Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Using a 2.1 speaker set and headphone off the same jack

  1. #1


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8.1

    Using a 2.1 speaker set and headphone off the same jack


    I have a 2.1 speaker set attached to my laptop that does not have its own headphone jack. So in order to listen to headphones I have to unplug the 2.1 from the headphone jack and plug in the headphones. I tried a cheap splitter but that didn't sound good.

    What I would like is something that had two jacks that allowed me to keep the 2.1 plugged in all the time in one jack and when I want to use the headphones I could just plug them into the other jack. I would like both jacks whether used together or solo to have the same sound quality as a single jack... with no degradation in sound.

    Lastly, I would like to be able to mute the 2.1 (using volume control on the speaker set) and still get great controllable sound out of the jack that have the headphones plugged in.

    Is there something like that? Thanks.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    As you only have one output jack, whatever you do on the PC, such as muting, volume control etc would affect anything attaced to that jack.
    There are small headphone amps that will give you two separate outputs with volume controls on the headphone amp. That is about as close as you are going to get.

    This about the least expensive one I found, a Behringer 4 channel. Its more than you need (only need two) but for the price it will do what you want.
    Sweetwater.com (800) 222-4700
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu


    If you have a spare USB port on the laptop you could also consider a USB sound card,

    These are often small enough to leave attached to either the laptop or the headphone cables so suit the portability requirements of a laptop

    Quality of these devices is normally as good if not better than a normal laptop set-up
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by fireberd View Post
    As you only have one output jack, whatever you do on the PC, such as muting, volume control etc would affect anything attaced to that jack.
    There are small headphone amps that will give you two separate outputs with volume controls on the headphone amp. That is about as close as you are going to get.

    This about the least expensive one I found, a Behringer 4 channel. Its more than you need (only need two) but for the price it will do what you want.
    Sweetwater.com (800) 222-4700

    Quote Originally Posted by Barman58 View Post
    If you have a spare USB port on the laptop you could also consider a USB sound card,

    These are often small enough to leave attached to either the laptop or the headphone cables so suit the portability requirements of a laptop

    Quality of these devices is normally as good if not better than a normal laptop set-up



    So then If i muted the 2.1 set through the controls on the 2.1 (not pc), then the headphones would work okay since the PC sound would be unaffected?

    If that is true, would something like this work:
    (it appears to be a usb soundcard)

    Amazon.com: Sabrent USB to 2 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack Splitter Adapter for Speaker and Headphone Support Windows and Mac. Plug and play No drivers Needed. (AU-2X35): Computers & Accessories
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu


    The device is somewhat similar to what i suggested, except it's a two output device designed to share two sets of headphones between two people, at the same time.

    You could of course connect your single headphones to this device and your 2.1 speakers to the existing output on your laptop, although if taking this route, a better quality single output device would be better, (and would normally include a separate Mic input which can be useful for Skype or similar.)

    The USB route would give you complete individual control of the existing and USB outputs so you could play music from the speakers and use the USB to use Skype

    The ability to mix sources would of course depend on the software applications in use, and you may need to change devices in windows to switch output from Speakers to Headphones ( I have 4 different outputs on my system, and can with some devices have more than one active at a time or set items up to automatically use a particular output )
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8.1


    Thanks Barman58. A few of the reviews mention doing what I was asking about: they plug it into the usb port and then use one jack on it for headphones and the other jack on it for a speaker set and it does seem to work.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu


    The one you linked to will output to the same signal to both outputs and thus you would need to physically disconnect the speakers, (or switch them off), as you do now.

    If you use a single port device for the headphones and keep the speakers connected as they are now, you will be able to control output from within windows.

    Both methods should be an improvement to the splitter method as both outputs would have their own controls

    With my system I use small free program "SoundSwitch" to control my outputs from the system tray
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu


    The one you linked to will output to the same signal to both outputs and thus you would need to physically disconnect the speakers, (or switch them off), as you do now.

    If you use a single port device for the headphones and keep the speakers connected as they are now, you will be able to control output from within windows.

    Both methods should be an improvement to the splitter method as both outputs would have their own controls

    With my system I use small free program "SoundSwitch" to control my outputs from the system tray
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 9
    Windows 8.1


    Yeah I was thinking if I mute the 2.1 (through their own on board volume control) then that would kill their sound (just like unplugging them would - which I don't want to do) and then I would just have the sound going to the headphones.

    So this way all i have to do when I want to listen to headphones is mute the speakers using a mute button on the speakers themselves (not through the PC) since I don't want any sound coming out of the speakers when I'm listening to headphones (but I still keep them connected since I don't want to physically remove them) and then physically attach the headphones to the other jack on the USB soundcard thing.

    I just want to avoid having to actually remove the speaker set jack from the port because its a drag to physically remove it and then put the other one in like I normally must do back and forth since there is only one jack and doing this probably accelerates wear on the speaker set jack and the pc jack port. Also there is sometimes speaker noise when switching. If I can just mute the speakers and then put the headphones in (using both jacks on the usb card) then that is much easier for me.
    Last edited by manters; 18 May 2016 at 08:00.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Newport, South Wales, UK
    Posts : 573
    Windows 10 Pro x64 x2 Windows 10 Enterprise x64, Ubuntu


    The Mute method should work, and the sound quality should be better that the physical splitter.

    When you install you will see two sound devices in the playback devices pop-up, select the "new" USB dongle instead of the built in sound card, As you are looking at Amazon you should be able to try the unit and if anything does not work to the quality you need you can always return it
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Using a 2.1 speaker set and headphone off the same jack
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