Mixing Sound From Multiple Computers on the Cheap

At both home and work I use several computers and have grown tired of the clutter from multiple sets of speakers filling my desk. Still, there are times when I want to hear the audio from more than one computer at a time, so don’t want to use the typical switchbox connections for switching computer audio along with keyboards and monitors.

 

After exploring various options, the solution that has worked well for me is The Belkin Rockstar. It is nothing fancy and primarily intended to plug multiple headphones into a single audio device. But audio being what it is, it is just as easy to use the unit to connect multiple audio sources to a single set of speakers. At just under $12 from Amazon, along with some audio cables from Deep Surplus, the entire solution cost me less than $20.

 

This is definitely a low-tech solution. Anyone who works with audio will recognize one of the limitations of this solution is that the more devices you connect to a simple device like the Rockstar, the lower the volume of all the devices ends up being. Audio quality does not degrade though with this setup beyond the volume level. For me the system has been working well for several months and works well even when multiple computers are producing speech at the same time.

 

You can connect a total of five sound sources to the Rockstar and one set of speakers. The device comes with one audio cable ending in a standard male 3.5mm (1/8″) jack hard wired into it. When used for the default purpose of connecting multiple headphones, this is the cable you would connect to the audio source you want to share. When using the Rockstar, as I am to connect multiple sound sources, whatever audio source you connect to this hard wired cable has the loudest audio in the resulting configuration. There are five 3.5mm female ports on the device. Use four for additional audio sources and one to connect speakers or headphones—whatever you want to use to listen to your computer audio.

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