Listening to music is a pleasurable experience and whilst listening to music without headphones in public can be considered rude, using headphones can limit the listening audience to just one user. This can be a difficult situation when the user wants to share the song or part of a song with a friend or a group of friends.
Instead of using the audio device’s inbuilt speakers, a better, more conscientious way of sharing music with friends is to purchase a headphone splitter, which allows for more than one pair of headphones to be plugged into the device. This guide will take a short look at the varieties of headphone splitters available, including how to buy them on eBay.
What are Headphone Splitters?
Also called a dual headphone adapter, a headphone splitter is a practical device which allows two headphones to be connected through one audio jack. It plugs into the headphone jack of a music playing device such as an iPod, MP3 player, CD player, boombox, computer or other audio device and then splits the stereo audio output into two separate, mono outputs for multiple listening enjoyment. Although it may slightly decrease the quality of sound, a good quality headphone can maintain the quality, clarity and volume of the original sound. And it is a fast, efficient and cost-effective way of connecting two headsets or speakers to one audio jack.
A headphone splitter may also be used by professional DJs during their sets. DJs need to hear a different track in their headphones to the one the audience is hearing. Typically, this will be the next track scheduled to play so they can monitor the track to figure out when the best moment is to start it, to get it to the right speed, to adjust the track if needed and so on. As such, DJs rely on two outputs for the music. However, modern DJ controllers often have one output port for the headphones, so splitting the music can only be achieved one of two ways. DJs either buy an expensive, standalone DJ sound card (or DJ audio interface) that plugs in by USB to the computer giving two outputs, or they simply use a headphone splitter.
Features of Headphone Splitters
There are several types of headphone splitters available to buy on eBay, but their basic principles remain the same. The following is a round-up of the general features and distinctive differences between headphone splitters that may be available for purchase on eBay:
· Universal headset splitter: these are compatible with all types of headphones, including branded ones. In some, the compatibility may only lie in the headphones that will be attached, and not the audio device it will be plugged in to.
· 3.5 mm: most headphone jacks are 3.5mm thus most, if not all, headphone splitters accommodate 3.5 mm jacks.
· Y-splitter: these flexible headphone splitters get their name because the main plug which is attached to a short cable splits into two headphones jacks, forming the letter ‘Y’. May be available in universal models.
· Compatible with a range of music devices: headphone splitters can be used for all or some of these music devices: MP3 player, portable DVD player, iPod, Walkman, PDA, computer, hi-fi system.
· Multiple jacks: headphone splitters have one hard-wired connection for the main music device, and can have from 3 to as much as 6 jacks to plug in headphones. Better models do so without reducing sound quality.
· Dual volume control: each listener can control the volume of the headphones individually, or the headphone splitter can control the volume of each headphone individually.
· Mixing and fade-ins are usually controlled by the standard controls of the musical device.
· Novelty headphone splitters: there is no end to the designs of headphone splitters produced by manufacturers. Some of the more popular versions include:
o SplitterBot by DCI Universal is a key-chain device which looks like a mini-robot and allows up to two listeners. It works with any standard headphone and portable music playing device. Simply pop off the head to reveal the headphone jacks.
o Kikkerland Music Branch: available in multiple colours, this original aortic-branch design can allow up to 3 listeners. It is made from a durable, gloss-finish plastic and can be connected to a keychain.
o Belkin RockStar: enables the connection of up to 5 listeners, this headphone splitter has one hard-wired connection for the main audio player, and works well with all portable media devices. Two media devices can be plugged in at once to mix music. Belkin offers a 1-year limited warranty, so ensure the seller on eBay does the same.
o Monster iSplitter 200: small, powerful and convenient, has dual volume controls so each listener can adjust the volume to their convenience.
o iWires Headphone Splitter Cable: sold exclusively through the Apple store, it is a simple, straightforward, clean design for sharing music.
o HiJack: this sleek Y-shaped keychain is small but has a sturdy plastic design and is suitable for two listeners.
o Tunes for Two by FredFlare.com: cute, heart-shaped design in either red or pink, suits two intimate listeners.
Troubleshooting for Headphone Splitters
Although headphone splitters are pretty straightforward, the following are a few tips for troubleshooting any problems that may arise during use:
· Sound distorted or only half of the track audible (i.e. background noises instead of the lyrics/actors’ voices): this could be due to the headphone splitter coming out of the headphone jack prematurely because of even the slightest movement. Buying a travel-specific pair of splitters such as the Digital Lifestyle Outfitters Headphone Splitter can help with this issue. It allows for the microphone to pass through iPhone headsets and doubles as an adapter.
· One headphone is louder/gets more of the music than the other: different impedance headphones may take unequal ‘shares’ of the audio power available by default. Although the loss is minimal, using identical or very similar headphones can help. Another option to better regulate the volume is to use an external multi-channel output audio interface (DAC) or a multi-channel headphone amp/splitter which controls the volume evenly between headphones. However, it is worth noting that simply using headphone splitters which allow for the individual control of each headphone can help compensate for this problem, instead of solving it.
How to Buy Headphone Splitters on eBay
Buying from eBay’s large range of headphone splitters is easy with these simple steps:
· Using the search bar at the top of the screen type in ‘headphone splitter’ or the name of a headphone splitter brand to browse the relevant listings.
· From there, either browse the listings as they are, or narrow down the search results using the subcategories provided. Choose from Format, Product Type, Compatible Brand, Colour, Condition, Price and Item Location.
· It may also be possible to find headphone splitters in eBay’s recommended eBay deals page. Go to Electronics and then Audio for the most relevant results. Deals may vary according to available listings.
· The majority of sellers on eBay will almost always sell the headphone splitters as an accessory only, and will not include the portable music device or the headphones that will be used with it.
Headphone splitters are a simple but handy device for sharing music with others without having to turn on the speakers. The variety of available headphone splitters make it easy to find one suited to individual tastes, whilst eBay’s range of headphone splitters make it a one-stop shop for any and all social listening needs. With a headphone splitter in tow, listening to and sharing music and other audio with friends is a fun, interesting and unique experience.