Every studio needs an easy way to patch audio originating from a stereo 1/8’’ jack. Phones, iPads, laptops, and instruments like the awesome mini synths in Roland’s Boutique series have 1/8’’ outputs. (I love my Roland JU-06, a faithful JUNO-106 emulation that weighs 3 lb and runs on four AA batteries.) If you have RCA, 1/4’’ TRS, XLR, or long-frame patch points, Hosa and some other big brands make off-the-shelf, mono-to-stereo splitter cables, but my patchbays are TT (bantam/mini). TT cable assemblies are harder to come by and typically cost more. After some searching, I found Harpoon Cables. They make pretty much any Y-cable you might want, priced super reasonably (especially compared to most TT assemblies). I ordered a 5 ft Y-cable with a stereo 1/8’’ TRS connector splitting to two mono TT connectors. It’s sturdy, well-built with serviceable connectors, and assembled with strain reliefs on all ends — and long enough that someone can chill on the studio couch, still holding their patched-in phone. Note that the stock version of this cable has the shields of all three connectors tied together to the rings of the two TT connectors. If you need a different grounding or balancing scheme, you can call or email Harpoon to make a custom order. A lot of other cabling is available on their website. The DB25-TRS snakes, for example, look good and are priced well.

$24–$34 direct, depending on length; www.harpooncables.com

While we’re on the subject of patch cables every studio should have — TT to XLR (male and female) patch cables are super handy. You can connect a DI box right into your patchbay, patch into a re-amp box, or hook up some random rack gear that somebody brings by. I got my cables on eBay from JDS Promotions; business owner Jason David Smith has been selling patch cables there forever. The cables are colorful, molded cables — not handmade or as boutique-looking as Harpoon’s TT cables — but still sturdy; and I’ve had no problems with them. And they’re cheap by TT standards. While you’re at it, you might pick up a half-dozen TT to 1/4’’ TRS cables too. (If you prefer fancier cables, Harpoon makes these for about twice as much.) JDS has storefronts on eBay and Amazon.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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