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Microphone Month 2

Y Cable

A cable used to split a signal into two parts or combine two signals into one. The term Y Cable is used because the cable is like (and looks like) the letter Y, where there are two parts joined into one, or one split into two, depending upon how you look at it. Y Cables are common throughout audio as a simple and easy way to accomplish these two tasks. There are times, however, where they can be used in inappropriate ways, sometimes with disastrous results. For example, two MIDI signals cannot be combined using a Y cable. Two outputs from power amps cannot (under most normal circumstances) be combined via a Y cable (this will usually result in a substantial repair bill). Even in situations where Y cables can “work” the results are sometimes less than ideal. One must consider the output and input impedances, signal levels, and other factors of the devices in question before indescriminately combining or splitting their signals.

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