Need Help With Computer Audio Setup (1 headset 2 computers)

Status
Not open for further replies.

jonradcliff

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
4
1
510
0
Hi and thanks for reading.
I have a problem I have been researching for a few days and haven't come to a good conclusion on what I should do.

Problem:
I want to purchase 1 high quality headset and use it for both my personal PC and my work laptop without having to unplug or switch anything around.

Right now I use two different headsets at my desk. 1 USB headset (audio and mic) for my work laptop for Skype. I also use another headset for my personal computer for listening to music and playing games. I would really like to purchase one high quality headset (audio w/ mic) and have it work with both machines. Budget isn't too big of a concern but I would like to keep the audio quality high if possible (don't want my mic line or stereo audio to be too quiet)

My work laptop has both a 3.5mm mic jack and USB's available. I lean towards USB as the audio quality when I speak sounds better. My personal PC has both USB and 3.5mm available however I have been using the 3.5mm since thats what that headset has as a connector. I only listen to audio on my personal PC no mic needed.

My thoughts on what I could buy:
When I first started trying to solve this problem I thought I might be able to solve it all through 3.5 mm audio cable splits (Y cables).
1) split the audio and mic line from the headset with this
2) then split the audio line again with another splitter.
3) Then feed one audio line into my pc, and the other into my work pc. The mic line from the first split would go to only my work laptop.
4) Then use an adapter to get both the audio and mic into my work laptop, something like this
Conclusion:
I am worried if I go through all of this to simplify my desktop experience when using my two PCs it would have a huge loss of audio quality or simply not work. If I have to, I will buy two headsets again, but its really annoying never being able to use only one headset.



***UPDATE AND SOLUTION***

I appreciate the response and feedback on my options. After a lot more reading and thinking I decided to do go with an audio mixer.

Here is the breakdown of the setup in case this helps someone else in the future:
1) USB Adapter hook into my work laptop

2) Headset splitter this attaches to the headset with one end going into the mic in from #1 the USB adapter on my work laptop. The audio line goes into the mixer with a Adapter.

3) Mixer: the audio line from the headset goes into the "phones." So now my mic line is only going to my work laptop and the audio for the headset comes from everything that goes into the mixer.

4) To get the audio from my work laptop into the mixer I used this Cable with the 1/8 end plugged into the USB adapter(green/audio) and the two 1/4 ends plugged into line 5/6 of the Mackie Mix8.
--work laptop hookups complete. Audio goes to the mixer from the work laptop, mic line only goes to work laptop.

Next I setup my personal tower PC
4) Soundcard: this soundcard hooks up to my personal tower PC via USB. The headphone out is connected with the 1/8 to 1/4 Adapters and another one of these Cables.. So the 1/8 single connection goes into the soundcard headphone jack, and the two 1/4 ends go into channel 3/4 of the Mackie mixer.
--now I can hear super clear clean stereo sound through the mixer from both computers. You can easily apply an EQ to the channel from each PC and mix the level of volume. e.g. turn one all the way down and another all the way up, or mix them so you can hear both and the same time. No pops, cracks, or background noise from either PC.

5) bonus step. Lastly I used one more Adapter and one more Cable to take the "Main L and R" from the Mackie Mix8 and send that to the line in on the Soundcard so I can set myself up with a nice little studio to record some guitar on software on my tower PC.

Overall I spent around $300 for all the equipment, headset, and cables. I couldn't be happier with the quality of the sound. I hope this helps someone else someday as I spent a lot of time researching equipment and cables before making my purchases. If you want to follow my build and decide to go with different cables. Make sure you do your reading on balance cables, stereo cables, and mono cables. You can mess up your quality and possibly get either a flat sound, or lots of pops and clicks if you use the wrong cable in the wrong spot.
 

WyomingKnott

Distinguished
Rather than try to jigger something up, my personal choice would be to use either a USB switch (for usb headphones) or an audio switch. Would you be willing to push a button to change which system is driving the cans?
 

WyomingKnott

Distinguished
Rather than try to jigger something up, my personal choice would be to use either a USB switch (for usb headphones) or an audio switch. Would you be willing to push a button to change which system is driving the cans?
 

jonradcliff

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
4
1
510
0


There is only one small problem in the fact that someday I want to buy an external sound card for my personal PC for recording music.

so If I go with a USB switch I will need to convert a USB to a 1/4" for the headset to get audio from the sound card. I could go with a 3.5mm switch but I am worried about the sound quality. i.e. using my 3.5mm input in my work laptop has large sound reduction for my mic when I talk.
 
Since you're talking about y-splitters, I assume your laptop always sits next to your desktop? And I assume you don't need the headset connected to the laptop (or are willing to change the connection) when you have to take it on the road for work?

Pick one of the two computers to be your main machine. Unless you like taking the laptop to the couch to use while you're watching TV or something, I'd suggest the desktop. Hook everything up to the desktop.

  • ■If the laptop has a Pro version of Windows, set up Remote Desktop Server. Shove the laptop into a corner.
    ■If you have a lower version of Windows (without Remote Desktop Server), install a VNC server. (Talk to your work about this first, as some workplaces prohibit remote access programs installed on work computers.)
Any time you want to use the laptop, just get on the desktop and use it via Remote Desktop or VNC client. Your laptop's desktop will appear in a window, which you can interact with as if you were sitting in front of the laptop. Desktop, audio, and rudimentary video (e.g. Skype) will work just fine over Ethernet or even newer WiFi connections.

You can do it the other way around too (laptop as primary workstation, monitor plugged into laptop, desktop headless). But movies and games don't perform well under Remote Desktop or VNC with current network speeds. You'll need to use something like Steam In-Home Streaming or Splashtop - those compress the game/video on the server in real-time into a h.264 video stream. The client (laptop in this case) simply thinks it's playing a streamed video.
 

WyomingKnott

Distinguished
You could plug the headset into the laptop and feed the audio out of the desktop into line in of the laptop. That might solve the immediate problem.
Wanting high-quality makes this a different issue, as sound from the desktop would be converted to analog to transmit and then back to digital and to analog again, involving a loss of quality.

EDIT: If you want two high-quality outputs to one headset, my guess is that you will either need a mixer or a way to output sound from one machine as digital and take it digitally into the other.
 

jonradcliff

Prominent
Sep 10, 2017
4
1
510
0


Give you credit WyomingKnott since you got me started down the path of an audio mixer/switch. See my Update and solution from my original post for what I actually ended up doing.
 
Reactions: SminnyKnight
Status
Not open for further replies.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
C Audio 2
B Audio 0
R Audio 1
S Audio 2
S Audio 1
BreadgoatX Audio 0
SwfityIce13 Audio 3
T Audio 2
A Audio 2
Tigers_Ghost Audio 2
G Audio 8
ImPrettyIrish Audio 10
J Audio 2
S Audio 5
B Audio 4
R Audio 4
flamefire999 Audio 2
R Audio 7
V Audio 1
M Audio 2

ASK THE COMMUNITY