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Author Topic: Looking for audio merger Y-cable  (Read 1125 times)

Deozaan

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Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« on: March 12, 2020, 10:58 PM »
I'd like an audio Y-cable that can take two audio inputs and merge them into a single audio output. My searches so far find only audio splitters rather than audio mergers, which tells me that either such a thing does not exist or I don't know what they're called and thus am not using the correct search terms to find what I'm looking for.

Does anyone here know whether or not such a thing exists, and if so, what they're called or where I can find them?

I suppose it doesn't need to be a Y-cable. But I would like something that can take two audio inputs and merge them into a single audio output which I can connect my headphones to and hear both at the same time without disturbing others near me. Preferably something small, uncomplicated (no additional power source or software, etc. required), and inexpensive.

Thanks in advance for your helpful input on the topic. :Thmbsup:

mouser

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2020, 11:16 PM »
It *might* be possible to just use a normal (1 stereo in to 2 stereo out) splitter in reverse -- im not sure about that.  The internet will be able to answer that.

But for sure you could always get an adapter (splitter) that splits a stereo signal into left+right signals, and then use THAT in reverse.  That will definitely work, feeding one input to the left ear and another input to the right ear.

Shades

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2020, 12:28 AM »
A splitter cable (without any electronics built-in) can also be used as a merger cable. With the analog style of cable, it doesn't matter which way the signals are carried.

But you also have splitter cables that do have some kind of electronics built-in. And then, more often than not, the electronics only allow one way for the signals to be carried. There is often a good reason that a splitter cable has some electronics built-in (like managing the impedance, preventing 'ground loops', amplification, clearing up possible noise etc.). The simple analog splitter cables don't have such features and should therefore be used with high quality audio equipment. And if you are wondering about your own audio equipment being high quality, it usually isn't.   Good quality? Sure.   Fit for purpose? Sure.   But high quality? Nah.

While not exactly what you are looking for, this link may give you a good idea where to look next.
If you are a hands on type and want to make such a merge cable yourself: link


Deozaan

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2020, 02:24 AM »
I saw a listing for a Y-cable that was labelled as being for two microphones and specifically showing that it was not intended (or possible?) to be used for a microphone and headphones. That makes me think that the way the internals are wired makes a difference.

I found this one, which has the prongs in the configuration that I'd prefer. But the fact that the prongs are labeled as one being for headphones and the other being for microphone makes me wary. I don't know enough about the inner wiring to be sure it will do what I want.


Audio Splitter.jpg
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I3A47KM/


I want to plug one end into my computer, another end into something else, such as a tablet, and then merge both those audio sources into a single place I can plug my headphones into.

Will this one work the way I want it to? Or do I need to buy a regular splitter and then some adapters to convert the male and female ends to each other? Or is it a bad idea to even attempt anything like this?

The DIY stuff didn't really make sense to me. I'm not an electrician. I don't know much about electronics. I don't want to fry anything by wiring something up the wrong way. I'd really prefer something simple and easy like a Y-cable if possible, and avoid the extra bulk and complexity of a mixer and all the adapters that would require. But I'd also much rather spend an extra $20-30 on a proper solution than cheap out with the Y-cable and fry some of my $300-1,000+ hardware.

I found this Reddit thread which has every answer, from "it works, no damage" to "it works, but will probably sound terrible" and including "it might work, but will probably sound terrible and could do damage"

https://old.reddit.c..._be_used_in_reverse/
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 02:32 AM by Deozaan »

mouser

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2020, 03:37 AM »
This will do what you want as I was describing, as long as you are ok with each source being in a different ear:
https://www.amazon.c...-Cable/dp/B000068O5H

Screenshot - 3_13_2020 , 3_35_50 AM.png

As different reviewers states:
"With the great help of splitting the two mics in the two different audio side (left and right) you are able to record two mics and have their sound separated"

So you would plug your two different audio SOURCES into the two female jacks, and they will be merged into a stereo signal where one source is your left ear, and another is in your right ear.



There is a caveat though, it is only going to pass through one channel of each input.  So for music, this could be a problem, where the left+right channels might have different content, and one of those channels will be ignored.

