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XLR parallell (Y cable) question

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XLR parallell (Y cable) question

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:53 pm
by jodaki
Ive been told I need a parallel cable so I can use my hardware effects with both my monitor controller and DAW.

I think the idea is to take the output of a processor and divide its output using XLR Y cables (or whatever it the right way to split it) so I can send the output to my monitor controller and also back into my DAW.

Will doing this reduce the signal level? Or rather, will doing this reduce the signal levels to a degree I need to worry about?


Re: XLR parallell (Y cable) question

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:06 pm
by Wonks
Very unlikely. You can normally passively split/parallel a signal about 4 times before worrying about any significant signal loss (it helps if the line-in impedances are nearer the 50k end than the 10k end of the standard impedance range).

You need to be more concerned about ground loops, depending on the grounding arrangements of the connected equipment, so you may need to lift the ground on one of the devices or cable ends if you end up with some hum/noise.

Re: XLR parallell (Y cable) question

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:14 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
The whole 'voltage-matching' paradigm of modern analogue audio interfacing -- using very low source output impedances and relatively high destination input impedances -- is specifically designed to allow an output signal to be split and shared between several devices without significant loss of signal level. So you need have no concerns about loss of signal level.

For the record, the signal level reduction for a two-way split feeding devices with input impedances of 10k Ohms is just 0.13dB... If the input impedances are 20k each that loss reduces to 0.065dB. You'd have to share the signal between eight devices at the same time, all with 10K input impedances, before you lost 0.5dB! So you really don't need to worry...

To make a splitter cable you simply have to wire two standard balanced cables terminated with male XLRs onto a single female XLR, pin for pin. So the hot wires from both cables (pin 2 in the male XLRs) wire onto pin 2 of the female XLR. Same for the cold wires (pin 3) and the screens (pin 1). Occasionally it may be necessary to leave one of the output cable screens disconnected in the female XLR to avoid ground-loop problems, but that requirement is a relative rarity these days.

Note, though, that while you can safely employ this kind of passive parallel splitter (or Y-cable) for sharing an output between multiple destinations, you cannot use it for combining multiple sources to a single destination as a mixer. That is likely to degrade the signals (with significantly increased distortion) and may even damage the source equipment.


Re: XLR parallell (Y cable) question

PostPosted: Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:34 pm
by jodaki
Great info - thank you very much guys..