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Is there any type of 2x1 5.1 audio switch for 3.5mm mini-plugs?

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I guess that's the question, then.

I did some searches. I haven't turned up a d*** thing!

Why wouldn't someone have made such a device? 3.5mm to 3.5mm male stereo inputs x2 or more, to female 3.5mm plugs for 5.1 PC speaker male plugs.

If I have to connect those things to RCA red and white pairs, I'm gonna think about it a long time before I do it. I KNOW there are patch cables I could buy, and probably I have a few of 'em.
 

postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
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is this what you need, just 3 of these?
http://images.philips.com/is/image/PhilipsConsumer/SWA2151W_27-IMS-global?wid=430&hei=430&$jpglarge$
it works for me, lets me use headphones or speakers by just attaching and detaching the headphones.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,526
940
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is this what you need, just 3 of these?
http://images.philips.com/is/image/PhilipsConsumer/SWA2151W_27-IMS-global?wid=430&hei=430&$jpglarge$
it works for me, lets me use headphones or speakers by just attaching and detaching the headphones.
Is that stereo or 5.1? I can't see how it could support 5.1 surround. I'm puzzled.

I had a couple splitter cables like that --- probably still in my parts-locker. I used them for multiple stereo input to the "green" port of my PC sound-card or onboard audio.
 

Murloc

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2008
5,343
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If your have a stereo input, the output can't be 5.1 unless you do some upmixing in the middle.

I don't understand what you're trying to achieve.

You have a 5.1 PC speaker system with the 3 jack male analog inputs to be inserted in the sound card, and you want to do what exactly? Be able to connect something else to the speakers at the same time and switch between the two inputs?
If the other input is not another computer soundcard but just a stereo device with one jack (such as your phone), you just need to connect one jack, this means using only 2 speakers though.

How about this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-5mm-jack-switch-box-3-5mm-audio-speaker-headphone-maunal-selector-switcher/221260872382?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid=222007&algo=SIC.MBE&ao=1&asc=20131003132420&meid=01a9169faeb548648986e50c2b6a89ba&pid=100005&rk=1&rkt=6&sd=251075472332&rt=nc
Of course you'd use this on the front L/R speakers' connection and insert the phone there. And mute the computer while you're using it otherwise you're going to hear the PC stuff on the center/sub/surrounds channels while listening to the phone on the front speakers.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,526
940
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If your have a stereo input, the output can't be 5.1 unless you do some upmixing in the middle.

I don't understand what you're trying to achieve.

You have a 5.1 PC speaker system with the 3 jack male analog inputs to be inserted in the sound card, and you want to do what exactly? Be able to connect something else to the speakers at the same time and switch between the two inputs?
If the other input is not another computer soundcard but just a stereo device with one jack (such as your phone), you just need to connect one jack, this means using only 2 speakers though.

How about this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-5mm-jack-switch-box-3-5mm-audio-speaker-headphone-maunal-selector-switcher/221260872382?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid=222007&algo=SIC.MBE&ao=1&asc=20131003132420&meid=01a9169faeb548648986e50c2b6a89ba&pid=100005&rk=1&rkt=6&sd=251075472332&rt=nc
Of course you'd use this on the front L/R speakers' connection and insert the phone there. And mute the computer while you're using it otherwise you're going to hear the PC stuff on the center/sub/surrounds channels while listening to the phone on the front speakers.
I've got two 2.1 PC speaker sets with the 3.5mm which have current use in this room. One expands the sound and volume from my HDTV. The other is connected to a PC that has a lot of my attention at the moment.

A little rearranging of HDMI inputs, and I can port two PCs to my AVR to feed it's own 5.1 and the HDTV, and I can put the AVR into a sleep-state pass-through mode if I prepare the PC output to be 2.1.

The speaker system for this thread topic is a Logitech 5.1 set for which I have a certain fondness. It shouldn't give me "HT-quality" surround, but in this room, it's an alternative that supplements the AVR, and the AVR generates a lot of heat when not in sleep/passthrough mode.

If there were some way of using the Logitech analog 5.1 for both computers either simultaneously or by switching back and forth, I could clear a 2.1 speaker system off my desktop. In fact, the reason I'm looking for a solution is that the 2.1 bass woofer has some slight distortion above a certain volume. [Do you believe I bought those LabTec speakers in 1994?]

If it looks as though I'm getting extended usage from old parts, it is the way it looks! I'm also trying to find opportunities to reduce the clutter.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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Back to Murloc and postmortem again. And postmortem's splitter cables.

I think I had one of those splitter cables configured to the Line-In port of my computer audio. I can't remember exactly if it merged inputs SIMULTANEOUSLY. I think I was using it for feeds from my HT "stereo" cassette dual tape deck, and a Sony Walkman cassette player I was also using to digitize stereo tapes.

It occurs to me that my rat's-nest of wiring would add another few wires to the tangle if I run 5.1 mini-plug outputs from two computers, but if postmortem's cable suggestion would actually merge those outputs for simultaneous input to Logitech speaker system, it could be worth the trouble.

Or it would be worth the trouble if the double PC outputs wouldn't somehow overpower the Logitechs. I'm just not sure what is possible there. My understanding of speaker cabling configurations and the electrical imperatives attached to the same is a bit spotty.

But the 3.5mm stereo patch cables that could be used with those splitters are a staple Radio Shack item, and I have a few of them "in inventory" or laying unused along the floorboard between my HT cabinet and the computers under my desk.

