Using a double Y Cord for mono recordings

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by sberger, Jan 5, 2005.

  1. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    I've been reading with great interest Steve's posts about using a double y cord to get "true" mono on mono recordings through a stereo setup. Problem is, I'm a complete ninny when it comes to hooking stuff up, and I would greatly appreciate if Steve or somebody could dummy the connection instructions for me cause i'm just not getting it reading previous posts. I use a vinyl rig(VPI Scout/Dynavector P-75 phono pre/Bottlehead Foreplay Pre/Sim Audio I-5 integrated). Do I buy something that looks like this ? If so, do I only need 1, or 2? And then, do I plug the L+R channels from that normally to into the phono pre from the turntable into the 2 female plugs? If so, where does the male go(please, no crude jokes...)? Then, what, if anything, gets plugged into my Bottlehead pre(where I'm currently running my phono pre through...i like tubes somewhere in the chain)?

    I told you, you're dealing with a complete neophyte here :shake: so any help would really be appreciated cause I have a lot of mono recordings(pre 68) and would love to experiment with this.

    Thanks all!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Somewhere here there is a detailed thread that tells how to do this.


    Go to Radio Shack. Forget about the gold plated anything. You need to buy a "double Y". The first part of it will be two female plugs on one end with a single male plug on the other. This essentially takes your stereo signal and combines the channels to one. So, plug the interconnect of your turntable in to this. Now, buy another Y cord with a single female on one and branching out to two males on the other. This is just to spread the sound out to your two speakers. Plug the female and male together and plug the two males into your system. You are now in L+R mono.

    There are other ways to do this; in the digital domain if you are making CD-R's or from the line to amp, etc.

    Does this make sense to you?
  3. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    Perfect! Thanks for taking the time, Steve.

  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Remember, if you have a really WORN or noisy record that cannot be cleaned properly, you can unhook one or the other of the turntable RCA to female Y's to see which channel the noise is on as well. Still works but you're not canceling out the stereo noise, just making it mono noise.

    What I'm saying is that if you need to use just one channel or the other in mono you can disconnect the turntable to female of either channel...

    Hope I'm making sense.
  5. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Wait, how's this?

    You want to make a CD-R of only the left music only channel of a Beatle song so you can sing along. Just leave the music channel hooked up to the Y and the other RCA dangling..
  6. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    sorry, one more quick question...when you say plug the 2 males into my system, i assume you mean they should be plugged into my phono pre. so the y cords are going between my tt and phono, correct?

  7. AudioEnz

    AudioEnz Senior Member

    Make sure you turn off the stereo first! Otherwise you'll get nasty, speaker destroying thumps through your stereo.
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Correct. Or, you can do it from pre to amp, doesn't matter really. Easier to do it from turntable to pre I guess.

    Remember, this is just a quick and dirty way to get your system to do what any 200 dollar receiver would have done for you in the 1970's with a "mono" switch...
  9. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    Thanks again.

    I realize that this is just a quick and dirty, but it sounds like maybe a better approach when listening to mono. I just picked up a bunch of Classic Records Blue Note reissues and am looking forward to seeing what this does to the sound(and they already sound great...) I suppose as you have made clear, it's worth the $15 bucks or so in cable to at least try. I can always unhook 'em...
  10. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Better make sure that it's a TRUE MONO SIGNAL on your LP though. If not, there will be some phase cancellation on the top end....

    Best to try it first with a real mono record.
  11. Steve,

    I understand your explanation perfectly: You take L&R from the turntable and bump them down to one. You then split this one to L&R on the receiver.

    What I don't understand: what is the benefit of doing this? When the turntable L&R are bumped down to one, how does this cancel out unwanted noise? If it just simply does, I'll give it a try. I have tons of mono vinyl. I've heard this idea before, but I could never understand why I wouldn't get the same signal at the end as what I fed in at the beginning. Radio Shack sorcery?
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  12. MikeP5877

    MikeP5877 Uh Huh

    I'll take a stab at this:

    When you sum L+R, it doesn't cancel the surface noise completely, but it reduces it by a ratio of 3:1 (I think).

    When you sum L+ R, the "center" information is 3db louder than the information unique to either L or R. Since the surface noise is unique to either left or right, the music is louder than the surface noise by 3 db when you sum the channels. Louder music = lower surface noise.

