Plug one earbud of the first set of earphones into one ear and an earbud of the second set of earphones into the other. This was what we were doing in order to listen to the audio from our tablets and the audio off our laptops. How great would it be if we could find a splitter that would allow us to listen to both devices through one set of earphones/headphones instead of two. In our searches, we found this six-way audio splitter on Aliexpress. It’s a great product for listening to not just two, but five devices. It can be used for group listening as well.
The audio splitter with six 3.5 mm female audio sockets allows any combination of headphones as well as devices plugged into it. So, you could have five headphones plugged into it and (say) your music player plugged into it and share the listening experience with friends; or you could have three devices plugged in—say an music player, a laptop and a tablet—plus a headphone plugged in (leaving two sockets free) so you can listen to the audio from the devices with one set of headphones. It’s a very handy, convenient gadget. There’s no more need for multiple headphones or plugging and unplugging from devices. It’s exactly what we were looking for.
There are some issues with this splitter. The splitter is promoted as stereo sockets, but we find that sometimes we get stereo and sometimes we get mono sound despite using stereo audio cables. It takes plugging and unplugging several times of the audio cables to get stereo sound. When that fails, we’ll switch the devices on and off to get it.
The next issues aren’t the fault of the gadget, but we thought we’ll mention them as a heads up anyway. Sound levels decreases as additional devices are plugged in, requiring volume to be turned up, which we think is to be expected. Also, depending on the quality of headphones/earphones you use, volume can vary.
We had some average-priced head phones (between NZ$20 – $40, a Sony headphone and a Sanyo headphone) plugged in alongside a little bit higher in price ones (around NZ$70, a Sennheisser in-ear and a Skullcandy headphone). The volume of the average priced ones was quite poor, while the higher-priced ones was sufficient. It would seem to get good volume when multiple headphones and or devices are plugged in, your best bet is to spend a little more on headphones/earphones in order to use this splitter.
The device’s audio output quality plays a part in volume output as well.
To connect the devices to the splitter, you will need to buy 3.5 mm male-male audio cable for each device you want connected. With our splitter, a cable was included, but it’s very short and not so useful. The cables available here are quite costly, so with our splitter, we also got four cheap 1-metre cables which were US$0.98 each. These cheap cables seemed to do the job. We didn’t notice the quality difference between the cables and the one we had of similar length which cost NZ$10/US$7 each.
Another heads up, when buying cables, make sure they are stereo cables if you are looking for stereo output. So, either make sure the description says stereo and look at the photos provided by the seller. On the jacks, they should have two stripes around the jacks as opposed to one.
Overall, the splitter with the cables were great buys, even with the minor inconveniences of having to plug and unplug to get stereo sound at times. All up, we spent US$6.70 (that’s about NZ$11) for two splitters and four cables. Had we been able to find the only brand of splitter available here (because we did try buying locally first), we would have had to spend NZ$25 – $30 (US$15 – US$18) for one splitter and minimum NZ$10 (US$6) each per cable. It’s quite a price difference! Perhaps for the much higher price tag, we might get more reliable stereo audio or better volume, but we’re happy to forego reliablity in favour of a much, much, much lower price tag. The splitters and cables off Aliexpress does its job, so we’re happy.