I have two soundcards installed in my computer (one is on-board and other is PCI card). One is used in windows and other in linux. I hate going behind the computer every time that I reboot into another OS. So, is it safe to connect headphones amplifier (FiiO E3) with two soundcards? I'm not really sure that's a good idea, but I thought I should ask :)

  • Had to ask - why do you have two soundcards? – BJ292 May 22 '12 at 18:41
  • @BJ292: One is better (PCI) and works only in windows, other (on-board) is lower quality and works both in windows and linux. The thing is I prefer lower quality over no sound, so I use on-board sound card in linux and better (PCI) sound card in windows :) – xx77aBs May 23 '12 at 9:26
  • I'm not a Linux guru but someone on here may be able to help you get the PCI soundcard working in Linux - that sounds like a better solution to your problem. – BJ292 May 23 '12 at 19:05

You can't do this successfully unless the amplifier has two inputs, which is unlikely. See Hook two computers to one speaker? (although in your case it might work if the unused soundcard sets its output to high impedance)

You need a switch or a mixer. The easiest thing to do might be to bring the connections out to the front with extension cables so you can plug from one to another.

  • Yeah, as I thought, it's not so safe :D Is there any way to check if unused card sets it's impedance to high? I would buy a switch, but they are super expansive for something so simple (like $25 on ebay, but it only contains 2 inputs, one output and a switch ...) – xx77aBs May 23 '12 at 9:24
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    You might be able to wire your own switch, if you get a "double pole double throw" type and connect it to the two inner wires on each cable. The outer shield should be the same ground if both cards are in the same PC. – pjc50 May 23 '12 at 14:24
  • Hm thanks, I thought I should use TPTT, but yeah, DPDT should work because I don't need to switch ground. Thanks, I'll figure out something ;) – xx77aBs May 23 '12 at 17:50

Get one of these: http://www.pandawill.com/3-5mm-audio-jack-adapter-1-to-2-splitter-converter-male-to-dual-female-connector-white.html

One of these: http://www.amazon.com/3-5mm-Stereo-Coupler-Female/dp/B000I963FE

And two of these: http://www.amazon.com/QVS-CC400M-06-Male-Audio-Cable/dp/B0000932A9

Connect the male-to-male cords to the sound cards and run them up to your desk. Plug them into the two female ports on the two-to-one connector, then connect the female-to-female coupler to the male end of the connector.

It's not kosher, by any means, but it should work.


If you're worried about potential damage by connecting the two outputs to each other in a switchless configuration, there are two-channel audio switches available: http://electronicsusa.com/mk1and2.html

  • Thanks, but I already knew how to connect them like that. I'm just not sure if connecting them like that will cause any damage to sound cards, because technically it would be as if I am connecting output of one sound card into another. – xx77aBs May 23 '12 at 9:18

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