If you’re like me, you have several devices on your desk that emit audio (or are at least capable of it) — on my desk alone, I’ve got two PCs, a laptop, a Chumby, an iPad, an iPhone, a Mac, and an iPod.
It seems sensible to me that rather than clutter my desk with a cheap pair of speakers for each of these devices, to get one good pair of speakers and connect everything to it. I have a couple of audio mixers with cables that cost around $10 each in order to properly connect it; at the time, it’s the best thing I could come up with short of building a dedicated device.
N.B.: y-cables may work okay for a couple of devices, but the signal is attenuated and multiplied, and plugging and unplugging devices from a gob of y-cables is just asking for trouble.
Our friends at Stoweblank produce a high-quality audio mixer that takes the 1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo inputs that all these devices put out, saving a ton on cabling. As a bonus, it’s USB-powered.
I can hear alerts from my laptop while clicking away on my desktop and playing music on the Chumby, at the same time, plug in and unplug the iPad without causing problems.
In the interests of full disclosure, purchasing anything from a link in this post helps support this site as well.