How to Split an RCA Cable

Written by douglas quaid
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How to Split an RCA Cable
(Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

A Y-adaptor is an inexpensive component that splits an RCA cable into separate signals. Y-adaptors are handy for connecting a mono audio source to stereo inputs, or any other situation where you may want to connect a single signal to more than one device.

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Things you need

  • RCA Y-adaptor

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  1. 1

    Head down to your local RadioShack or similar electronics store, and buy a Y-connector adaptor (such as RadioShack part number 274-511) or cable. A Y-connector cable has a female RCA connector that splits into two cables with male connectors. A Y-adaptor functions identically, but has no cables. It's a small metal or plastic part with three RCA jacks, either all female or one male and two female. An adaptor may offer more flexibility because you can attach any length RCA cable to the jacks, whereas a Y-adaptor cable may not be long enough for your needs.

  2. 2

    Connect the cable you want to split to the female end of the Y-connector cable. The signal will be split into the two male cables on the splitter cable. Connect those to the devices you want to route the signal to. If you're using an adaptor rather than a splitter cable, use one with three female jacks. The adaptor will have two jacks on one end, and one jack on the other. Connect the cable you want to split to the single jack, then connect RCA cables to the two output jacks and then connect them to the devices you want to send signal to. Use an adaptor with one male and two female jacks to plug directly into the output jack on the device whose signal you want to split. Plug the male end into the output of the device, and then connect RCA cables to the two female outputs of the adaptor.

  3. 3

    Purchase a distribution amplifier if you're splitting a video signal, especially if you're splitting the signal more than once or if your cable lengths are very long. Video has more exact voltage requirements than audio, so if you split a video signal, you may notice a loss in quality. A distribution amplifier is a powered device which splits and boosts the input signal so that each output has the correct voltage and impedance for video.

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