My man-cave and its contents would make an interesting "Hoarders" episode on the TV . . . D:
 
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postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
7,704
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The 3.5mm splitter or Y-cable works the best if impedance of both outputs are the same. I am not sure if you will hear anything on high impedance drivers if other one is low impedance.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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The 3.5mm splitter or Y-cable works the best if impedance of both outputs are the same. I am not sure if you will hear anything on high impedance drivers if other one is low impedance.
So . . . you're confirming that the two PC sources will have their audio outputs merged simultaneously through the 5.1 speaker set? I also thought myself about the impedance factor, but both of the motherboards are "almost" the same model. I don't think that would actually vary across different motherboards! As I understand it, all of those 3.5mm jacks produce the same impedance. This is just a standard for PC sound connections.

Would I expect a reduction of volume from either input? It looks as though we're talking about three 3.5mm stereo wires -- green, black and yellow plugs or PC sound jacks. I'd only need to order some 6' patch cables . . . wait-a-minute . . . Now I'm looking at your picture of the splitter again.

I think this would require either two male 3.5mm stereo wires merged to a single female. For one computer, no patch cables would be needed, while for the other computer, male-to-female patch cables ~ 6' length would suffice for this.

I can only guess that such a splitter would also be available somewhere. I KNOW I probably have one or two similar to the picture you linked. But it seems to me I need the same sort of splitter, but with the two male plugs merged to a single female.

It is more of an advantage to allow sound output simultaneously from both computers than to deploy hardware that makes the output mutually exclusive between them. In other words, if one didn't want sound output from one computer, you'd just select the mute option at the sys-tray sound icon, or mute the virtual device defined by running software or speakers.

You're SURE that merging the two outputs would have the desired effect, without deleterious consequences? It's so simple, if such is the case -- I can kick myself for not having thought about it some time ago.
 
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BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I think this is the type of splitter cable I need. I need three of them.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2570-_-Product

I also need three male-to-female 3.5mm stereo patch cables.

The splitters "pink" connections (wouldn't matter, though) would all be ported to three of the configurable (5.1) ports on PC #1. The "green" connections would all fit the female ends of the patch cables -- plugged in to the same motherboard audio ports on PC #2. Then for each splitter, the appropriate 3.5mm male jack for the Logitech 5.1 speaker system would connect to the single female plug of the splitter.

"Is this the way ya do it?"
 
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postmortemIA

Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2006
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I can confirm that two speaker sets can be driven by one input. Other way - I would not dare to mess up my sound card :)
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
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I don't think it would foul up a sound card. If anything, any damage would occur to the speakers. We're basically merging the output of two sources (PCs) and porting it to the speaker system.

I found several of the 2xmale to 1xfemale splitters, some at the Egg, some elsewhere. In at least two cases, the item description promoted it as allowing two sources (and specifically PCs among them) to output to one speaker system.

I think the only thing I can do is give it a try. YOU -- postmortem -- suggested this, and I could get panicky with your last post and caveat, but the same thing is suggested in those item descriptions. so I won't get panicky . . .

It's also interesting that these items are not all that common. Best likely source: a reseller catering to audio, video and entertainment electronics cable needs:

http://www.mycablemart.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=1802

Look at the price on those puppies. A cheaper product with bad reviews costs ~$4 apiece at the Egg. Radio Shack also had them -- at $7 each! But they only had two when I needed three, so it was a fortuitous deal-breaker. considering the Radio Shack price per unit, I actually bought six of the splitters and five 6' male-to-female extensions/cable-patches, and the charge at MyCableMart was about $17 to include shipping. Just three 6" splitters would have cost $21+ at the Shack. I chose USPS, and priority. They'll get here in 3 days or less.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,526
940
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So -- sure -- I decided to grab the splitters and cable patches, and it cost me $17 because I bought some spares.

Looking again at this, there was a mild disagreement about the splitter approach at Tom's Hardware:

http://www.tomsguide.com/forum/57294-6-using-computers-speaker-system

HEre, some posters had worries that parallel postmortem's caveats. There was even a suggestion of risk to sound cards.

But there was also a more encouraging view of it from a forum we know well:

http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=1530296

I'd like to hear more from any forum members who have some thoughts about it.

There is also a possibility of sound output from one computer being input to another computer. For instance, there are small plugs for two 3.5mm stereo mini-plugs on one end, with a USB connector on the other.

With two or more forum discussions about this already discovered, there must be more. I also noted that some item descriptions for the splitters specifically suggested two PC sources with one speaker-system output or target.
 

BonzaiDuck

Lifer
Jun 30, 2004
14,526
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Now I'm thinking about this some more, after examining my motherboard manual.

There is an unused Line-IN (blue) mini-plug port among the six audio jacks on the mobo. There's also a Mic-In port.

If I can be satisfied with stereo from one computer, I could run its green stereo Line-Out to the Line-In on the second computer.

I should also re-examine the Logitech input ports. I may simply be able to add another connection to it. Sometimes, we use some item for so long, we forget all its features.

But I'd still like to hear more from folks about this Y-splitter possibility.

==== HERE'S A POSSIBIITY WITH LIMITATIONS: ====

http://www.allaboutadapters.com/hddodtsdihdo.html

Folks can comment as they're inclined.

Pro's: HDCP compliant. Allows use of the HDMI/graphics-card audio stack, outputted to 5.1 3.5mm female jacks (perfect for an analog PC 5.1 speaker set).

Cons: Limited to only one PC at a time, passed through an HDMI switcher for a single shared monitor and passed on again to this device. Switch computers from PC1 to PC2, and the sound on PC1 goes dead. Pricey.

Other thoughts: On a single system that has separate (KVM-switched) desktop HDMI and (persistent) PC->AVR->HDTV HDMI, the two outputs would be independent. You could still use Media Center "audio-renderer-updater" add-in app to switch audio between the desktop output and the AVR output.
 
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