This may seem like a stupid question, and probably is. Please bear with me. I have 1/4in. tip/sleeve connector jacks and 2-wire shielded audio cable, from which I intend to make an instrument audio cable.

The question: what do I do with the shield?

  • it's not ideal, but send both cores to the tip & the shield to the sleeve.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 26, 2015 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking a shield should not carry signal. It should be grounded at one end, usually the source but in this case probably at the input. That would mean connecting the hot signal line to the tip and the return signal line plus the shield to the 1/4" sleeve, assuming that the sleeve is at ground on the input, and leaving the shield unconnected at the source.

This is not ideal but without a way to separate chassis and signal grounds -- having only two conductors -- it's probably the best you can do.

  • “Generally speaking a shield should not carry signal.” You're right in principle, but in practice most instrument connections are unbalanced and always use ground as the negative signal wire. Why proper balanced connections over XLR have never become the norm, I have no idea. Aug 28, 2015 at 10:08
  • @leftaroundabout A wise man said the answer to "why" is almost always "money". (-:
    – Jim Mack
    Aug 29, 2015 at 14:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.