Y patch cable and Stereo Jacks - Stereo?

Hi folkks.

A little help please in understanding stereo cable (XLT) Y patch. This is a dual microphone cable that leadss to a stereo 1/4" jack.

Is it possible to record 2 seperate channels from a stereo cable(my head says no), it will be more of a mix of both inputs to 2 channels.

If you have 2 mics on a Y patch cable going to an audio input, I’m guessing that you’ll get a stereo sound in a single output. ? could that then be split. ?

Can I do this differently. I wont ever be talking or singing when playing guitar so I wondering if I can use my Scarlet solo to record stereo but I need to understand about the 48v switch and what that actually affects. One through the mic input and one on the audio input/

Would I be better of changing the Solo to a clarette 2 ?


Hi Rachel,

If you are willing to think of “two channels” as two mono channels, then you can do it with some additional adapters. Mixing it properly is recommended, not just hooking left and right together into one mono output (“hard combining” i’ll call it).

You are bringing in mics here and those are generally mono, but it is customary to put the signal on one side (i forget right or left) and you’d need to make sure one was on right and one on left. Again, possible with adapters. But why split again at this point, you’d be able to easily just connect each mic into wherever that split was going without all the fuss.

For combining, you probably want to use a mixer. You can get away with just hooking right and left together in rare cases, so I suggest you don’t do it. Once you combine 2 inputs to a single mono output, you won’t be able to split them again.

With mics, if they need power, you will need to isolate that power from anything else that cannot handle it. I do not have experience with powered mics, so you should seek someone familiar with those mics.

You do not want to do a hard combine something like a mic with a guitar. They have very different output levels and you will need to amplify the mic more to get them the same volume out of the amp. Hard combining will also mean the mic is driven by the guitar, and I would think you’d get nasty distortion at a minimum, and possibly damage the mic at worst.

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No (at least, not really).

Audio inputs on audio interfaces are (with a few exceptions) always mono.

If you have a “stereo” TRS jack plug in a recording situation, it is (almost) always not carrying a stereo signal. It has 3 connectors because it is a balanced connection rather than an unbalanced connection. Either way it is mono.

A balanced connection has 3 conductors, whilst an unbalanced connection has two, so:

  • An XLR connection is balanced
  • A 2 conductor or “TS” jack is unbalanced
  • A 3 conductor or “TRS” jack is balanced
  • A single RCA connector is unbalanced

All of the above on mixer and audio interfaces inputs, are mono.

Almost all of the the time, any individual connection point on an audio interface or mixer is mono. The only time they are normally stereo is if there are two separate, but associated, connectors.

Probably the only exception to this is the headphone output, which is usually stereo, using a TRS connection.

On a Scarlett Solo you could record stereo using both inputs if you assign one of its inputs as “left” and the other as “right” and record into a stereo track on your DAW, but I don’t think this is what you want to do.

If you have a true stereo signal on a TRS jack, you could split that into two mono signals with a Y cable, but you would need to connect each output from the Y connection to a separate input on your audio interface.

I hope that helps. I will add a second post underneath this with some additional info, but I think this point is important enough to have its own post.



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Now, just because you have mono input does not mean you cannot create stereo tracks.

Historically, most stereo recordings were built from mono tracks.

This is what the pan control in the DAW is for. You can record, for instance, 2 separate mono guitar tracks and pan one hard left and one hard right. Each guitar track is mono, but the resulting mix is stereo.

You can also apply stereo effects like spatialisers or stereo reverb to mono tracks to make them stereo.



The 48v switch is simply the type of microphone you have attached. Some types (typically dynamic mics) will work without additional power. Other types (typically condenser mics) require additional power.

The 48v switch puts 48v power out to power microphones that need it.

The microphones are normally always monophonic.

Stereo mics are available, but they use two inputs.



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What you should do:

Record your guitar into your mono mic into your (only) mono input into a mono track on your DAW.

Then record your vocals separately, but the same way onto another mono track.

Perhaps later more guitar or vocals onto separate mono tracks.

Use panning or plugins to create an stereo mix.

If you wanted to record vocals and guitar at the same time, you could do it with:

  • A single mic
  • Two mics into a mixer, outputting a mixed mono signal to a mono input on your audio interface, which you then record into a single combined mono track
  • Two mics into two separate inputs on an audio interface

You *cannot" connect two mics to a Y cable and into a single input on an AI.



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Thank you both. I have to read a few time but I think I get the idea. :slight_smile: