What kind of cable

from mixer to pc

I need to know what type of cable I should by to go from a Tapco mixer’s output to the 1/8" input on my sound card. I plan on using a Shure SM57 mic connected to a Tapco mixer then connected to pc soundcard. Do I used a standard guitar type 1/4-1/4 cable and step it down to 1/8" with an adapter so I will go into my sound card, and run from mono out on my mixer. Or do I use a split 1/4" cable on one end from output of mixer to an 1/8" on the other end, I guess this would be stereo ??? I really need some help here. I’m basically clueless as to what I need.

your soundcard will have a 1/8" stereo jack that is UNBALANCED. Plugging a balanced cable into an unbalanced input will introduce noise. so make sure the output you choose is unbalanced.

I don’t know what outputs you have exactly but typically you’ll have similar options to this.

XLR Outs-There’s often two (L/R in the stereo field)use a transformer to convert the balanced signal to unbalanced, and then run that into a y cable, then into a size adapter-ie, 1/4" to 1/8"

1/4" Outs-if they are balanced, you’ll want to use the transformer again-this may require going from the output with a cable that has 1/4" TRS on one end and XLR on the other, then taking the transformer and plugging into the XLR end, then again into the y cable, and size adapter. obviously it’s easier to use the XLR’s :)
-if they’re not balanced (TS), then simply use a y cable then 1/4" to 1/8" adapter.

Or finally, many mixers have a “tape out” which is an unbalanced RCA jack. So no transformer needed and you can easily find a stereo RCA to 1/8" jack cable most anywhere. This is probably the easiest.

Since your mixer PROBABLY has a stereo output, and your soundcard most certainly has a stereo line in, you can effectively record two sources onto two tracks at one time-just pan each channel hard right and left. N-track will take those two tracks and if set correctly can either see them as 1 stereo track, or 2 mono tracks.

Guitar cable is typically shielded and designed for the impedance of a pickup, so while it WILL work in your situation, I would recommend getting some regular cables, often called patch cables.

if you need better advice you need to list your mixer’s outputs or at least the model number.

Below is the specs for the Tapco 6306 mixer, i’m pretty lost.

The TAPCO 6306 is designed for rugged, 24-hours-a-day use. Its sturdy construction houses durable double-sided SMT-plated fiberglass circuit boards. Impact-resistant knobs are mounted so they “ride” just above the steel chassis, absorbing impact to minimize damage.

The 6306 has two mono mic/line channels with input gain controls and level-set LEDs. The balanced XLR mic inputs have switchable phantom power, and the 1/4" TRS instrument input jacks accept balanced or unbalanced line-level signals. In addition, it has two stereo line-input channels, accepting balanced or unbalanced line-level input signals. All the channels have high and low EQ controls, one monitor aux send (pre-fader), one effects aux send (post-fader), a pan control (balance control on the stereo channels), and a rotary level control.

The channel EQs are comprised of a 12 kHz high-frequency shelving EQ, and an 80 Hz low-frequency shelving EQ.

The Aux Return to Mains knob controls how much of the effects signal to add to the main mix. The Aux Return to Monitors knob lets you add effects to the stage monitor mix independent of the the effects levels added to the main mix.

The outputs on the 6306 include TRS balanced/unbalanced main outputs, control room outputs, and aux sends, RCA tape outputs, and a TRS stereo headphones output.


the “MAIN OUT"s are probably what you want to use, but these RCA to 1/8” cables are quite common, so you can also use “TAPE OUT”: get a cable that is has a 1/8" PHONO on one end and two RCA’s on the other. connect the RCA’s to the “TAPE OUT” on your mixer, and the 1/8" PHONO end to the “LINE IN” on your sound card. should work.

also, take a look at your owner’s manual:


there are a few hookup diagrams in there. the one you want is labeled “Computer Setup” which uses the main outs. the hookup i described in my last post is similar the “Small Club Gig”, which uses the tape outs.

just realize that the line input on your sound card is a STEREO connection, and the main outs/tape outs are two MONO connections. you were on the right track with your original post. you’re bascially making a “Y” connection from the two mono outputs to a stereo input.

So the “tape outs” and the “main outs” are basically the same thing but use different cable? So then I can take a pair of Monster RCA cables which I already have and then find a Y adapter to adapt RCA’s down to a stereo 1/8" plug and plug into line in on back of my pc? Am I correct here? Thanks for the help.

yes that’s correct.

cool, I appreciate it.