I'm planning to broadcast audio to abut 10 regular headphones spread across a small room. We'll be using regular PC headphones and I can splice/rewire em in parallel line that connects back to a laptop audio jack.

The laptop will be a very low power, netbook, or chromebook perhaps.

I reckon the laptop's audio wont be powerful enough to drive sound to all those headphones (I could be wrong).

So what would i need to achieve this? is there a small/cheapo amp for laptops? or any amp would do?

Looking forward to some advises :)


2 Answers 2


There are cheap USB audio dongles, you could try to hook up as many as you need and configure the audio output of your operating system accordingly. Linux with PulseAudio (recommended), JACK or probably plain ALSA (I doubt that though) should be able to do such kind of broadcast, but the USB bus will be a limitation at some point. Some other problems of USB audio may also occur.

You could look for audio recording interfaces that usually come with more headphone outputs, usually they also have monitoring outputs for low latency. My Behringer FCA610 as 2 of these outputs. You could feed 2 headphones through the monitoring ports and another 3 stereo devices through the connectors on the back without any complicated wiring, but 2 headphones on every output should be possible, not recommended though. There is an FCA1616 and many other affordable recording interfaces with more ports that would fit this need.

Of course there are also HiFi DAC/Amps that deliver more power to demanding headphones. I also have 2 of these (mobile and desktop). Mixing a great variety of different loads to feed them with high(er) power without any calculation, just hoping every load will work ideally has a high risk of getting mixed results or damaging some component.

Since you didn't mention any specific usecase, you could also utilize Bluetooth to connect at least one more device.


10 "normal" headphones in parallel would look like a short circuit to an amp or laptop output, so no, I do not expect that to work.

The better solution would be every headphone gets an amp. And the laptop can feed the input for those amps in parallel. This can work because the amps have a much higher impedance than those "normal" headphones, it wont look like a short circuit to the laptop.

The only way to do one amp powering 10 headphones in parallel is if all your headphones have the same impedance, and all of them are 40+ ohms of impedance. And you will need a speaker amp for this, not just a normal headphone amp.

It might be cheaper to just use a few of these Headphone amplifiers designed to feed multiple headphones like this http://amzn.to/2uB2vPW and connect 3 of those amps in parallel to your laptop.

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