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Could I Fry Two Sound Cards by Connecting Them?

By raywood ·
In the name of science, I ran a Y cable to the audio output jacks on two separate computers. This enabled me to use one pair of headphones to listen to two computers without manually unplugging cables.

I am wondering whether this may have been the cause of seriously deteriorated sound quality now. Both sound cards, although inexpensive, were working fine before, and both are almost new.

I'm just wondering whether I need to order a couple of replacement cheapo sound cards from Newegg tonight.

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Cross currents problem

by mjd420nova In reply to Could I Fry Two Sound Car ...

Under normal conditions some degradation is normal but you are changing the impedance of the circuit and it can cause adverse effects. Check the cards individually again to see if the outputs return to normal without the cross connection. Unless you have a ground potential between the two computers you could be setting up a ground loop and that's big trouble.

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Impedence mismatch

by jimmy-jam In reply to Could I Fry Two Sound Car ...

That will definitely cause a problem with sound quality. Being that audio is an AC signal, impedence match between the source and the load is important. Any impenance mismatch will cause a degradation and/or distortion of signal. Even if the other PC is turned off, the compontents of the sound card will effect the effective load seen by the active sound card. Will that "Fry" it? At those signal amplitudes, it's not likely but in technical terms... it will sound like cr@p. :-)

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Impedence mismatch

by jimmy-jam In reply to Could I Fry Two Sound Car ...

That will definitely cause a problem with sound quality. Being that audio is an AC signal, impedence match between the source and the load is important. Any impenance mismatch will cause a degradation and/or distortion of signal. Even if the other PC is turned off, the compontents of the sound card will effect the effective load seen by the active sound card. Will that "Fry" it? At those signal amplitudes, it's not likely but in technical terms... it will sound like cr@p. :-)

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How About If It's a Double-Y?

by raywood In reply to Impedence mismatch

The other part of the story is that I didn't just attach headphones to one Y-cable. The real truth is that I also used a Y-cable on the other side, so that both headphones and speakers were simultaneously running from both computers, all on one grand interconnection. Whenever either computer would make a sound, it would be heard on both the headphones and the speakers. What do you guys think now -- would *that* toast the circuits?

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