Headphone switcher?

I was wondering if anybody knew the name of what I’m looking for. I can’t seem to find it, and it just kind of seems like it should exist. I know that there are products that you can use to switch between monitors, but I’m looking for something similar to use with headphones.

I have 3 sets of headphones and 1 pair of computer speakers that I want to switch between at various times. What I’ve been doing is just yanking one out of the headphone output on my audio interface, and putting another one in. I have these cables just sitting on my desk ready to be swapped in and out. This is somewhat tedious and I’m afraid it’s going to cause undue wear and tear on the hardware involved.

So what I’d like to buy is some kind of passive box that takes an input from the headphone jack of my audio interface, (or I guess it would be fine if it wanted the stereo TRS/XLR output from the interface; it would just need more cables,) and has at least 4 headphone outputs. Either 1/4" or 1/8" is fine. I also need a switch such that I can have only output playing at a time.

Does anyone know if something like this exists? And what it’s called? I know that there are headphone splitters out there, but I can’t find any that would allow me to keep everything plugged in and use a switch to choose which output I want. I’ve also found some that look like they are also headphone amps, but I’m wary of coloring the sound. I would much prefer something passive that doesn’t need to be plugged in.

Anyway, I know this is pretty specific and maybe it doesn’t exist, but Google isn’t really helping me and I thought maybe someone would know. Thanks!

I have one of these:

It is a very configurable box that has 4 headphone outputs.


I have this: https://www.amazon.com/Hosa-SLW-333-Audio-Switcher-TRS/dp/B000068OGY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1543038151&sr=8-2&keywords=hosa+monitor+switcher

The price is a little maddening, considering it’s just a bloody switch.

Mackie has this, but it only switches between 2 sources: https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/BigKnobPass--mackie-big-knob-passive-2x2-studio-monitor-controller?mrkgcl=28&mrkgadid=3303549282&rkg_id=0&product_id=BigKnobPass&campaigntype=shopping&campaign=aaShopping%20-%20SKU%20-%20Studio%20%26%20Recording&adgroup=Studio%20Monitors%20-%20Mackie%20-%20bigknobpass&placement=google&adpos=1o2&creative=285689014464&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=Cj0KCQiA597fBRCzARIsAHWby0HhkNg5S0je2hirXtIhmqEGmuKv6huaYVBGImDZ5bMvIcLPpDqu1HkaAr2SEALw_wcB

There are surprisingly few options, even though it should be a simple device. I used to use a small mixer to do this and it worked great, but now it sits too far from my seat and I can’t reach it easily. I actually just use my DAW and a midi controller to switch from headphones to monitors, because I hate when I’m listening on headphones only to find out there’s sound coming from the speakers too. I can switch all other apps that aren’t asio driven through the windows mixer with a single click, so it’s not too bad.

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This Headphone switcher is available on EBAY. 3.5mm I/O it looks like it does what you want.
Not sure of the quality. Looks like cheap Chinese crap, but all you’re doing is switching low level audio signals.


I saw that one on Amazon actually. Reading through some reviews I learned that the switch is for the inputs (not the outputs) so I don’t believe it would work for me.

I emailed someone at Sweetwater with my question to see what they might say. There are some inexpensive 4-way headphone amps that I found, but I’d really rather it just be a passive switch.

If it’s completely passive, can you just run it backwards?

I don’t know–is that how that works? I would think that the signal would only go one way… but I don’t know how these things work.

It depends on how it’s designed. The simplest design is just a switch that does nothing more than connect the input/output wires together. If that’s the case, then you can run it either direction. If it has active circuitry with amplifiers and such, then it probably won’t work.

According to the description on ebay, they claim you can run it backwards, but the english is pretty choppy, so the explanation isn’t that good.

Welp, I just heard back from Sweetwater and their best suggestion was the Hosa 3-way switch. I don’t know; that one is so expensive for what it is and Hosa isn’t even a high quality brand in the first place.

I think I’ll either try the cheapo 4-way switch that may or may not work (and may or may not break. Some of the Amazon reviews said it was kind of prone to static.) Or I’ll try and build one myself. People build DIY MIDI controllers… I bet I can find a template for some kind of switch. At least then I’ll know it’s well made and I can fix it if it breaks. Might even be kind of fun.


I’m very interested to hear if that thing works or not. It would just be a handy little tool to have in all sorts of situations.

I had also seen the Hosa unit, but thought the price was too high and didn’t mention it.
Is this what you were looking at ? Not sure it would work because the connectors are mono.

A 2 pole 4 position non-shorting rotary switch, 5 TRS jacks and a project box would probably cost you less than $20 and a couple of hours to solder up.

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They’re all TRS, so you could use them as stereo unbalanced connectors instead.

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I saw some videos of people making similar things in project boxes. I’ve never made anything like this before. It looks dangerous to drill into the metal like that. I don’t even have a drill, but my dad might be able to help me out with that part. Maybe I’ll use wood for the enclosure instead.

Stumbled across this site: a lot of neat ideas! https://itp.nyu.edu/fab/intro_fab/week-4-enclosures/

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There are a lot of plastic project boxes available and I prefer them over metal for most projects.
I do use metal when I want RF shielding.

Asking your your father for help is a good idea on your first project and if you like it, maybe it would be worthwhile to invest in a basic set of tools.

Thanks for this thread @Cristina . You’re inspiring me to try and make a simple monitor switching box. The way I am set up now is ridiculously complicated, and the Monitor switches out there are way too expensive and overly complicated for what I need to do.

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I was thinking about this thread this morning and remembered a site I used frequently a few years ago when I was restoring an old sailboat. I used this site for bronze fasteners, 316 stainless steel bars, and all sorts of other odd things. You can get just about anything here: McMaster-Carr.

I was wondering what sort of audio products they might have…

Soldering supplies? :thinking:

Acoustic room treatment?


Cool site - There went my afternoon.