Headphone switcher?

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Headphone switcher?

Post by MarkOne »

I’m after a doohickey that can take the headphone output from the mixing desk, and the headphone out from our video streaming setup, and allow me to switch between them. I can see various things on Amazon, but nothing that looks halfway ‘pro’
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

You're not going to find anything 'professional' because this isn't something a professional would normally want.

However, there are plenty of unbalanced stereo signal switchers around that you could employ for the purpose, although you may well end up making up special connecting cables.

My preferred approach would be to find a monitor controller with headphone output, or a headphone amp with selectable inputs instead... Something like a Drawmer CMC2 monitor controller or perhaps the SPL Control One, for example.

More expensive than a passive switchbox, obviously, but you'd get much more consistent headphone performance from a good headphone amp, with convenient selection of different sources, useful signal checking facilities thrown in, and easy integration of speaker monitoring too!

Tiz the proper way to do it! :D
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by MarkOne »

Hugh. Thanks, but somehow that seems like a sledgehammer to crack tiny little nut.

I feel the need to buy some Neutrik socketry, a nice alps rotary switch and an extruded aluminium enclosure, and spend an hour or two in the workshop.
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by resistorman »

MarkOne wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:53 pm Hugh. Thanks, but somehow that seems like a sledgehammer to crack tiny little nut.

I feel the need to buy some Neutrik socketry, a nice alps rotary switch and an extruded aluminium enclosure, and spend an hour or two in the workshop.

You'll probably want to be sure it's a break-before-make switch.
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Folderol »

It should also be a three pole switch.
It's tempting to use something like a standard 2 pole toggle switch for just L and R, and leave the grounds common, but that risks a ground loop (at the least).
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

MarkOne wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 1:53 pm Hugh. Thanks, but somehow that seems like a sledgehammer to crack tiny little nut.

Yes, I get that... but don't discount all the benefits without giving it some thought, particular in terms of future upgrades.

I feel the need to buy some Neutrik socketry, a nice alps rotary switch and an extruded aluminium enclosure, and spend an hour or two in the workshop.

Perfectly do-able. As others have said, you will need a three-pole, two way switch that is a break-before-make type. It would be potentially disastrous if the two headphone amps get connected to each other, even momentarily.

And as Mr F says, you should switch the earths as well as the left and right hot connections to avoid potential ground loop problems.

I'd ground the aluminium enclosure to one of the inputs (whichever is most appropriate) to maintain screening, but make sure all the sockets are isolated from the case.
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Kwackman »

I don't suppose your mixing desk has any switching options for monitoring?
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by MarkOne »

Kwackman wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:08 pm I don't suppose your mixing desk has any switching options for monitoring?

It’s an SQ5. We can monitor all the mixes from there, including the mix going to the ATEM. Thing is, the ATEM is providing bus compression and a limiter, before that feed goes to YouTube. (This is a church streaming system) The ATEM also provides a multi screen monitor over HDMI so we can see what is on all the camera feeds and it passes the feed audio back through that HDMI. We can monitor that audio via the headphone socket on the monitor, so the operator can ensure there is nothing wrong with that feed.

But as I said in another thread, the operator is managing both the broadcast mix and the FOH mix, so a handy way to flick between both (and the musicians fold back mixes) would be handy.

In a perfect world we’d have a team managing the FOH, the stream and the camera switching independently. But volunteers who are willing to do this are thin on the ground.
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Mike Stranks »

Interesting...

Just this morning our service leader for today couldn't join us because of COVID in his house, so we rigged up a live feed from him via Zoom and connected that up to the sound system and the 72" video screen.

Two laptops: one handling the in-house on screen display and the other (me) handling the Zoom side of things. Both laptops used their HDMI outs through my RGBlink switcher so that I could switch instantly between the Zoom feed and things like words of hymns for the video screen.

All worked well, but I felt the absence of an easy means of talkback to the remote contributor. We were using an external camera/mic link into Zoom so he could follow what was happening. I needed to be able to patch/switch between the external mic and a headset for me. Complication was that the external mic was routed through the camera to keep sync so arrived at the Zoom PC via an HDMI-USB input.

As I type this I've worked out that the simplest way is a small mixer taking two mic inputs and feeding - through an attenuator - the mic input of the camera. More kit, but more control...

I'd like to come and see your set-up some day Mark... I'm in Cirencester (ish) so not too far away...
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by James Perrett »

Can you send the headphone output from the video streamer to a couple of spare inputs on the desk and then just solo those channels when you want to hear them in the headphones?

It looks like all the other sends can be solo'd too so that you can check on monitor mixes in the same way.
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Mike Stranks »

These days (probably m'age!) I'm finding a session with pen, paper and a few diagrams helps me work through routing and connection options. :)
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Re: Headphone switcher?

Post by Mike Stranks »

To Mark One:

Check out 'Fentronix' on eBay.

A bit like Orchid Electronics in Exeter, but more basic functions on their products. Fentronix do all sorts of switchers, attenuators etc - all of which they build themselves.

You could always contact them to check functionality - esp in the light of what's been said in this thread. Seems to me that they might be open to building something for you if you don't have the time/inclination to self-build.

I've bought a few gizmos from them. All good and do what they're supposed to.
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