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Silent Gaming Woes/Headphones--->CRT Query


frankiesomethin
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Problem: I want to hook headphones up to my CRT tv.

I wanted to make this thread because of LostLevel83's thread, "Games You Can Play Quietly" (here). I too play a lot of games in silence so as to not disturb those around me but I miss the sounds! I could use a flatscreen with an AUX port but my systems look terrible on anything but a CRT so I hope there's some CRT folks or anyone out there who can help me out with this. 

I have a tiny Sharp CRT with what I'm assuming is a mono audio input (only white/yellow, so only one audio input means no stereo, right?) and an RF input in. I've done some research on how to hook up normal 3.5 mm headphones to a CRT with the inputs I've described but I'm always left wondering if everything will work after I've made the investment.

The set-up I've seen usually includes:

-1 RCA/Composite/AV (whatever you wanna call it) Switcher/Selector Box

-1 3.5mm female to 2RCA Y-splitter

-1 3.5mm headphone amplifier or some sort of device to regulate volume

(I'll attach a photo I found of someone who suggested this method)

Here's where I have doubts about this set-up:

If I plug a few systems and the Y-splitter into the RCA splitter box then plug that into the tv, will I also be able to listen to audio simultaneously? Those switcher boxes have buttons on them that require you to select one port at a time so if I decide I want to play N64 via port 1 and I push the button to select port 1, will all other ports be rendered useless unless selected? I'm assuming that's how it would work but I've seen this set-up suggested from several different sources on Youtube and through random google searches so I'm not sure how people are getting around it unless they're hooking up all their systems via RF input and using the RCA input solely for headphones, but that makes the splitter box a waste of money. Also, is an amplifier even necessary? This whole set-up can be had for around $50 so it's not a crazy expense but the headphone amplifiers I've seen are about $35 of that total, so if it's not necessary I'd rather not get it.

So I guess my question is:

Is there a good, cost-effective way to keep using my crummy CRT to play games and plug headphones into it? 

 

headphones to crt.jpg

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I'm assuming you are trying to do this as simply and cheaply as possible. Also, you are correct that your tv only accepts a mono signal. So, here's what you need to do.

1. If you have multiple systems going to a switching unit that all output to the same tv, make sure they are all hooked up correctly to that as you normally would. IE: Console's RCA outs to Switcher's RCA Ins. If no switcher, then you are going to move on to step 2 and treat the console output as you would the switcher output.

2. From the output of the switcher, send the video to the TV, and the audio into 2 RCA-F to RCA-F Y Cables. One for left (White) and one for right (Red). Technically you only need to split one (White/Left) since your TV only takes a mono input, but having 1 per channel will allow you to have stereo to the TV in the event you get a different TV. The plugs from the switcher output goes into the ends of the Y cables that only have 1 plug.

3. Take a male to male (standard type) RCA cable and connect it to the dual outputs of left channel's Y cable. Plug one into the TV and plug the other into the left input of your headphone amp.

4. Take a male to male (standard type) RCA cable and connect it to the dual outputs of right channel's Y cable. Plug one into the right input of your headphone amp. If you had a stereo input tv, the remaining output would go to its right channel. You don't so just use 1 of the right channels Y outputs and don't plug anything into the other.

5. Headphones to headphone amp.

 

Now you have simultaneous TV and headphone output. Since it's on the output of the splitter, it works for all of your consoles at once. Want to play just in headphones? Turn the volume off on the TV and you are good to go. Other way around? Unplug the headphones or mute/turn off the headphone amp if it has that option. The only issue you run into is if for some reason you want to do both at the same time, then you have to make a choice in the game options to output mono so that the tv gets a summed signal of both channels, but gives you mono in the headphones, or leave it stereo, but the TV only gets the left channel.

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If you're looking to use an old CRT and get all your audio off headphones maybe you're over complicating it.

 

You run all your devices to a switcher box, then on the one output jack you get a Y cable (rca style) to phones jack on the other end, then a Female/Female bypass, and jack the phones into the other hole.  Problem solved, clean as  you can hope to get audio just for yourself.  I've done quite a lot of this off and on over the years between consoles, handhelds, or the PC.

