How to Connect Multiple Headphones/Speakers to Your Laptop when Recording


When recording a track, it is always better to record with another person. This person can help you trigger the record controls, so you do not have to worry about anything else. You can focus on what you are recording and have better execution. When recording vocals, the room has to be silent as the mic may pick up any unnecessary audio. Good thing there is a way to connect multiple headphones so you and another person can hear the monitor without using a speaker that may interfere with the track.

There are several ways to connect multiple headphones or have various outputs. And here is how: The more advanced way to combine multiple outputs is to buy extra equipment such as a HEADPHONE AMP or MONITOR AMP. Both primarily work the same in terms of extending the output without compromising the quality of the sound. With these two options, the outputs will surely be accurate, depending on which monitors or headphones you use. There are some inexpensive ways to connect multiple outputs, but the quality of the sound won’t be at its best. However, for a home music studio, these other options can be adequate.

WHY YOU NEED MULTIPLE OUTPUTS

There are many reasons for needing multiple outputs when recording audio. When you are recording vocals for a client, you will need a way to listen on the other end without loudspeakers interfering with the input signal. Some professional studios will have an isolated vocal booth. Still, since we are talking about home recording, we can’t go to the trouble of modifying our bedroom.

You would not need multiple outputs when you are recording guitar tracks straight to the interface. The sound would not interfere as it is directly recording into your laptop or computer. Although you could use multiple headphone outputs for your computer with recording any instrument, it is ideal for recording instruments or vocals utilizing a microphone.

Another reason for having multiple outputs is because some serious music producers would like to listen and mix their tracks using different monitors. As you know, you will need excellent monitors to mix a track accurately. Your track is supposed to sound good on any speakers by whoever will be listening to it in the future. That is why intermediate record producers like to have multiple outputs. Although you can always switch up the outputs when you use different speakers, it is easier to have multiple outputs to save you the trouble.

NOTE: If you only need two outputs, the audio interface may work as it will already have a headphone jack output. The other output will come from your computer’s headphone jack.

HEADPHONE AMP

A headphone amp is essential if you will be recording some clients. It increases the outputs of your rig and lets you connect more headphones so that several people can monitor tracks at the same time. Not only will a headphone amp give you multiple outputs, but it can also give your volume a substantial boost, hence the word “amplifier.” A headphone amp will also have a volume knob for each output so you can control the volume levels individually without adjusting the input and output from the laptop or device. Here are some examples of suitable headphone amps for your home recording studio:

BEHRINGER MICROAMP HA400 ULTRA

(Price: $24)

The Behringer 4-channel stereo headphone amp is a tiny but useful device. It can fit anywhere in your bedroom music studio and would not take up too much space. You can use this device to connect up to four headphones. However, some reviews say that there is a little noise when you put the volume on max. However, for a small studio setup, this device should be adequate. Well, it is what you would expect for the meager price of $24.

PRESONUS HP4 4-CHANNEL COMPACT HEADPHONE AMPLIFIER

(Price: $130)

If you are looking for a more reliable headphone and monitor amp, the PreSonus HP4 is the way to go. They come in different variants, the 4-channel, and the 6-channel. The 4-channel headphone amp is suitable enough for a home music studio, but The 6-channel option will have a lot more knobs and EQ. Unlike the Behringer HA400, this headphone amp will surely have minimal to no noise at all. It will cost a lot more, but if the quality is what you are after, the PreSonus is the way to go. 

You can get the 6-channel variant for $300 that will feature six output channels and two line-level stereo inputs for all of you tech-savvy producers out there. Both inputs are routed for each headphone output.

ART HEADAMP4 8-CHANNEL HEADPHONE AMP

(Price: $80)

This 4-channel stereo headphone amp has eight outputs with a mixture of ¼ and 1/8 inch inputs and outputs. It also features low noise and low distortion even if you crank up the volume to max. (which you will probably not need to do unless you are feeling quite rebellious) This compact product is ideal for any home or professional music studio.

MONITOR AMP

Your tracks will sound different depending on the monitor. A monitor amp lets you connect more speakers for output. Dedicated music producers have this in this item in their studio to compare how their tracks sound like on different sets of monitors and speakers. Monitor amps and headphone amps are almost the same. You can use headphone amps for studio monitors, and vice versa.

AUDIO SPLITTER

One of the inexpensive ways to get multiple outputs is by using an audio splitter. An audio splitter will split the signal int two or up to four outputs. However, in recording, this example might not be effective if you are looking for quality. However, for listening to music on one device, an audio splitter would be enough. Unlike, headphone and monitor amps. An audio splitter will not have independent volume and EQ knobs. I do not recommend this for trying to mix in high quality. Still, it could be an option for just monitoring the recording of instruments and vocals.

HEADPHONE OUTPUT

Some headphones will have an output jack so you can connect a different set of headphones and hear the same output from a laptop or computer. Again, like the audio splitter, this method will only work effectively for monitoring and not for mixing and mastering. You would not have an individual volume knob for each, not unless your headphones will have its own knob.

AUDIO INTERFACE

If you only need two outputs for you and another person. An audio interface will work better than an audio splitter or headphone output. Most audio interfaces will have their own headphone input. Since audio interfaces connect to the computer via USB, you would have an extra output from the computer where you would usually connect your monitors. Make sure you go to your DAW’s preferences and enable both outputs from your computer and the audio interface. You can also allow a Bluetooth output for a third channel if your laptop is equipped with Bluetooth.

OTHER OPTIONS

Aside from the options mentioned, there are more ways you can have multiple headphones and monitor outputs for recording. Some mixers will have two or more outputs. The Behringer Xenyx Q502USB has four inputs, one headphone output, one two-track output, and a stereo output. That is a total of 3 outputs ideal for monitoring recording simultaneously. If you add the option of the output from your laptop, you get a total of 4 outputs. That is pretty much all you need, especially if you are just starting to learn home recording.

RELATED QUESTIONS

  • How can you record multiple inputs at once?

To record multiple tracks at once, you can either buy an audio interface with two or more inputs. You can also use a mixer with a USB output so you can record all the inputs straight to your computer. However, if you only need one input to record one instrument at a time, you can opt for a compact audio interface. They usually have one instrument input, and one microphone input with a preamp.

  • Are headphones better than studio monitors when mixing a track?

In my opinion, both are great for mixing a track. But if you have a set of excellent headphones, you can try to listen and mix the tracks with headphones, and remix it using monitors. The more types of speakers you can get the track to sound good on, the better the track will sound on any speaker. If you are just starting to build a home music studio, you can opt for studio monitors first. They have a more accurate sounding EQ that ranges from low to high.

  • What is a speaker simulator?

A speaker is a piece of computer software you can use to enhance your track and monitor it using a simulation of different speakers. One example is NOISEASH INC. For a price of $30, you have the option to mix and monitor your track on different types of speakers, making t radio-ready. Dropping hits start with the quality of the recording, so producers should not overlook this aspect when recording.

CONCLUSION

If you are a serious beginner who plans on taking your production skills to the next level, it is always better to invest in the gear you need. For us gearheads, no gear will ever be a waste once you know how to utilize it to its maximum capacity. Every piece of equipment you invest in will say so much about how serious and dedicated you are to your craft. Although some equipment maybe a little too much if you cannot utilize it to improve your work. With that being said, in this ever-changing world of music production, it is always nice to try out new things. I hope you learned something after reading this article. Have fun recording!

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