How to Combine Two Audio Inputs: 3 Best Ways

Combining two audio sources into one output doesn’t have to be a complicated task. The process involves transferring the audio sound from one device to another device without affecting the performance of the latter.

There are many reasons you would want to combine the two inputs. For example, if you enjoy playing computer games, you may want to hear the in-game sounds and still listen to songs from an MP3 player.

One of the highlights of combining two audio inputs into one input is that it makes the scenarios more realistic and relatable. It also helps to make the primary activity such as playing a computer game more fun and exciting. Some people perform best when they work as they listen to their favorite songs.

Ways of Combining Two Audio Inputs into One

There are three primary ways of combining two audio inputs into one, namely;

Line Splitter Cables

1. Using Line Splitter Cables

Line splitter cables provide an inexpensive way to combine two audio inputs without a sweat. You can use a Y splitter to combine two adapters from different audio sources. There are also single adapters for output audio devices such as headphones.

One of the downsides of using this method is that the sound quality isn’t great. However, they are ideal for simple uses such as listening to music as you play video games. Ensure the output and input jacks match the audio equipment when purchasing a Y splitter. Ideally, the female and male adapters work well with most audio devices, such as MP3 players, smartphones, gaming consoles and laptops.

What is the difference between male and female adapters?

This is one of the most common questions we get from our readers. The main difference is that the male adapters are jacks or plugs designed for insertion into sockets. On the other hand, the female adapters are primarily sockets that host the male adapters/jacks. That is, the male adapter is inserted into the female adapter to connect the two devices. The most common materials used to make both male and female adapters are brass, copper, and gold.

Audio Mixers

2. Using Audio Mixers

An audio mixer is expensive but guarantees top-quality audio. The mixer has many knobs that must be properly set to ensure the best quality audio output. Before proceeding, it’s important to point out that the many knobs may be intimidating for new users, but once you get the hang of it, everything will make sense. You will be able to change the settings to your liking hustle free.

An audio mixer’s price tag is higher than a line splitter. The most expensive mixers have many settings and advanced audio capabilities. However, you don’t have to break the bank; a simple mixer can produce decent-quality audio. Start with a simple one and only upgrade if the output doesn’t meet your needs.

One of the highlights of investing in a mixer is that it combines two audio inputs into one input and balances them to ensure that the audio is clear and audible. Sound distortions, peaking tones and shrilling tones can be eliminated by changing the settings. More importantly, every audio input has a dedicated volume control.

Another point to note about audio mixers is that each audio input is assigned its channel. This capability provides unlimited control over bass depth, midrange, and frequencies. For example, if the game sound is overpowering the music from your mp3 player or laptop, you can adjust it accordingly by changing the settings.

3. Using USB Sound Adapters

USB sound adapters are a perfect choice if the two devices have USB ports. They are commonly used to combine two audio sources on the stereo system, gaming console, or laptop. Like audio mixers and line splitters, USB sound adapters are available in different sizes.

Consider buying the advanced desktop units if you intend to combine the audio for commercial purposes. However, a thumb drive dongle will get the job done if you intend to use it at home.

The main role of the USB sound adapter is to work as an interface between the different devices with distinct sound cards. It combines the two cards into one output, such as headphones. Compared to the line splitter and audio mixers, the USB sound adapters are more versatile as they can work with a wide array of devices with a USB port.

Using USB Sound Adapters

For the best audio quality, it’s recommendable to download sound mixer software to assist you in controlling the audio. The audio will be unfiltered and raw without software, so the quality will be compromised. Also, the sound quality is better than what the line splitters offer.

Challenges of Combining Two Audio Sources

While combining two audio inputs into one output is great as it allows you to leverage two devices simultaneously, there are some challenges that you should be aware of before buying the audio mixer, USB adapter or line splitter.

One of the downsides is that you may experience unwanted noise, distortion, popping, and cracking when using the headphones. These challenges are more pronounced when using a dual headphone jack or Y cable.

You can lower the distortion by ensuring that the male and female adapters are fully plugged in. A high-quality audio mixer should be able to eliminate any sound distortions in your headphones if the settings are correct.

Final Thoughts

There you have it; the above three pieces of accessories above will help you combine two audio sources. Make sure that you buy the hardware from a reputable online store to get value for money.

Take time to review the brand’s reputation to get a clear perspective of the sound quality to expect. Don’t hesitate to contact the support team if anything is unclear to avoid challenges down the road. Good luck!

Avatar for Jamie K. Martin

Jamie K. Martin holds a degree in Audio engineering from Husson University, Bangor. Martin spends most of his time testing and trying the technology he writes about to ensure that he provides first-hand information to our customers from all walks of life.

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