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13 hours ago, MachineCode said:

1. If you have multiple systems going to a switching unit that all output to the same tv, make sure they are all hooked up correctly to that as you normally would. IE: Console's RCA outs to Switcher's RCA Ins. If no switcher, then you are going to move on to step 2 and treat the console output as you would the switcher output.

2. From the output of the switcher, send the video to the TV, and the audio into 2 RCA-F to RCA-F Y Cables. One for left (White) and one for right (Red). Technically you only need to split one (White/Left) since your TV only takes a mono input, but having 1 per channel will allow you to have stereo to the TV in the event you get a different TV. The plugs from the switcher output goes into the ends of the Y cables that only have 1 plug.

3. Take a male to male (standard type) RCA cable and connect it to the dual outputs of left channel's Y cable. Plug one into the TV and plug the other into the left input of your headphone amp.

4. Take a male to male (standard type) RCA cable and connect it to the dual outputs of right channel's Y cable. Plug one into the right input of your headphone amp. If you had a stereo input tv, the remaining output would go to its right channel. You don't so just use 1 of the right channels Y outputs and don't plug anything into the other.

5. Headphones to headphone amp.

Now you have simultaneous TV and headphone output. Since it's on the output of the splitter, it works for all of your consoles at once. Want to play just in headphones? Turn the volume off on the TV and you are good to go. Other way around? Unplug the headphones or mute/turn off the headphone amp if it has that option. The only issue you run into is if for some reason you want to do both at the same time, then you have to make a choice in the game options to output mono so that the tv gets a summed signal of both channels, but gives you mono in the headphones, or leave it stereo, but the TV only gets the left channel.

First off, thanks for this thorough explanation! I'm pretty clueless when it comes to this stuff so I appreciate you taking time to lay it out for me. While I follow the logic of what you've described I get lost with how many cables are required. Any chance you could list them?

12 hours ago, Tanooki said:

You run all your devices to a switcher box, then on the one output jack you get a Y cable (rca style) to phones jack on the other end, then a Female/Female bypass, and jack the phones into the other hole.  Problem solved, clean as  you can hope to get audio just for yourself.  I've done quite a lot of this off and on over the years between consoles, handhelds, or the PC.

Thanks for your input (*buh dum tsss*)! I've got some questions though. I get what you mean by plugging all systems into the switcher inputs then receiving the audio from the switcher output as it plugs into the tv but I'm confused. Wouldn't I need standard RCA cables that also have a female aux on one end to sort of piggyback on the output as it goes into the tv? Or are you suggesting receiving audio from an unused cable, red in my case, since I only have a mono audio tv with a white audio input? Do you have a photo of what you've used? Or maybe links to the materials needed? 

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I think we're talking about two different things.

 

I'm talking bypass the TV entirely for audio, only plug the YELLOW into the TV.  The red+white are on one end, a standard headphones male plug (unless you can find a female one) on the other.  From there you attach the headphones to that output taking the TV out of the equation entirely.  I used to run some systems through a spare 2.1 +sub PC computer speaker setup doing this method, a record player too when I had it.

 

I'm talking this part:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=666&gclid=CjwKCAjw7e_0BRB7EiwAlH-goCDXUL3KjxggoScgA8VsGSwBo4QdSXXtJhCmH45gj00hnzNESTPylxoCcyUQAvD_BwE

 

That's what you use, then get a female-female adapter which is this part:

https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=7230&gclid=CjwKCAjw7e_0BRB7EiwAlH-goPtko2PNvKgWGoNrPihlLVA7nFcHTNFtua2Ugn5DjUbHPSvTFMXqRxoCbtkQAvD_BwE

 

So you run your gaming etc devices into the switcher box.  Out the switcher OUTPUT you plug that first one into that, at the end the 3.5mm jack you use the 2nd link adapter, and then plug your headset into that and you're set.

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