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Share speakers between two different computers

Learn what equipment you need in order to share a set of speakers between two computers and how to set it up.

Problem

Because computer speakers take up desk space, it might be helpful to share speakers between computers, rather than having two sets of speakers for two computers that are right next to each other. For example, two employees who work in close proximity (and collaborate together) could use one set of speakers, as could an administrator who has two systems connected to a single monitor, keyboard, and mouse via a KVM switch.

Solution

By using a set of cords that you can purchase from an electronics store, such as RadioShack, you can easily use one set of speakers to provide sound for two different computers.

This assumes that both computers are already equipped with a standard sound card or have a built-in sound card. However, this is not a platform-specific solution. Any computers that have a standard 1/8-inch sound jack can share speakers. This includes two computers from different platforms such as Windows, Mac, Linux, UNIX, etc.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Two 1/8-inch to 1/8-inch male-to-male stereo audio cables (RadioShack part number: 42-2387A)
  • One stereo cable Y-adapter with two 1/8-inch female connectors on one end and one 1/8-inch male connector on the other end (RadioShack part number: 42-2570)
  • One 1/8-inch mini-jack female-to-female coupler (RadioShack part number: 274-886)

Figure A provides a look at these items.

Figure A

Once you have the needed hardware, follow these steps:

1. Connect the jack from your speakers to one end of the coupler.

2. Connect the male end of the Y-adapter to the other end of the coupler.

3. Connect both of the audio cables to the two female jacks on the Y-adapter.

4. Connect the other ends of the audio cables to the speaker jacks on the two computers.

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