How do I share a set of speakers between two computers?

kvikram

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I've been using a Windows PC for a very long time, and I recently got a Mac Mini from my brother who no longer had any use for it. I decided to try the Mac and soon fell in love with the interface, and starting using the Mac alone for basic daily operations like web browsing, writing, document editing, music, watching movies, etc. I still use my PC religiously for gaming, though.

Anyway, I digress. I need a way to quickly switch between these computers whenever I want. I've decided to buy a KVM switch to share the keyboard and mouse, but I still need a way to share the speakers.

I could go for a software solution which shares the speakers over WiFi, but I really don't want one computer to have to be switched on while using the other. I thought of using a 3.5mm splitter (like this one) but I heard that something like this doesn't work very well, and can damage the speakers.

So, I need to find a reliable hardware solution. Is it possible that I could use a little DIY to build my own speaker switch or something? What do you guys suggest?

Thanks! Sorry for the slightly long post. :p
 

onlyravi

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If both the systems are close by your cheapest and best option is the splitter cable. If you buy a branded cable from Belkin/ MX/ monoprice there wont be any problem. Cheap cables wont damage the speakers but will introduce additional noise and hissing sounds and also reduce the volume output. So stay away from cheap cables.
Else built your own. Use a sealed wire (these are generally used for microphones) and make your own. I am using one which I made some 12-14 years back :) Still runs well.
That time I had used a cable which is used to connect the "head" of cassette players.
 

kvikram

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@onlyravi Hmm. Can you link me to such-and-such a cable by Belkin or a company of the like? I can't seem to find a branded cable anywhere.
 

kvikram

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@spr Yeah I already searched for KVM with audio, but I can't find any available in Indian stores.

BTW, if I purchased a KVM switch like this, what kind of cables would I need to connect the switch to two computers? Will I need USB male-to-male cables? There are two different kinds of ports on the switch, but I'm not sure what they're called.
 

kvikram

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Yeah I know. This is just a general question, actually un-related to the thread. I need to know what cable I will need to connect the switch to the computers? After some research, it looks like a USB-B cable, used on printers.
 

spr

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Avoid cheap kvms they will screw up your audio, video, and input especially for gaming. good kvms are expensive.

here is one option for the switch:

search for 3.5 mm audio switch DIY in net
 
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Criminal

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I need to know what cable I will...
they use regular cables, i.e., nothing's specially made just for KVMs. i have two KVMs but they have all the necessary cables already attached. my Belkin one has a separate small switch with its own cable, to switch between systems. i used to hide this switch under my desk so that my boss wouldn't know that i was using two systems. :rolleyes:
 
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kvikram

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Okay guys. I just ordered the standard KVM switch available on eBay. I will be using this only for switching the keyboard and mouse. For the video, the two computers are already connected to my monitor via two different cables to two different ports on the monitor. So I just need to quickly access the menu on the monitor to switch inputs.

As for the audio, I just found a handy little audio-in port on my right speaker (Logitech Z623). Now all I need to do is to get a male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable, and connect one computer to this speaker via this audio-in port. I already tested this using an existing 3.5mm cable (el cheapo), and there is a little bit of noise - a constant buzzing sound. I guess I will have to buy a higher quality cable for this. (any suggestions?)

@gauravH Where did you get a Belkin KVM switch?! I searched all over the internet but couldn't find any branded ones I could order in India.
 
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