3 pcs through 1 set of speakers possible?

at the school i work in, we have 3 pc's with midi sound cards, keyboards etc.... they are all in one room. are there devices that allow 3 pcs to connect to one set of speakers? not playing all at the same time of course, but kinda like a kvm switch..... for speakers.

....the crows seemed to be calling him, thought caw....
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  1. Rad Shack sells those little switchboxes for stereo RCA connections.

    Or you could build/buy a mixing circuit so they could all play simultaneously.
  2. Where can I buy a mixing circuit? Thanks.
  3. at music stores. I think Rad Shack even sells crummy ones.
  4. The cheap Radio Shack switches are fine for two-channel connections (I use one to switch between my two sound cards for the front speakers only). But if you want to switch multiple channels (4.1, 5.1, etc) between PCs you'll need to go with a pre-amp.

    Ritesh
  5. d00d, you don't need any fancy equipement. If you hook the audio out of one computer to the audio in of the next, etc, you can chain the computers together. You have to unmute the audio inputs of each computer, which may be muted by default. As long as all computers are on, all sound should be heard.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  6. good idea.
  7. Quote:
    If you hook the audio out of one computer to the audio in of the next, etc, you can chain the computers together.

    This is the cheapest solution but clumsy, because if my speakers were hooked up to the third PC and I wanted to listen to the output from the first one, this is what I'd have to do:

    1. Unmute the Line In on the second PC.
    2. Mute Wave, MIDI, and CD output on the second PC.
    3. Unmute the Line In on the third PC.
    4. Mute Wave, MIDI, and CD output on the third PC.

    Keeping track of all that could be a nightmare. Furthermore all three PCs have to be on for this to work, which is a waste of power. And finally, the sound quality of the first PC will probably be poor because it's going through four digital-analog conversions before it gets to the speakers.

    Two switches in series would be only slightly more expensive but much easier to work with. A pre-amp is by far the most expensive solution but is the easiest to work with and allows many more sources besides.

    Ritesh
  8. His situation was at a school, I figured they would want full-time sound and full-time operation, only because that's the way most schools use their equipement.

    <font color=blue>You're posting in a forum with class. It may be third class, but it's still class!</font color=blue>
  9. u could just use two 1/8" y-splitters and run them in reverse. that way the sound would work even with the other computers off.
  10. You deffinitely do NOT want to do it like that. If you did that you would be tying the outputs of 3 soundcards together. Never tie any outputs which might be active, or else expect smoke.
  11. how would tying the outputs of 3 unamplified signals together cause smoke. if thats the case then running the output to a reciever would fry the the board on the reciver. the output is just like a line lvl output of a radio. there is really no wattage to it
  12. The outputs are amplified to at least "line" level. There are defined levels of power (the wattage) output even for line level sources. It is the same volts and amps which comprise the signal even if they are tiny compared to speaker driver output levels. Many soundcards have even more than line level amplification at the outputs.

    This is basically the equivalent of taking a garden hose and hooking it a spigot (or pump) on your house and the other end to a spigot (or pump) on your neighbors house and turning them both on. Maybe everything won't break it's hard to say. I'm not going to try it.

    Recievers have switches that never tie outputs from the various sources. As I mentioned earlier it is possible to mix sources, but I have never seen recievers with this ability.

    Hey there may be some existing configuration where this would work without breaking stuff, but I sure wouldn't count on it without at least being able to look at the schematics of the involved circuits, which aint gonna happen. So, take my advice or leave it, but remember you have been warned
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