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Like many other super users I have many computers both at home and in the office. They are connected together with a KVM. What options exist to combine the audio from many systems so I only need a single set of speakers or headphones.

I want to be able to hear sounds from all the computers at the same time. I want to be playing music, video, or something entertaining on one computer while I am working on another. I want to hear the beeps and sound effects on the system I am working on while music or something is playing on another. So a simple switch really isn't want I want.

Currently I have an older mixer hooked up, but it takes up a huge amount of desk space. I am looking for alternatives.

To sum up, I am looking for:

  • a device that will accept two to four stereo 3.5mm line-level audio sources and will merge the audio and provide 1 line level output.
  • I don't need individual volume controls for each input, I can control that on the computers.
  • I don't want to switch between the audio sources, I want audio from many sources at once.
  • I would prefer a product I can buy, instead of something I have to build.
  • I want something with a small form factor.
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1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

Here's a 4 channel stereo passive (unpowered) mixer, USD 50 at Amazon:

doohickey

If you can deal with switching between sources, there's a $5 option, 4 input stereo passive selector:

thingy


There's also the daisy-chain option. Since you'll need a bunch of 3.5mm-3.5mm stereo cables anyway, you could run them from one computer to the other and just plug your headphones into the last one.

GhettoMixer

This assumes you have a stereo line-in on your computers.

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Disclaimer: I don't have experience w/ either, this is just a search-paste-&-run. –  hyperslug Aug 27 '09 at 9:02
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+1 Option 3 diagram. –  Duey Aug 27 '09 at 16:39
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+1 for diagram... +1 for search-paste-&-run... :-) –  beggs Aug 27 '09 at 16:52
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The third option you added is less then ideal. I don't want rebooting a one computer to result in the loosing the sound from the others. That Rolls mixer looks like it may be exactly what I want. I'll have to buy one and try it out. –  Zoredache Aug 27 '09 at 21:06
    
I forgot to list the actual product names: Rolls MX41b and AV Toolbox AVT-5041SP. –  hyperslug Sep 15 '09 at 19:15
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