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On our conference table, we plan to attach some data ports including two sets of 3.5mm audio ports.

Each set will have a 3.5mm audio port - one for speakers and one for microphone. So there are two sets.

Now, both sets need to connect to the computer. Plus, the output should not require a manual switch.

I know there is a Y-splitter: enter image description here

Will it work if I get two of those, attach both speaker ports to one and both mike ports to another one, and then just plug the single ends into the appropriate ports on the computer?

If I change the devices (different speakers or different microphones), shouldn't they just output using the regular basic device driver, since it is analog anyway?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

This would be like connecting 2 speakers to one jack on an audio amp (stereo). The output would be split between them, reducing both volume and quality. You'll have trouble with volume levels and noise. Microphones are powered by the jack so will have issues and it would invite feedback problems.

For the speaker, the better option would be to get a 4.1 type set which requires just one jack. You can then spread the speakers around - the rear speakers usually have long cords. These can be cheaper than 2 decent dual speaker systems. (Better sound cards may have 2 speaker jacks, allowing you to set up 2 sets of speakers)

For the mics you'd get much better quality and control with a small mixer and standard mics. Mix the output into the stereo LINE input on a computer.

Conferences are not a lot of use if people can't hear and fixing it is obscure.

Note that volume controls are layered on a PC. There is physical speaker volume, system volume and app volume. Usually 75% is about as high as you want for the speakers to avoid distortion. For Mics, there can be sound card software mixer setting, system mixer (sometimes integrated with sound card) and app Mic levels. (Skype for example)

Always test a setup before you go live.

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Now, I can't use 3.5mm audio jacks in an RCA port, no? – bgmCoder Jan 29 '13 at 15:56
Do I need a "mixer" or is there a such thing as a "switch"? – bgmCoder Jan 30 '13 at 16:32

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