How To Connect Audio Mixer to Headphone Amp / Splitter – Kettner Creative

trying to figure out how to connect an audio mixer to a headphone amp splitter? In this article, we’ll show you 4 different ways to do it, and explain which of these methods we don’t recommend and why.

quick answer: the easiest way to connect your audio mixer to a headphone amp splitter is a balanced (trs) cable from the headphone jack. stereo or monitor outputs also work, but we don’t recommend using the aux output as it will only give you audio in one ear.

Reading: Headphone mixer splitter

why connect a headphone amp/splitter to a mixer?

There are 3 reasons why people typically want to connect a headphone amp or headphone splitter to a mixer.

  1. splits the headphone output 4 ways, which is often necessary for podcasts with more than one host or bands with an in-ear monitor setup. lets everyone set their own volume.
  2. more volumesome audio mixers don’t have very good built-in headphone amps, which means you need an external headphone amp to get the required volume. hard-to-boost headphone volume.
  3. high-end preamp with other featuresyou want to use a high-end tube preamp that adds tonal coloration or other features you need for your headphones.

mixer and amplifier; headphone amp/splitter kit

We used a mackie profx10v3 audio mixer with a mackie hm4 headphone amp splitter in the attached video, but these methods will work with a wide range of equipment.

  • mackie profx10v3: https://currentprice.io/profx10v3
  • mackie hm-4 headphone splitter: https:/ /currentprice.io/4ch_splitter

the mackie hm4 is a fairly simple and inexpensive device that does its job well. takes a signal through a 1 x 1/4″ input and splits it 4 ways to 4 1/4″ outputs. each output has its own volume control.

balanced vs unbalanced cable

Before moving on to how to connect a headphone amp splitter to a mixer, there are 2 pieces of theory you need to know. the first is the difference between a balanced and an unbalanced 1/4″ cable.

  • unbalanced cableunbalanced cable connectors have a tip and a sleeve. They are also known as TS or instrument cables as their primary purpose is to connect guitars to amplifiers over a distance of around 15′. they carry an unbalanced mono signal.
  • balanced cablebalanced cable connectors have a tip, a ring, and a sleeve. They are also known as TRS or Tip Ring Sleeve cables. balanced cables have 2 different uses; they can carry either a balanced mono signal or an unbalanced stereo signal.
  • Unbalanced TS 1/4" Cable
  • Balanced TRS 1/4" Cable

balanced mono versus unbalanced stereo

As we mentioned a moment ago, a balanced cable can carry 2 different types of signal. let’s take a closer look at each.

  • Balanced Mono SignalIn simplified terms, a balanced mono signal consists of two versions of the signal, one of which is phase inverted. when the signal reaches its destination, the inverted signal is flipped back to sync with the other’s polarity, canceling any cable noise.
  • unbalanced stereo signalthis is perfect for headphones that require a stereo signal up to 15′ away.

method 1: headphone output to headphone amp

headphone output > balanced cable (trs) > headphone amp input

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advantages

  • stereo signal
  • headphone volume control independent of main mix level
  • simple single wire configuration

cons

  • mixer’s headphone preamp can introduce noise/hiss

We recommend not exceeding 50% on the mixer’s headphone volume control to limit the amount of noise and hiss introduced. add more volume by using the most noise efficient headphone amplifier.

method 2: aux output to headphone amp

aux output (effects send) > balanced cable (trs) > headphone amp input

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advantages

  • set a custom mix for your headphones
  • simple single cable setup

cons

  • no stereothe headphone splitter cannot process the balanced mono signal from the mixer’s aux output, leaving you with audio in only 1 ear.

We don’t recommend this method because you don’t get the stereo mix and you lose an ear from your headphones. however, it could be useful for musicians or podcasters who need a separate headphone mix and don’t care if it’s only in 1 ear.

method 3: control room/monitor out to headphone amp

control/monitoring outputs > insert wire > headphone amp input

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insert wire

an insert cable consists of 2 unbalanced (ts) connectors on one end that merge into a single trs connector on the other. this results in an unbalanced stereo signal entering the headphone amp splitter.

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advantages

  • stereo signal
  • additional connection options on some mixers
  • independent volume control in some mixers

cons

  • use 2 wires instead of 1

We found that there was no noticeable difference, in terms of quality and ease of use, between this and the headphone output method.

method 4: stereo output to headphone amp

stereo outputs > insert wire > headphone amp input

See also: I80 TWS Review (Worth buying in 2021?) | The Cheapest Airpod Clone in the market | Best Chinese Products Review

advantages

  • stereo signal

cons

  • no separate volume control on mixer
  • uses 2 cables instead of 1

The stereo outputs work the same way as the monitor outputs, but you lose the independent volume control, as adjusting the main level will also affect your speakers. You still have the extra volume controls on your headphone amp splitter, but that’s something to be aware of.

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how to connect an audio mixer to a headphone amp/splitter, price & specifications

  • mackie profx10v3: https://currentprice.io/profx10v3
  • mackie hm-4 headphone splitter: https://currentprice.io/4ch_splitter
  • balanced 1/4″ cable: https://currentprice.io/trs_cable
  • double 1/4″ ts to 1/4″ trs cable: https://currentprice.io/14_2ts_trs
  • beyerdynamic dt990 pro headphones: https://currentprice.io/beyer_dt_990
  • xlr cable: https://currentprice.io/xlr_cable
  • trs cable: https:// currentprice. io/trs_cable
  • mic stand: https://currentprice.io/desk_stand
  • psa1 boom arm mounted: https://currentprice.io/boom_arm

how to connect an audio mixer to a headphone amp/splitter

  • 0:00 – introduction
  • 0:20 – why connect a headphone amplifier
  • 1:10 – equipment we use
  • 1:35 – pricing and specs
  • 2:00 – balanced vs. unbalanced cable
  • 3:00 – balanced mono vs. unbalanced stereo
  • 3:48 – headphone out to headphone amp
  • 6:40 – aux out to headphone amp
  • 8:03 – control room/monitor out to headphone amp
  • 10:08 – stereo out to headphone amp
  • 10:58 – recap
  • 11:36 – final thoughts

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