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Soundcard + Speakers + AMP + Headphone Possible?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
So currently I am trying to figure our how I should hook up an Headphone + AMP and my Speakers to my computer sound card.

My creative sound card only has Green, Blue, Black and Orange outputs on rear. Currently I have the Line Out(Green) and Rear Out (Black) going to my Speakers. I have a HD audio port on the front of the machine which I have used to connect my Headphones before. But now that I am getting an Dedicated AMP, how do I set it all up?

Do I need to use a Y splitter cable to split the sound cards Front Line Out (Green) between the amp(headphone receiver unit) and speakers or something like that? How do I set it all up so that speakers work separately? I think that will that add more noise, degrade the sound quality or cause any unsuitability issues or strains on the sound card or sound quality? or do I need to connect the amp to the front panels HD audio out

Also, does the quality of cables matter or can I use regular RCA and 3.5mm cables from ebay? redface.gif
post #2 of 29
It would help a lot to know what brands and models you trying to interconnect.

As for cables, you can read this: Audioquest
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post #3 of 29
More info on what you're connecting up would help.

I'd go soundcard -> Amp -> Speakers & Headphones

That assumes the amp has a headphone output and will be close enough to you. Does the amp have a digital input?

Monoprice is great for cables, cheap and great quality.
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post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am wanting to connect 2 things to the computer really,

1. is my speaker setup
2. is my amp/receiver which will power my headphones.

So something like this,

Computer |-> Speakers
.............|-> AMP / Receiver -> Headphones


The amp will be a retro amp like from the 90's or something like from Pioneer, Sony, Denon or something, You know those heavy stuff, I want to use it seperately for powering and controlling headphoes since my speakers are Powered via the controls within the speaker/sub setup.

The amp has a headphone output on the front, something like this one here.



Also about the cables ,It seems I will need a 3.5mm to Stereo RCA Cable to transfer the signal to the Amp / Receiver. So not sure, but I would think any decent gold plates one from ebay should be fine or do you guys suggest some more expensive higher quality stuff?
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Okay here's an image to clear up what I am trying to achieve, As you can see I want to connect the Amp in addition to my speaker setup smile.gif

post #6 of 29
An amp like that just for headphones is a complete waste of space and money IMHO. It's like buying a car to park on your drive and use the trunk as storage. If you don't intend to connect speakers now or any time soon then look at a headphone amp.

Which raises another question; what headphones do you have?

As for cables, anything that is built decently will do, Monoprice is the go-to place for quality and good value. I'm assuming you're in the US as your profile doesn't say.
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post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know what you mean but Its because I can pick these retro amps at garage sales for a few bucks, they are quality stuff and better then most $50 - $100 headphone amps I can get off ebay and stuff. Besides they weight a ton and have built in Pre Amp / DAC and all kind of stuff I wont find in a simple headphone amp. So if I can take a 3.5mm to RCA cable from my computers sound card and connect them to the back of the amp, then it can drive my headphones and maybe even sound better then what I get with my sound card or most ebay small amps? A lot of these older amps also offer Dolby Digital or Dolby Prologic as well. So I know it maybe a waste of space but for the money I cant go wrong with these retro stuff and overall the sound quality should be better too. And in the future I will have the option to add a new setup of passive speakers(although I am happy with my current setup of surround speakers).

As for headphones, I am planing to get something in the level on Beyers DT880 or DT990.

So really need some help figuring out how should I connect the amp to the sound card without any quality loss, while the speakers are also connected and functional since the green front line out on the sound card is already occupied by the speakers. The other way would be trough the front HD line out header but I am unsure about static noise ans sound quality..

As for cables, Do you think cables like these from ebay would be appropriate? or do you think they will cause bad quality sound and should I be looking for something better? if you have anything better in mind then in that case some links will be good (ps: I am outside North America.) smile.gif

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RH49-Gold-10-FT-3-5mm-Male-Plug-to-2-RCA-Male-Stereo-Audio-AV-Cable-Adapter-3M-/160956558036?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item2579c22ad4

http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-5mm-Audio-Y-Splitter-1-to-2-AUX-Cable-Universal-Gold-Plated-Music-Share-Listen-/251211744943?pt=UK_MP3_Player_Accessories_Cables_Adapters&hash=item3a7d6306af
Edited by TheBirdman74 - 1/21/13 at 6:50am
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBirdman74 View Post

I know what you mean but Its because I can pick these retro amps at garage sales for a few bucks, they are quality stuff and better then most $50 - $100 headphone amps I can get off ebay and stuff. Besides they weight a ton and have built in Pre Amp / DAC and all kind of stuff I wont find in a simple headphone amp. So if I can take a 3.5mm to RCA cable from my computers sound card and connect them to the back of the amp, then it can drive my headphones and maybe even sound better then what I get with my sound card or most ebay small amps? A lot of these older amps also offer Dolby Digital or Dolby Prologic as well. So I know it maybe a waste of space but for the money I cant go wrong with these retro stuff and overall the sound quality should be better too. And in the future I will have the option to add a new setup of passive speakers(although I am happy with my current setup of surround speakers).

As for headphones, I am planing to get something in the level on Beyers DT880 or DT990.

So really need some help figuring out how should I connect the amp to the sound card without any quality loss, while the speakers are also connected and functional since the green front line out on the sound card is already occupied by the speakers. The other way would be trough the front HD line out header but I am unsure about static noise ans sound quality..

As for cables, Do you think cables like these from ebay would be appropriate? or do you think they will cause bad quality sound and should I be looking for something better? if you have anything better in mind then in that case some links will be good (ps: I am outside North America.) smile.gif

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RH49-Gold-10-FT-3-5mm-Male-Plug-to-2-RCA-Male-Stereo-Audio-AV-Cable-Adapter-3M-/160956558036?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item2579c22ad4

http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-5mm-Audio-Y-Splitter-1-to-2-AUX-Cable-Universal-Gold-Plated-Music-Share-Listen-/251211744943?pt=UK_MP3_Player_Accessories_Cables_Adapters&hash=item3a7d6306af

Your are feeding an analogue connection to the receiver, so the DAC(s) in it aren't being used. You're right though, those old amp are great and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I'd be willing to bet your soundcard will not output through two ports at once, so you'll probably need a Y-splitter. This won't have any significant sound degradation, and run it directly from your soundcard to minimize connections. This is assuming your speakers are self-powered right?

Also, +1 to monoprice. They make quality stuff for cheap.
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post #9 of 29
I actually do exactly this, but I do it with different components.

Here is my setup.

Fiio E10 USB DAC (line out) > Dayton Audio DTA - 100a > Polk Audio RTI A4

Fiio E10 USB DAC (Headphone out) > Creative Aurvana Live

With this setup I can actually have both run simultaneously.

And I've been looking at the old Denon HT receiver that I have, and noticed that I can have the headphone jack activated for any of the inputs, I just have to do it manually. Meaning, I can go 3.5 > rca into my receiver and then either leave it as the default output (HT system), or press the "output" button on the remote and it will change the output to the headphone port (regardless of what source its coming from). So you might try to see if you can find a setup like that, because that would solve your problem without a splitter.

Good luck man smile.gif.
post #10 of 29
The front audio port is going to be headphone out rather than line out. Line out to the receiver would be ideal because it is a lower noise output. I think the only way you can get simultaneous output is to use the front headphone port and the rear headphone port. If you connect front or rear headphone with the line out on the rear, the soundcard will probably default to headphone output only, but go ahead and give it a shot before you buy additional cables.

edit: go ahead and get a 3.5mm to RCA, because you'll need that for the receiver regardless.
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