headphones splitter volume loss

Akshat great

Mar 22, 2014
i wanted to know on which part of the computer headphones depend for volume and when i use 5 splitter headphones the volume decreases whats the reason and how to prevent it
When you split a headphone signal among 5 headphones, the energy that was originally supposed to drive one set of headphones is split 5-ways. One of the consequences is that the volume is lower (each headphone is getting less energy). Another complication is that not all the headphones may have the same impedance, so some headphones may take a greater share of that energy than others.

If you want to split more than 2-ways, you really should be using a powered (amplified) splitter with individual volume settings. Something like this:

Edit: You may also need some phono to 3.5mm adapters. I can't tell from the pic which size that amplifier takes.


I see a post was added while I typed. That BEHRINGER MICROAMP looks like a great option with independent volume and all that good stuff.

This could depend on how the splitter works.

If you have a splitter that is parallel you could put quite a load on the sound cards output.

5 pairs of 32 ohm headphones in parallel would look like a 6.4ohm load(this is like driving a home speaker).

Not all cards have the same type of output, but some have a resistor inline with that output so at lower resistance ratings(heavier load) the voltage will also sag making things even worse.

Now to make things more interesting if the headphones are in series, you may have very high resistance(easy load). 5 pairs of 32 ohm headphones will look like a 160ohm speaker. because the load is so light, you need more voltage to drive it. Lets say your computer sound card has 2 volts to use 160 ohms of headphones would give you 0.025watts compared to the 0.125 for 32 ohms(that parallel combination above would try to use 0.625 watts). This is not harmful to the sound card, but just not very loud since all the headphones will share this voltage.

The solution could be something like a headphone amp(or even one per headset as this would allow each users to control the volume) or use a small power amplifier(lots of older amplifiers had headphone jacks that could drive speakers.).

Remember amplifiers with headphones in parallel will be more than capable to cause hearing and headphone damage.

Series connection may be a bit safer. An amp that can put 50 watts into an 8 ohm speaker will only put 2.5 watts into a 160 ohm headset splitter, BUT that will kill your headphones and hearing so you have to turn it down and adjust it after.

You may be interested in reading this on information on the subject.
Reason: Just like a truck, you can't keep putting more weight on it without slowing it down and eventually the motor gives up.

Prevent: A stronger motor, and in this case an external amplifier.

There is a cost to everything.

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