Need a PC sound amp with headphone sockets for 5.1 'phones.


M

Mike Barnard

Hi all.

I've a nice pair of Zalman 5.1 surround sound earphones but I have to
plug them into the soundcard direct because they have three plugs,
front rear and bass. This means I have to use software control for
the volume which can be a pain when I'm trying to play Call of Duty
etc! :) And sometimes I want to use my speakers instead, for online
radio or music. Then I have to muck about with the wiring in order to
use my current amp, a Sirroco Crossfire.

So, anyone know of an amp for a PC that has three sockets for
headphones, front rear and bass?

Thanks.
 
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K

kony

Hi all.

I've a nice pair of Zalman 5.1 surround sound earphones but I have to
plug them into the soundcard direct because they have three plugs,
front rear and bass. This means I have to use software control for
the volume which can be a pain when I'm trying to play Call of Duty
etc! :) And sometimes I want to use my speakers instead, for online
radio or music. Then I have to muck about with the wiring in order to
use my current amp, a Sirroco Crossfire.

So, anyone know of an amp for a PC that has three sockets for
headphones, front rear and bass?

Thanks.

4.1 headphone amps don't exist AFAIK. At least not as a
retail product, or maybe there are some but so obscure that
the price is through the roof, ie- hundreds of dollars. You
might find larger studio grade audio gear that does it, like
a headphone mixer/amp/distribution panel, then you'd need
adapters for the input and output to the 3.5mm mini phone
jacks.

For a small and less-expensive purpose-specific device I
think you'd have to DIY, or commission someone to do it.
Because both devices (the headphone amp and Crossfire) are
going to pull down the signal, you'd need a manual switch or
automatic with something like a reed relay, or a gain stage
in the headphone amp then the output to the speaker amp is
on the headphone amp.

Front, rear, and bass- 5 channels. Given the skill and
patience you could build something like that for around
$30-50, a lot more for audiophile grade parts, or less for
the longer route- discreet components.

Maybe a better question is whether the Zalman headphones are
really worth the bother. Do you gain much with the bass
channel or would phones that have better bass response do as
well without the bass channel at all? There's still the
issue of the rear channels though, do they work well enough
that you can actually discrern something is behind you
rather than just hearing the sound as you would from
2-channel output to headphones? If so, I'll repeat what I
wrote above, you will probably need either large expensive
box or make it yourself, nothing low-end and computer grade
is available AFAIK.
 
M

Mike Barnard

4.1 headphone amps don't exist AFAIK. At least not as a

Not suprised somehow. Google returned nothing.
Front, rear, and bass- 5 channels. Given the skill and
patience you could build something like that for around

And some knowledge of course. One field in which I know nothing.
$30-50, a lot more for audiophile grade parts, or less for
the longer route- discreet components.
Maybe a better question is whether the Zalman headphones are
really worth the bother. Do you gain much with the bass
channel or would phones that have better bass response do as
well without the bass channel at all? There's still the
issue of the rear channels though, do they work well enough
that you can actually discrern something is behind you
rather than just hearing the sound as you would from
2-channel output to headphones?

Bass seems OK, but it's the surround sound that does it for online
games. Yes, I can hear which direction an 'enemy' is.
If so, I'll repeat what I
wrote above, you will probably need either large expensive
box or make it yourself, nothing low-end and computer grade
is available AFAIK.

Or keep swapping wires. Oh well, thanks for the reply.
 
G

Grumps

Mike Barnard said:
Hi all.

I've a nice pair of Zalman 5.1 surround sound earphones but I have to
plug them into the soundcard direct because they have three plugs,
front rear and bass. This means I have to use software control for
the volume which can be a pain when I'm trying to play Call of Duty
etc! :) And sometimes I want to use my speakers instead, for online
radio or music. Then I have to muck about with the wiring in order to
use my current amp, a Sirroco Crossfire.

So, anyone know of an amp for a PC that has three sockets for
headphones, front rear and bass?

Not sure if this would work for you, but Zalman do a headphone amp;
http://www.quietpc.com/uk/audio.php#zmrsa

It looks like you plug the rear connectors into your PC, then use one of the
headphone outputs for your surround 'phones, and the other headphone output
to go to your speakers (if you have any).
 
K

kony

Not sure if this would work for you, but Zalman do a headphone amp;
http://www.quietpc.com/uk/audio.php#zmrsa

It looks like you plug the rear connectors into your PC, then use one of the
headphone outputs for your surround 'phones, and the other headphone output
to go to your speakers (if you have any).

Great link, I didn't realize Zalman made one of those.
On their 'site it appears as though the connection would be
made from the computer to the amp, then the amp outputs to
the Zalman unit. That is, if the amp is also at least 5.1,
otherwise a few of the signals would go straight to the
Zalman unit and only those the amp supports would go through
it.

http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=111&pr_name=ZM-RSA
 
K

kony

Great link, I didn't realize Zalman made one of those.
On their 'site it appears as though the connection would be
made from the computer to the amp, then the amp outputs to
the Zalman unit. That is, if the amp is also at least 5.1,
otherwise a few of the signals would go straight to the
Zalman unit and only those the amp supports would go through
it.

http://www.zalman.co.kr/eng/product/view.asp?idx=111&pr_name=ZM-RSA

On second thought Grumps, you may be right as I didn't
realize the Sirocco is a whole minisystem set that doesn't
appear to have switchable outputs,
http://www.videologic.com/Products/VL-60386/ProductSpecs.asp?Product=VL-60386
in which case he would need run the computer to the Zalman's
inputs and output to the Sirocco from one of the headphone
outputs. If the sound card's output is high enough "maybe"
a splitter on the computer output would work but a few sound
card outputs I've tried didn't have sufficient levels to do
that, the SNR ended up way too low.
 
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M

Mike Barnard

Not sure if this would work for you, but Zalman do a headphone amp;
http://www.quietpc.com/uk/audio.php#zmrsa

Ooooooohh. Drool. New toys, mum!
It looks like you plug the rear connectors into your PC, then use one of the
headphone outputs for your surround 'phones, and the other headphone output
to go to your speakers (if you have any).

A google on ZM-RSA brings up loads of info. Looks just what I need.
Oh well, there goes the bank balance! :)

Thanks.
 

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