I have a VCR that I am using along with the Elgato video capture device to digitize old tapes. Unfortunately the VCR only has a mono audio output, so when I capture a tape the audio only comes out of one channel. Can I safely modify an RCA cable to have one input and two outputs, by simply splicing together the outer wires and inner wires on the stereo side, then splicing them to the outer and inner wires on the mono side?

I.e. a proper, insulated version of this:

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Thanks for any advice!

  • 1
    i'd suggest you use some kind of a signal splitter, or if you go into digital format , just make the sound mono...
    – frcake
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 21:13
  • As long as you're connecting to a stereo input in the same device, your solution will work. If you use it to split the signal for several different devices, I'd go with an active solution Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 12:27
  • 1
    You should get a VCR with stereo out. You may regret it later on if you don't. I doubt they'd cost much these days.
    – n00dles
    Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 13:18
  • That's a good point @MarcW, the OP does not mention it and in my answer below I did not consider the possibility that the source tape might be in stereo. If that was the case it would be indeed a shame to loose the stereo audio. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 13:59

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can shunt (short-circuit) the two signal conductors of the stereo cable and connect the output from the VCR to that cable with fear of damaging your equipment. This is a common quick fix for this type of situations.

frcake's comment about a signal splitter (by which I suppose it is meant an active device with a preamplifier) has some justification, as the output signal from the VCR will be split between the two input channels and so the input signal to each channel will be somewhat weaker. However you will probably still be able to compensate that with the input gain of your recorder device (I don't know the Elgato device, but normally there would be an audio input gain control somewhere in the accompanying capture software).

frcake's suggestion of recording in mono is also worthy to take into consideration. Creating the video with mono audio, as is suggested, is one possibility, but even if you want your final product to be stereo (e.g. because you're composing with stereo clips from other sources), you can always simply duplicate the mono audio clip from one channel to the other in your video post processing application.


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