to know the applications that are intended for those cables to minimize confusion when discussing interconnect issues.

    At issue is 1/4" "mono" and "unbalanced" which will be TS (Tip/Sleeve) cables; and "stereo" and "balanced", which will be TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve) cables.

    If you say "1/4" unbalanced", everyone will know you mean the 1/4" TS cable. If you say "1/4" balanced", everyone will know you mean the 1/4" TRS cable.

    The confusion for some folks lies in the resemblence to a stereo headphone plug, with the balanced TRS cable. The cable CAN carry a stereo signal, but it depends on its application. Normally, when connecting two pieces of gear, if it's used as a TRS 'balanced' mono cable. It's carrying two signals, but it's the same signal from one output to one input. The two signals in the two hot conductors are out-of-phase, and they recombine at the input of the destination device. The out-of-phase signals help reject external noise.

    An unbalanced cable, TS, carries a + and a - signal. Since it is not carrying the out-of-phase signal that a TRS balanced cable does, it is more susceptible to external interference, especially as the distance is increased.

    So, instead of using "mono" and "stereo" terms for your interconnect questions, you should more properly use "balanced 1/4"" and "unbalanced 1/4"". It will be more obvious what you are asking.

    It's good to know the differences and remember them for discussions.

  8. mikehende

    mikehende Active Member

    ok, noted, thanks.

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