I am looking at purchasing this line mixer: https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=615108 Here is the manual: https://downloads.monoprice.com/files/manuals/615108_Manual_160818.pdf

At the output stage, I need to send to: 1. A stereo receiver that has dual female RCA
2. A laptop line input jack, 1/8" unbalanced stereo (to record into GarageBand)

EDIT:{the entire mixer is mono!} The mixer provides: "Balanced XLR and TRS outputs carrying the mixed signal after the Master Volume Control."

I am 99% sure I can use an XLR to dual male RCA cable to send to the receiver. What I can't figure out is if I will be able to use the 1/4" output to send to the laptop. The mixer sends balanced mono, but the laptop is expecting unbalanced stereo. How can I make them communicate?

I've tried searching a lot, and this article asks basically the same question - TS vs TRS cables to connect mixer to audio interface - but the conclusive answer seems to be "it depends on your specific equipment," and I don't know how to apply that to the pieces I'm looking at.

Can you help? Thank you!

  • do you really want mono? If you go for a 2-channel output mixer, you can, say input a mono instrument or mic, pan hard to one channel and arm your track for that as mono in garage band. You can use the tape out to control levels to the laptop and the main outs for monitoring on your receiver. etc
    – Yorik
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 17:52
  • Sure, it's not that I specifically want mono, just that it really doesn't matter in this situation. This is for a small meditation center that's just using mics for talking and iTunes for playing recorded prayers. No instruments, no music performance, no panning or effects needs.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:11
  • And most of the people who will run this have no idea about audio, so it's been stressed to me by the decision makers that the board has to be "very simple," meaning as few EQ, effects, sends, etc. knobs as possible. If I send them a Yamaha MG10, they'll freak out - they basically want one volume knob per channel, nothing else. There are some simple, small mic mixers, but we need to have inputs for 3 mics and a feed from iTunes, and then the two separate outs for the receiver and back into GarageBand.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:11
  • I have spent many hours looking at mixers and I've found it exceedingly difficult to find something with that input and output capability that isn't also a complete mixer with EQ, sends, pans, etc. And finally, budget is a concern, $100 was the target.
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


A normal balanced TRS output is automatically “degraded” to an unbalanced one simply by connecting a TS jack. The way this works is, it forces the ring to ground level, then the tip voltage is

Utip = Uring + Usignal = 0 + Usignal = Usignal

i.e. the same as with an unbalanced output (which simply sets Utip = Usignal right away).

So to connect this mixer to the laptop, simply use a 2×mono-TS to 1×stereo-TRS cable. The mono plugs convert the outputs to unbalanced, the cable combines those two signals to a stereo one.

  • Thank you! I understood the first idea, that balanced TRS gets downgraded to unbalanced via TS. But then it looks like your conclusion is to use a dual mono TS 1/4" to single TRS 1/8", but the mixer only has one balanced 1/4" TRS out, not two. Can you clarify?
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:18
  • There's a comment from the linked thread that says: "If you had a stereo output socket (TRS) and plugged in a mono plug with only the tip and the sleeve, you'd be grounding one of the channels (probably the right, which is usually wired to the ring) which is not a great thing to do."
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:20
  • and this thread: sound.stackexchange.com/questions/25577/… - says: "Plugging a mono cable into a stereo jack will not work well. If it's unbalanced mono, the result will come out only on the left channel; if it's balanced it will come out L/R in opposite phase. Neither is usually acceptable."
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:23
  • Only one balanced TRS out? That seems unlikely. Normally there are two balanced outputs for L and R channel, as well as a stereo, unbalanced headphone output. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:41
  • Aha, that entire mixer is mono! Then obviously you need a split cable / y-box. Commented Nov 13, 2019 at 21:43

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