I believe in that case your solution would be to add an adapter that would first convert the stereo input source to a combined mono source, e.g.:
https://www.amazon.c...apter/dp/B0002EOHX0/
Screenshot - 3_13_2020 , 3_42_30 AM.pngLooking for audio merger Y-cable
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 03:43 AM by mouser »

wraith808

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2020, 01:41 PM »
Yeah, that first one wouldn't.  You're trying to combine Stereo into mono, so just reversing the cables won't work. That second one is what I've used in the past.

Deozaan

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2020, 02:10 PM »
Yeah, that first one wouldn't.  You're trying to combine Stereo into mono, so just reversing the cables won't work. That second one is what I've used in the past.

Are you saying that the one I linked wouldn't work, but the one mouser linked will work?

And I guess if doing it mouser's way would result in audio from one source playing in one ear and audio from another source playing in the other ear, then I could just get another one of those stereo->mono converters to have both audio sources playing (in mono) in both ears.

This is starting to sound like it's going to require even more dongles and adapters than just getting a mixer. :D

mouser

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2020, 03:36 PM »
Maybe you should just buy the stereo splitter and try using it in reverse, and see what happens!

Deozaan

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2020, 05:03 PM »
Maybe you should just buy the stereo splitter and try using it in reverse, and see what happens!

I'd still need to buy a bunch of adapters and/or other cables to reverse the direction of the prongs. The splitter has 2 female ends where I need male, and 1 male where I need female.

wraith808

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2020, 05:24 PM »
Are you saying that the one I linked wouldn't work, but the one mouser linked will work?

Yup.  At least, In my experience.

mouser

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2020, 05:25 PM »
deo, just buy a bunch of the items on amazon and return those you don't need.

Edvard

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2020, 05:52 PM »
Deo, I've been doing DIY electronics for a while now.  A Y-cable may work, but is risky, for reasons I probably don't have space to explain adequately, but basically it's possible to accidentally fry the output of one output by combining it with another output, without isolating each from the other.  Ask me how I know  :(
The next best solution would be to find or build a Y-cable that has resistors on the junctions to act as a static passive mixer, but even better would be a simple stereo mixer.  These are the best I could find on Amazon for as cheap as possible.  You may be able to search around and find them cheaper on the eBay or other site.  They have input jacks for stereo 3.5mm plugs, two adjustable inputs and one "straight through" main input so you can mix together 3 different devices.  USB output also  8).  Listed in order of price from ~$33.00 to ~$50.00:
Maker Hart "Just Mixer" Portable
https://www.amazon.c...rtable/dp/B0824Q3WY8
Maker Hart "Just Mixer" Desktop
https://www.amazon.c...table/dp/B01LPT8JY8/
Maker Hart "Just Mixer 2" Desktop
https://www.amazon.c...sktop/dp/B071RZSGFR/

This one is ~$26.00, but you'll need 1/4" adapters for all the inputs and outputs
https://www.amazon.c...dapter/dp/B01F6PTA04

The perfect thing may be a standalone DJ cross-fader.  It'll mix two sources in stereo with isolating electronics so you don't accidentally fry anything, and provide a convenient method to balance the volumes of each in one handy control, rather than trying to match the volumes at each device.  The most inexpensive I could find is this:
https://www.amazon.c...Black/dp/B01JARADVO/ ~$50.00
It's passive, so no USB output, but also doesn't require batteries or power, and just the fader; no extra controls to complicate things.

Hope this helps!

EDIT: I just re-read your original post, and I missed a few things.  You said you wanted no external power required; the first 2 "Maker Hart" devices can run on batteries, so that's an option.  The Stokyo Kutter is passive, therefore needing no power, but is the most expensive at $50.00.  Maybe not as helpful as I'd hoped :(
« Last Edit: April 02, 2020, 07:32 PM by Edvard »

Deozaan

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Re: Looking for audio merger Y-cable
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2020, 01:00 AM »
Thank you, Edvard. It is helpful. But I'm not sure I'll be acting on the information any time soon. And even if I do, it may be about a month or more before non-essentials like this get delivered. :Thmbsup: