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An idea for a Headphone Splitter - Give me Ideas


Mr. Phil

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OK, I am going to be recording my friend's band this weekend, and this will be the first time I've recorded a band (besides my former one).

 

A problem has occured though!

 

They have 5 people in their band that need to be listening at once, plus me. What I have been doing before was just using a bunch of Y-Cables out of the headphone jack. That seemed to work good, except I don't have enough for everyone, and I don't have enough money for a big Headphone amp.

 

So I was wondering if this will work:

I'll take a metal box, and have a 1/4" stereo input. Then somehow (this is where I need help) I want to connect 8-10 panelmount Stereo 1/4" jacks for outputs. This seems like a giant Y-cable to me.

 

What I need help with: Do I have to connect something in between the input jack and the output jacks? I was think of a ON/OFF switch, or a Volume Pot.

 

I've also seen something that looks like a whole bunch on connectors on a board. Kind of like something for phones or electric wiring.

Should I get one of these, or just splice the 2 groups of 10 wires together and solder them to their respective places?

 

I'm also guessing that I should just solder all the ground wires to the box. If thats wrong, please tell me.

 

Thanks so much guys.

 

~Phil~

 

P.S. I'll also be asking my dad what he thinks later, although he'll probably just yell at me about spending money.

 

I also posted this in George Massenburg's Recording forum.

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P.S. I'll also be asking my dad what he thinks later, although he'll probably just yell at me about spending money.
And so would I! The $$ you spend on wires and plugs could be spent on 1 handy phone amplifier/splitter at your local music store.

 

Perhaps you also refered to a Patch Bay... again, money well spent a device that is intended to split & amplify phones.

- Matt W.
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I agree - headphone amps made for studios (one input, many outputs each with their own volume control) are available. I think SamAsh and GC have them (though I haven't looked beyond their catalogs). I think this will be a better solution than those Y cables....

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Well, the real answer here is that you probably need a headphone amp to achieve what you're talking about. There's really no getting around it. While you could keep splitting the output with 1/4" splitters, you're gradually going to lose gain as you move down the line.

 

The thing I would seriously ask is this: do you need 5 people to have cans on simultaneously? Meaning, do you have the amps isolated, or enough DI's that everyone needs to hear what's going through the mixer?

 

You may be able to get away with having only a couple of headphone setups. It really depends on how you're tracking everything. I have a hypothetical recommendation for you about your setup, provided you can swing something like this.

 

Have 2 headphone outs. One for a drummer, and one for a guitar player. I think you could get away with you and the bass player listening through monitors while tracking guitar, bass and drums. Then, I would overdub any additional elements, and you can divvy out the headphone when needed. Even in this instance, I would consider the bass and guitar parts as scratch tracks, and go for a good drum take first and foremost.

 

This may or may not work, but inevitably you find a way to make things work in a DIY recording setting.

 

The big thing I'd think about addressing in this recording situation is this: a lot of bands are going to say "Oh, we can track the whole thing live". Try to dispell that myth. I've only had ONE INSTANCE of an entire band tracking a song completely live, and it was a rare occurrance over a lot of time spent recording. Overdubbing affords you the chance to scrutinze every performance on an individual basis, and I think this is the way you're going to get the best results.

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Damn I love it when my major and my music coincide!

 

Think what would happen if you added a speaker cab to your existing setup. Then add another. Then another, and so on. You would presumably be adding them all in parallel which will drive the inpedance dangerously low.

 

A bunch of Y splitters do the same thing, just we tend to forget about it because each pair of phones dissipates only a few dozen milliwatts, not a few hundred.

 

I'll agree with the coments about not wanting to buy a studio headphone amp; those things are crazy expensive! The god news is that I'm currently building a 5 (or so) channel headphone amp with individual volumes for each pair of phones. When I have it all said and done, I could expect it to go for about $35 or so.

 

If you're interested in buying one, PM me and I'll send ya photos when I have the boards etched and the device ready to go.

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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OK, I think most of you are assuming, this will be a studio type enivironment, with me behind the glass. But its gonna be in a garage, and probably everyone is gonna be DI'd.

 

And These headphone amps only give 4-6 outputs when I need more than that.

 

So buying a Headphone amp is out of the question.

 

Thats why I wanna make this thing. Instead of the Y-cables be split after being split and so on, this will just split 10 times right off.

 

I could probably get a few volume pots and put it on each one too.

 

The 4 channel amps go for at least $50, and I think this would cost about the same, but not have an internal amp.

 

I'm confusing myself.

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If you hook up 10 headphones to a single headphone amp (output jack), you will most likely fry the headphone amp.

 

Why do you need more that 4-6 sets of headphones?

 

You should be isolating amps anyhow, especially in a garage. Otherwise you will bleed into the drum mics. Worse case scenario, record the drums in the garage and everyone else in a "control room." The drummer gets a headphone set and you get studio monitors. If necessary, put the amps in a separate room or DI them for the scratch track. If these guys can't play to studio monitors, you have bigger issues than trying to get them headphone mixes.

 

General recording advice:

 

1. Calculate the bpm of each song

2. Program that into the software and get your click track ready

3. Mic up the drums

4. Isolate the amps

5. Record everything live and make sure you get solid drum tracks

6. Everything besides the drums is a scratch track

7. Record the bass over the scratch track

8. Record the guitars over the scratch tracks

9. Record the vocals and the backing vocals

10. Mix to taste

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Originally posted by getz76:

General recording advice:

 

1. Calculate the bpm of each song

2. Program that into the software and get your click track ready

3. Mic up the drums

4. Isolate the amps

5. Record everything live and make sure you get solid drum tracks

6. Everything besides the drums is a scratch track

7. Record the bass over the scratch track

8. Record the guitars over the scratch tracks

9. Record the vocals and the backing vocals

10. Mix to taste

:confused: I didn't see the step for when to record the tambourine...or the harmonica...or the horns...or...

 

:D

 

Phil, is anyone going to play thru a miked amp, or will everyone have DI only (which you imply in an earlier post)?

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Phil - I'm not sure that your box will do what you think it will. Without some kind of circuitry (like an amp), I doubt you'll get what you want.

 

You could split the recording so 5 people play at a time, or buy two of those amps. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you. You want to provide a complete recording experience with stone knives and bear skins....

 

And Willie - you left out the cowbell.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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Originally posted by Mr. Phil.:

OK, I think most of you are assuming, this will be a studio type enivironment, with me behind the glass. But its gonna be in a garage, and probably everyone is gonna be DI'd.

Not me, I got the jist when you said this would be in a garage...

 

And These headphone amps only give 4-6 outputs when I need more than that.
Being familiar with using only one headphone amp at a time, I sort of guessed that there is a way to daisy chain a couple to get as many outputs as you need. Ooooooooorrrrrrrrr...

 

If you have everyone DI'd into a mixer, put them all equally into L and R channels and run L to one headphone amp and R to another. With the unit Getz posted, that gets 10 outputs with proper impedence and amplifierage (I love this language). What I am assuming is that you want everyont to have the same mix in the cans, because that's what you will acheive either with my madness or yours.

 

Just my .02... otherwise, you have a very interesting shop project to look forward to and I wish you the best of luck.

 

And please, we need more cowbell. :thu:

- Matt W.
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Okay, I've looked at your initial idea again. So, you're proposing mounting a 1/4" stereo line in, and then connecting that in a box to as many as 10 stereo outputs, right? The problem you're going to run into is that as you add connectors to what is essentially a big Y connectors, you're going to be loading down the signal. Adding an on/off switch will only be useful for muting, and a volume pot will only aid in reducing gain, not increasing it. By the time the signal gets to the headphones themselves, it's going to be barely audible if you've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 sets of headphones plugged in.

 

To give the signal sufficient power to be distributed to your proposed 10 outputs, you need to amplify the signal. There's really no getting around that. You may be able to get a pretty cheap amp at Radio Shack to do that.

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Any headphone amp with 4 outputs could drive 8 sets of phones with 4 of your beloved y cables...so that would be 50 bucks well spent.

 

But taking a headphone level signal and splitting it 10 times? You are asking a lot of your poor little headphone output.

 

The ART units are the cheapest, but I like my Behringer Powerplay because it introduces a second input that is discrete PER output. Nice when adding something that no one else wants to hear.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

Phil, is anyone going to play thru a miked amp, or will everyone have DI only (which you imply in an earlier post)?

Well the bass will most likely be DI, but if the guitarists want their cabs miced, then this whole thing can be avoided. :D

 

But I like to be prepared if they change their mind.

 

Originally posted by Nicklab:

To give the signal sufficient power to be distributed to your proposed 10 outputs, you need to amplify the signal. There's really no getting around that. You may be able to get a pretty cheap amp at Radio Shack to do that.

So what you are saying, is that I can make my little box thing, buy like a 1W amp, and stick it in between the input and outputs? Problem Solved?

 

I hope.

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OK I understand what you guys are saying. Buy something professionally made so it works right without hassle.

 

I think I might end up doing that.

 

I'll eventually make this thing though.

 

(No one in the Rec Forum really said anything about this) :D

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If I can coax my parents into letting me get that, I will. I'll have to look at it first.

 

I'll probably end up getting a cheap 4 output from Rolls or ART, then Y-cabling it to death. :D

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Ok now I'm getting confused with all the channels and outputs.

