Our stereo pedals use 1/4" TRS input/output cables.  The left channel is on the tip, right channel on the sleeve.  This is not the same as a balanced connection.  See the "Stereo Pedal Connections" article for more information about stereo connections.

Connections between TRS stereo pedals use TRS to TRS (stereo) cables.  Here are some examples:

To split the input or output into separate left and right cables, use TRS to dual TS (or RCA) cables, commonly called insert cables.  The left channel is on the tip (sometimes marked "send") and the right channel is on the ring ("return").  

1/4" examples:

RCA examples:

  • Hosa TRS-201 Insert Cable - 1/4" TRS Male to Dual RCA Male
  • Pro Co IPBQ2R-3 1/4" TRS Male to Dual RCA Male Cable
  • Hosa YPR-102 Stereo Breakout Cable - 1/4" TRS Male to Dual RCA Female

If you need to convert a mono signal to a stereo, you can use a 1/4" TS to 1/4" TRS adapter. This is useful if you are switching between mono and stereo instruments and do not want to reconfigure your pedal.  Look for an adapter that applies the mono signal equally to stereo left and right.  Here is an example:

Balanced Signals on TRS connectors

Our pedals do not use balanced input or output, but the same TRS connectors can be used for balanced connections and it sometimes causes confusion.  A balanced signal transmits a mono signal using three wires: positive (tip), negative (ring), and ground (shield).  The positive and negative wires carry a single audio channel, but 180 degrees out of phase.  This improves noise immunity with long cable runs.  Since the positive and negative wires both pick up the same noise relative to ground, the receiving device can use a differential input to subtract off the noise.

At the source:

Tip = signal
Ring = -signal
Shield = ground

At the destination:
Tip = signal + noise
Ring =-signal + noise
Shield = ground

The differential input calculates:
    Tip - Ring = signal + noise -(-signal + noise) = 2 * signal

and the noise is greatly reduced.

If you connect a stereo TRS output to a balanced TRS input, the differential input will subtract the right channel from the left.  In most cases, that will result in a very quiet signal.