A friend of mine has a pair KRK 6 speakers, that have XLR and 1/4th" inputs. His gear sends audio out via XLR-ended cables, mine, the 1/4" jacks. We want to attempt to do a "gapless" stream of audio output, but my audio production knowledge is failing me.

Is it safe for both of us to plug in, and use, our equipment at the same time? Sending audio into the set of speakers at the same time?

Or would we be required to get a mixer in order to safely do this? We both have output control on our controllers, so we can adjust independent audio levels appropriately.

2 Answers 2


You really can't damage active speakers that easily, so just give it a try. But it's unlikely to work well: as both inputs are balanced, they are probably indeed hard-wired together. Still, you may be able to hear both plugged-in signals, but the sources' output stages may interfere in a rather destructive manner. You may run into further problems with the extra ground-loops and shortcut balanced connections. And finally, it's just not very practical to control.

I suggest you use a small line mixer like the ART Powermix III, that gives you far more flexibility.

  • As far as I can tell, that mixer does not have XLR jacks.
    – VxJasonxV
    Sep 7, 2011 at 17:31
  • Right. I thought you were only going to XLR by adapters. You can certainly go back to 1/4" by adapters, or choose another mixer that has XLR inputs. Sep 7, 2011 at 18:21
  • My buddies' NS7 is going in via XLR. My Twitch is going in via 1/4". The point was for both of us to plug into the speakers at the same time and have it work without a mixer. Any suggestions for a 4 channel mixer (might have a 3rd kit!) with XLR and 1/4" on each channel? And all ultimately going out via XLR to the speakers.
    – VxJasonxV
    Sep 7, 2011 at 20:13
  • XLR ports are not exactly common with line mixers, you'll probably need to go with a real small-scale console then, like Mackie 402 VLZ3 or Peavey PV6. These don't have XLR outs, but you don't really need these, do you? The Behringer 1204 has, but it also brings quite a lot of white noise... Sep 7, 2011 at 20:51
  • In the case of this question, a mixer is necessary, so this is the better answer to accept.
    – VxJasonxV
    Sep 9, 2011 at 18:01

On most of these speakers, the XLR and the 1/4" TRS are simply wired together. Both jacks are offered for convenience.

I have been surprised though. My M-Audio BX5a speakers actually mix the two inputs together, so both can be used simultaneously.

You could always try it and see if it works. It is highly unlikely that you will hurt anything. If it doesn't work, audio gets distorted, or sounds bad, chances are the jacks are just wired together, and you will need a small mixer.

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