    Am I close?
  13. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host

    Also, most of the surface noise in stereo is out-of-phase information. When you combine the channels all of that out of phase info vanishes. So, it does two things good.
    Ingenieur and 2xUeL like this.
  14. A visit to Radio Shack is long overdue. Thanks, guys.
  15. BillyBuck

    BillyBuck Forum Resident

    If you have a slim stylus profile (such as the Shure V15's, AT440ML, Shibata, etc.) you might get some slight phasing as the stylus isn't always contacting the groove the way an older, wider mono stylus would. Even so, the benefits of running in mono should well outweigh any minor phasing effects. Two of the best-kept secrets in classical music are the mono RCA's and Mercury Living Presence. But now I've said too much and I must kill you.
    villegas likes this.
  16. Paul Curtis

    Paul Curtis Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    You could also try and find a Magnum IA170 integrated amp (not Magnum Dynalab, the other Magnum). For the price, it's a fantastic amplifier, with very respectable phono and headphone sections, and (ta-daa!) a genuine mono switch! Sadly, they've just decided to phase out the IA170 in favor of the IA200, which does not have a mono switch, and doesn't even sound as good as its smaller brother (to my ears, anyway). But the U.S. distributor may still have a few 170s left...

    Also, I believe that McIntosh still supplies its amplifiers with mono switches.

    --Paul Curtis
  17. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    Actually I would say three things good. When you are playing in true mono any surface noise that does not cancel is heard in the center, with the music. This is a lot less distracting than hearing music in the center and noise from right and left. In that case it sounds like the music is surrounded by noise.
    2xUeL likes this.
  18. John Moschella

    John Moschella Senior Member

    Christiansburg, VA
    I used to have an Audio Research SP9 that had a mode selector switch where you could reverse R/L, select L only, R only, normal stereo, and mono. So basically you could do anything you wanted. My current LS 15 has basically no controls at all. I do know that the newer AR PH5 phono preamp has a mono switch.
  19. Mark Kelley

    Mark Kelley New Member

    My dynaco PAS-3 has 3 different R+L blend settings. This was right after stereo was introduced so maybe the idea of a totally seprate R and L channels was too scary! I still don't know what these are for.

    Mark Kelley
  20. Paul Curtis

    Paul Curtis Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    Hmm. Ever seen one of these? Those who are tired of fiddling with Y-connectors might want to give it a try...

    --Paul Curtis
    marcfeld69 likes this.
  21. RJL2424

    RJL2424 Forum Resident

    Only problem is, it's overkill for simply switching the output to mono for one or two LPs. That box costs $100 (priced at the vendor's Web site).

    By the way, I do use a double Y adapter made up of the entry-level M**ster-brand Y adapters. They cost just $5 apiece, and have "gold-plated" connectors. The next step up in M**ster's Y-adapter line costs a whopping $15 apiece! :bigeek:
    JeffR714 likes this.
  22. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    so i posted a lot of this thread over at the vinyl aslylum, and got some intersting feedback. fair is fair, so here it is
  23. James Glennon

    James Glennon Senior Member

    Dublin, Ireland
    Today, I bought a Y Box adapter about 1" square in size for 2 euros about $3.30 for my son's television, he bought a dvd player (stereo) and he bought a SCART to phono stereo lead but his television is mono with 1 audio connection and 1 video connection. I asked for a Y RCA adapter cable and he produced this. It is really handy.
  24. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream Thread Starter

    i wonder if the end result of using something like this, or kab's souvenir drx retro(which they claim allows for scanning the mono groove for left, right, mono vertical, mono lateral and stero bypass) for $169 would get you closer to the optimum mono listening experience than using the y cord? or is just a little more convenient? anybody try these?
  25. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    One can easily adapt an inexpensive a/b switch, a few rca y cords, and a short mono rca cable to make a mono switch box. If you use a y on each of the left and right outputs of a preamp, simply take one side of each Y cable and put it into an input of the a/b switch. Take the other side of each Y cable and put it back into the amp or preamp input for normal stereo. Not take a short mono rca cable and go to the output of the a/b switch hooking it between the left and right output. When the switch is pushed, the left and right channels will be summed to mono. When the switch is disengaged there is no connection between channels and the normal left and right signals (through the Y cables) are routed into the amplifier or preamp as normal.

    If you have an unbuffered tape output, this can be even simpler. Forget the Y cables and just take a set of stereo rca cables from this tape output into the a/b switch. Once again, we will need to tie the left and right output of the a/b switch together with a short mono rca cable. Operation is the same as the first example.

    This can probably be done for less than 25.00 if you can find an inexpensive a/b box.

    This is not as flexible as Steve's simple method, or the $100.00 box listed above, but it is pretty easy to use and inexpensive. Steve's method will work great, but does require some effort to switch back from mono to stereo. And of course his method and the other box can easily route either the left or right channel to mono out of both speakers, which can't be easily done with my method.

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