 

The S-Phone has 4 Channels, 12 Outputs.

 

Another Headphone amp has 6 channels, 6 Outputs.

 

Does number of channels mean that that many things can be mixed together, and the outputs are the outputs. Like a mixing board?

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OK. Another (and probably only $20) solution.

 

I have an old home stereo amplifier that has only the right channel working.

 

My dad suggested taking the Monitor Outs to the Aux In on the stereo, and then have the 10 output box coming out from the speaker terminals.

 

Of Course this will only be mono. This sounds like a lot of work for not as good quality though. Also the stereo weighs about 20-30 pounds, so its just another piece of equipment to carry. (I already have my Recorder, Mics, Stands, Cables, and Mixer)

 

I will have my headphones coming from the recorder, because this stereo will probably color the tone too much.

 

Now something I just thought of now.

Could make like a couple boxes with 3-4 Outputs and then hook them up to each output on a real headphone amp? ( like this Samson or This Rolls amp )

 

Therefore making it 1 output just for me, and having 9-12 outputs for everyone else?

 

Now How should I make the box? Stereo 1/4" with the left daisy chained to the lefts of the outputs and the same with the rights and the grounds (to the bottom or side of the box)

 

I'm getting very side-tracked with this and its kinda one of those things you have to figure out before you do anything else. :freak::freak:

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Phil, in case you didn't hear, I think this bears repeating:

 

Originally posted by getz76:

WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED SO MANY HEADPHONES?

Well?

 

If you're tracking the whole band at once (they'll need to be good players and well rehearsed to pull this off) forget headphones full stop (period). Mic up the guitar amps, DI the bass but use the bass amp for monitoring, mic up the drums, and have the vocalist sing whilst they're tracking to stop the band getting lost and to keep the energy levels up. Overdub the real vocal afterwards. Don't worry about a click - let the music breathe. NO HEADPHONES!!! Hit record and count the drummer off at the right tempo. Sit back and enjoy.

 

If they're not such good players, track the bass and drums simultaneously, DI the bass and mic up the drums. Again use the bass amp for monitoring, just keep it quiet enough to minimise bleed into the drums. There will still be too much bleed for you to do punch ins on any mistakes, but if it's just the two of them playing it shouldn't be too hard to get one mistake free take. Look, NO HEADPHONES!!! When the guitarists overdub their tracks you can either stick them in the control room and the amps in the live room, or get them to use headphones. Only one set required!

 

Alex

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Originally posted by C.Alexander Claber:

Originally posted by getz76:

WHY THE HELL DO YOU NEED SO MANY HEADPHONES?

Well?
Don't get me wrong, I've always tracked with headphones... BUT...

 

9 or 10 headphones? How big is the band? Why do you need that many headphones?

 

Assuming you have a drummer, two guitarists, a bass player, and a vocalist:

 

Drummer gets headphones.

Each guitarist gets headphones.

The bass player gets headphones.

 

That's 4.

 

You are isolated and use monitors.

 

You the vocalist in your isolated space and he also uses the monitors.

 

Everyone goes direct for the first takes.

 

Nail the drum tracks. Afterwards, overdub each of the instruments.

 

How did you get up to 9 or 10 headphones?

 

Also, how many tracks can you simultaneously record? If you don't have the right equipment, you might want to skip the multi-tracking process and do the band live and just overdub the vocals.

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Originally posted by getz76:

You are isolated and use monitors.

I won't be Isolated though. I'll be right there with them in the Garage. Although I'll have my own headphones that have like 30dB or so reduction.

You the vocalist in your isolated space and he also uses the monitors.

I dont need headphones for him at first, I'll track him last.

How did you get up to 9 or 10 headphones?
I'm a boy scout. I like to be Prepared. :D

 

So this what I'll do. I'm gonna buy either that Rolls amp or the Samson S-Amp and I have 3 Ys if I need them. No boxes of outputs.

 

...but I thought that was a cool idea. It sounded like fun to make. Although probably a hassle.

 

Now, there is a headphone out, L/R monitor out (all those are 1/4") and there is a RCA stereo out which is pretty much the same as the Monitor outs.

 

So should I go from the headphone out? with a stereo cable? (i'd have to buy that)

or

Go from the RCA to 1/8" coupler (i have that already) then a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter.

 

I think I might do the latter.

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Originally posted by getz76:

Don't get me wrong, I've always tracked with headphones.

I think we need to get back to the bare bones of the problem and ask "what would Lemmy do?"

 

Headphones? Pah!

 

If you do insist on using headphones, you only need one pair per player and they do not need to be run in stereo. (Does anyone ever monitor in stereo?) Even if there's 8 players, you should be able to use a simple 4 channel headphone amp running two pairs of headphones off each channel.

 

Alex

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