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Guide to Y-Lead & Send-Return Cable Builder
Connecting Balanced & Unbalanced
Alternate XLR Configurations
Impedance Matching
Shielded Twisted Pair Vs. Star Quad Cable Breakdown

Guide to Y-Lead & Send-Return Cable Builder

The Y-lead and Send-Return Cable builder is designed to allow the user to split a signal into two separate channels. These separated channels can either be divided into two identical signals (Y-Lead), or to separate the two channels into a left and right or Send and Return. There are hundreds of different combinations possible with this builder. The table below is provided to help you determine which terminations you may need for your cable.

Single Side Split Side Cable Function
� in. Unbalanced TS Dual � in. Unbalanced TS Unbalanced Y Lead
Dual 3 Pin XLR Unbalanced Y Lead
Dual RCA Unbalanced Y Lead
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Mono Unbalanced Y Lead
� in. Balanced TRS Dual � in. Unbalanced TS Stereo L & R Channel Split, Insert Send/Return Cable
Dual � in. Balanced TRS Balanced Y Lead
Dual 3 Pin XLR Balanced Y Lead, Insert Send/Return Cable with M/F gender (Stereo L & R Channel Split made in the Stereo Builder)
Dual RCA Stereo L & R Channel Split, Insert Send/Return Cable
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Stereo Balanced Y Lead
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Mono Stereo L & R Channel Split
Balanced 3 Pin XLR Dual � in. Balanced TRS Balanced Y Lead
Dual 3 Pin XLR Balanced Y Lead
RCA Dual � in. Unbalanced TS Unbalanced Y Lead
Dual RCA Unbalanced Y Lead, Subwoofer Y Adapter
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Mono Unbalanced Y Lead
3.5 mm Mini Stereo Dual � in. Unbalanced TS Stereo L & R Channel Split
Dual � in. Balanced TRS Stereo Y Lead
Dual 3 Pin XLR Stereo L & R Channel Split
Dual RCA Stereo L & R Channel Split
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Stereo Stereo Y Lead
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Mono Stereo L & R Channel Split
3.5 mm Mini Mono Dual � in. Unbalanced TS Mono Y Lead
Dual 3 Pin XLR Mono Y Lead
Dual RCA Mono Y Lead
Dual 3.5 mm Mini Mono Mono Y Lead

-Send/Return Cables require a TRS connection on the Single Insert End (Termination 1). The Standard is to have the Tip as the Send Channel and the Ring as the Return Channel. If you require the reverse, please contact us.
-Most cables in this builder do not have restrictions on gender. This allows some cables to be built that are capable of merging 2 output signals into 1 input. Such builds may be needed for some applications, but caution must always be exercised when using these cables. Merging two signals into one input is capable of damaging your equipment.

Connecting Balanced & Unbalanced

All Audio Interconnects made by Milian Acoustics use Standardized wiring configurations endorsed by the Audio Engineering Society (AES). Nonetheless, converting Balanced Signals to Unbalanced, and vice versa, should always be done with caution. The conversion in and out of Balanced signals greatly increases the chances of RFI and negates the long-run benefits of balanced signals. The best option is to always use fully Balanced Connections whenever possible. Impedance matching isolation transformers are another option to consider if noise issues are occurring when converting between balanced and unbalanced. Under many circumstances, this may not be a feasible option, and a quality built interconnect may be the best recourse available.

The standard wiring for XLR and TRS cables connecting balanced to unbalanced is to ground pin 3 to pin 1 and ring to sleeve, respectively. In the event of specific noise issues with certain combinations of devices, other wiring configurations are available that may be able to cure the problem. Balanced inputs can have their grounds left unconnected in some cases to solve ground loop issues. Please contact us if you are experiencing noise control issues, we will do our best to offer the solution to your problems.

If you have any special wiring needs, or are unsure of the wiring of your components, please don't hesitate to contact us at We will assist you in determining what is best for your system.

Alternate XLR Configurations

All Milian Acoustics Interconnects involving XLR terminations are defaulted to Pin 2 Hot Wiring. Some devices utilize a Pin 3 Hot design which is not compatible with standard XLR interconnects. Other wiring options, such as an fully Unbalanced XLR, are available upon request.

If you are in need of an XLR cable wired to Pin 3 Hot, or if you require any other unorthodox pinout, please contact us at with your needs and desired length, terminations, and sleeving. We will send you an invoice via email.

Impedance Matching

Analog audio systems interconnect using a rising impedance structure. The load's input impedance will always be much higher than the source's output impedance. As such, impedance matching for line level interconnects is not possible, nor is it an issue at audio frequencies except for unreasonably long runs.

Impedance matching is necessary, however, for digital and video transmissions. Digital and Video transmissions require impedance matching to prevent reflection loss. Because RCA plugs are also used in digital and video transmissions, it must be noted that RCA cables intended for audio are not necessarily ideal for digital and video applications. 75 Ohm Coaxial RCA Cables for S/PDIF Digital and Video are available upon request.

One other area where Impedance Matching must be addressed is with the use of Microphones. When connecting microphones to mixing boards or multi-track recorders, it is important that the microphone's impedance is not greater than the input impedance of the mixing device. An impedance mismatch in this case can result in significant signal loss and poor sound reproduction. This issue is usually present when the input is an unbalanced 1/4� jack. Under these circumstances, an XLR to TRS or TS connection will not work. An Impedance Matching Transformer is required in conjunction with an XLR to XLR cable. The best results are achieved with a low impedance Microphone directly connected to an XLR input.

Guidelines for use of Shielded Twisted Pair & Star Quad Cables

For the sake of simplicity, the Milian Acoustics Cable Builders group these two geometries together for Cables built with the OFC option. Shielded Twisted Pair is a 2 conductor cable and Star Quad is a 4 conductor cable consisting of 2 sets of twisted pairs helically wrapped together. Each builder's guidelines determine under which circumstances each type of cable is used:
Because the Silver Plated OFC cable offered comes in Shielded Twisted Pair only, cables built requiring more than 3 conductors will be built with two cables together in one sleeve. There is no additional charge for the extra cable used.

If any of your questions were not answered on this page, please contact us at

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