Question How to get an extra audio port (splitter, sound card, new case or usb adapter)

MrBlaBlaBla

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Years ago, while reinstalling parts on my Thermaltake Chaser A31 PC case, I broke the headphone/mic cable for the front face of the case so, at the front, only the USB ports work nowadays.

Thanks to this I'm left with just the audio ports of the motherboard (a MSI Z270 SLI PLUS) at the back of the case, meaning that I can't have my gaming headset and speakers connected at the same time. I need to disconnect either the headset or the speakers if I want to use the other one.

I've been wanting to be able to use both at the same time but I don't know which solution would be the CHEAPEST one that, at the same time, would have the LEAST NEGATIVE EFFECT on sound quality since, besides of gaming, I do like to listen a lot of music.

1-I've been thinking of a Y splitter cable to be able to connect both, but I've read that this can have a negative effect on impendance and can create static and reduction in sound quality.
2-I've also seen that USB/3.5 aux adapters exist, which would allow me to connect the headset to one of the USB ports at the front of the case, but I've also read that adapting from analog to USB can reduce sound quality as well. I think the same would apply to an external sound card that connects via USB
3-I've been thinking of an internal sound card (since I like to listen to music I think it'd be cool to have one) and I'd get extra ports, but I have two problems with this solution: The first one is that I don't know if a sound card would mean more energy consumption for my PSU and, second and most important, I don't know if I'd be able to use the ports of the audio card AND the motherboard at the same time. Afterall, even if you get extra ports with a sound card, there's still only one Line In green port on all of the ones I've seen at a reasonable price, so I would still need to have either the speakers or the gaming headset connected to the motherboard's ports
4-A new case would certainly fix this but it is the more expensive choice and, besides this issue, mine works perfectly fine. It would be bothersome to have to reinstall everything, including a motherboard, to a new PC case just for this.

If it helps in any way, my headset is a Sennheiser GSP 300 and my speakers are Edifier R1000T4

I'd appreciate any help in deciding how to get an extra audio port without losing sound quality and spending tons of money. I'm also sorry if I wasn't totally clear, since english isn't my first language.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Paperdoc

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I presume the issue is solely with the speakers / headphones, and you don't have a problem with the mic being used always in one of the rear ports. I would recommend that simple Y-splitter for the stereo output from the light green rear port. Most headphones and amplifiers now are pretty good about handling slight mismatches of impedance. Add to that the fact the the speakers have their own power supply and amplifier in them , so they represent a very low load on the audio output of your mobo, just as the headset earphones do.

Then there's a real practical problem with other options you cite. No matter how many audio output devices your system has, Windows can only use ONE output device at a time. So, for example, you could NOT have sound output to your headset from your mobo via the rear panel jack PLUS another sound output from an added sound card to your speakers. Windows can't do that. Thus it really is simpler to do this with a Splitter to your two "sound makers" from a single audio output signal.

The only other option, really, might be to have the audio sent out to a small amplifer which has several identical low-power outputs of the "Line Out" type. Then you could connect your "sound-makers" to each of those and not have any concern about impedance matching and loading. But that would cost money, and you'd have a concern about whether that amp was good audio quality.
 

MrBlaBlaBla

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I presume the issue is solely with the speakers / headphones, and you don't have a problem with the mic being used always in one of the rear ports. I would recommend that simple Y-splitter for the stereo output from the light green rear port. Most headphones and amplifiers now are pretty good about handling slight mismatches of impedance. Add to that the fact the the speakers have their own power supply and amplifier in them , so they represent a very low load on the audio output of your mobo, just as the headset earphones do.

Then there's a real practical problem with other options you cite. No matter how many audio output devices your system has, Windows can only use ONE output device at a time. So, for example, you could NOT have sound output to your headset from your mobo via the rear panel jack PLUS another sound output from an added sound card to your speakers. Windows can't do that. Thus it really is simpler to do this with a Splitter to your two "sound makers" from a single audio output signal.

The only other option, really, might be to have the audio sent out to a small amplifer which has several identical low-power outputs of the "Line Out" type. Then you could connect your "sound-makers" to each of those and not have any concern about impedance matching and loading. But that would cost money, and you'd have a concern about whether that amp was good audio quality.
I bought a KabelDirekt Y splitter which had both, good user and press reviews, but it seems like it didn't work. When I use it sound turns into mono. If the speakers are turned on, only the one in the right will transmit sound and no sound will be heard on the headset. If I turn the speakers off, sound will come out of the headset, but only from the left side.

It seems the Y splitter wasn't the answer either
 
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Paperdoc

Glorious
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There's a little detail we have not touched on yet. On the common headsets the cable ends in TWO male jacks. ONE of them is for the two stereo headphones, the other for the mic. Very commonly the mic is mono, but the male jack for it also has triple contacts. What do I mean by that? Look closely at the shaft of the male jack. It usually has THREE contacts called TIP, RING and SLEEVE. The tip and ring are the + sides each of the left and right stereo channels, and the sleeve is the common Ground.

There is another system that looks very similar, and is often found in sets for Apple Macs and on many upscale headsets. In this system the single cable ends in only ONE male jack. If you check it closely, it has FOUR contacts: the TIP, TWO RINGS, and the SLEEVE. I do not remember the exact details here, but the TIP and one RING are again the stereo left and right for the earphones, the SLEEVE is also still common Ground, and the other RING is the mono output from the mic.

The diameter and length of the jack shafts for both these systems are identical, so you CAN plug a male jack from either type into a female socket of either type - they will fit. BUT they DO NOT work! The contacts for the jack shaft and inside the socket do not match up. Typically you get partial connections, which sounds a little like what you describe.

Of course, with either of these systems even without having a mis-match, you must make sure the jack is pushed all the way into the female socket. But do examine your headset connectors. IF it has only ONE jack with FOUR contacts, then that cannot be plugged into the standard 3-contact sockets on the back of your computer, or into a Splitter output of that type. If that is your situation, you can buy an adapter that converts your 4-contact single jack into two three-contact male jacks - one for the headphones, and the other for the mic. An example:

https://www.amazon.ca/Headphones-Splitter-Computer-Separate-Connector/dp/B07MV3K2RF/ref=sr_1_75?dchild=1&keywords=headphone+jack+adapter+3.5mm&qid=1614370789&s=electronics&sr=1-75
 
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MrBlaBlaBla

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In the case of my headset, while it is split into a stereo jack and mic jack, both of them have two contacts. The headset did come with an adapter that unites both jacks and that one does indeed have three contacts. However this one works on phones and not on the PC since the ports can't work as audio line and mic at the same time.

However, it does seem I managed to find a solution to my problem. Messing with Realtek's registry and settings I was able to retask the blue line in port into a line out port, just like the green one. Now I have the speakers on that port while the headset remains on the green line in and pink mic ports.

This way both work at the same time, though I had to turn up the speakers volume all the way up for them to be audible. I don't know if the sound quality itself was affected besides volume though.

Also I am aware that this solution depends on the sound chipset of each person's motherboard, so maybe this fix won't work for everyone. However, as long as the quality itself isn't being affected, this seems like a good solution.

Nevertheless I am still truly thankful for your time and help! I really appreciate it!
 

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