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How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac (Wired & Wireless)

What might seem like a fairly straightforward task can easily become a source of frustration. With all the technological advancements, having multiple headphones connected to the one device should be easy, right?

Unfortunately, this often isn’t the case, and you can be left scratching your head wondering why something so simple can become so difficult. That’s why we decided to reduce the frustration and head scratching with this guide.

So, let’s find out exactly How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac…

How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac

What type of connection

First, we need to explain how headphones connect to a PC or Mac, and there are two different ways, either wired or wireless. A wired connection will use a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable, while wireless uses Bluetooth technology.

No matter if you’re using a PC or Mac, a desktop, or a laptop, chances are you can find a 3.5 mm audio jack. Since 2011 all Macbooks and iMacs have included Bluetooth; for Windows PC users, you will need to check as not all are equipped.

Wireless Bluetooth adapter

The good news is that a Bluetooth adapter is affordable and very easy to use. They are compact and simply plug into an available USB port on your PC or Mac. This will also allow for up to two sets of headphones to pair with the one adapter.

You can find out more in our in-depth review of the Best Bluetooth Adapters currently on the market.

Or check out one of these great products, like the TP-Link USB Bluetooth Adapter for PC, which has A2DP for allowing high-quality audio streaming. It is also plug and play for simple, easy to use operation without needing any software or downloads.

There’s also the Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Micro Adapter, which is compatible with both Windows and Linux operating systems. Being backwards compatible means that it will work with older and newer devices and have you paired in no time.

How to pair with the adapter

How to pair with the adapter

Once you have either a Bluetooth adapter or confirmed that it is built-in, all you need to do is follow these easy steps:

  • Click on the [Start] menu.
  • Open the [Control Panel].
  • Select either [Devices and Printers] or [Hardware and Sound].
  • Click the [Add a Device] button.
  • Make sure your headphones are in pairing mode.
  • Select your headphones from the list.
  • Repeat again for the second pair of headphones.

For Mac users, this process is a little different, so here are the steps:

  • Open [Applications/Utilities].
  • Launch [Audio MIDI Setup].
  • Click to [+] button in the lower left of the window and select [Create Multi-Output Device]
  • Right click or Ctrl-click [Multi-Output Device] in the list that was created and select [Use This Device for Sound Output].
  • Tick the headphones you wish to use in the [Audio Device List].
  • Select [Master Device] from the drop-down menu.
  • Tick [Drift Correction] for the second device.
  • Launch [System Preferences] and then open the [Sound] pane.
  • Click the [Output] tab and select [Aggregate Device].

Up to a maximum of two sets of headphones can connect to a single adapter. But, as long as you have more USB ports available, then you can always add another adapter. This will provide another two sets of headphones per adapter when repeating the above steps.

Wired headphone connections

For those wishing to know How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac using a wired connection, you will most likely discover that there is only a single audio jack. So how do you connect two sets of headphones to only one jack? The solution is a little more simple than you might think.

You will need to purchase another gadget; however, it is inexpensive and incredibly simple to use. You’ll need what’s known as a 3.5 mm audio splitter, and it does exactly that. Splits the single audio signal into two.

3.5 mm Audio Splitters

The audio splitter has a male end that plugs directly into your computer’s audio port. It then splits into two or more female ports that your headphones can plug into. It really can’t get any easier.

Here are some products that will make adding multiple sets of headphones to your computer quick and simple. We recommend these products as they have been built using quality materials and offer impressive sound quality.

JSAUX manufactures their JSAUX Headphone Splitter featuring a braided cable preventing tangles and offering superior durability. The connectors are gold-plated, and the internal wires are double shielded for a clean signal free of interference.

From the LP Store, you can try a very similar device, simply called the Headphone Splitter, also with a braided cable and dual shielding. Only this time, there is an ABS plastic hub with three female ports, allowing up to three sets of headphones to connect at the same time.

If three isn’t enough, then take a look at the Belkin RockStar 5-Jack Multi Headphone Audio Splitter with five female ports, allowing you to keep the entire family entertained at the same time with this strong and sturdy hub device.

My computer has two audio ports

My computer has two audio ports

Particularly with older computers, there might be two 3.5 mm audio ports. Often one will have a green ring and the other pink. Green is an output for use with headphones, while the pink one is an input for adding a microphone.

On some, but not all computers, it is possible to manipulate the audio ports, making the microphone an output instead of input. This then creates an additional port for plugging in an extra set of headphones.

Here are the steps for Windows:

  • Plug in your headphones to both ports.
  • Click [Start].
  • Open the [Control Panel].
  • Select the [Sounds] option.
  • Click on the [Recording] tab.
  • Select [Set up Microphone], and Windows will automatically detect the headphones.
  • Click on [Apply] to save the settings.

For Mac users, follow these steps:

  • Click on the [Volume] icon, or simply search for [Sound] in the finder.
  • Open [Sound Preferences].
  • When the popup opens, select the [Input] tab.
  • Select your device and then set it as [Default].

Listening to two different sources at the same time

What if you would like to play a game on your computer while your partner listens to some music? This is also possible but will require some software to achieve these results. There are both paid and free versions of software available to do this.

Our pick for paid software is called CheVolume. It is available for both Windows and Mac and has an incredibly simple layout. Once the program is launched, any audio sources are organized so they can be directed to various connected audio devices.

For Windows users, if you’d like some free software, we recommend Eartrumpet. It also has a basic and simple layout, which will allow you to direct sound outputs and inputs per App. Extend your screen so one person can game while the other watches a movie.

macOS users don’t need to miss out, as there is free software available for you too. Our choice is called Sunflower. There are many options available, so stick to the basics of directing audio to where you want, and you should be fine.

Combining wired and wireless together

The final option can use a combination of all the methods we have just described. You can, of course, connect one set of headphones to Bluetooth and the other via the audio jack. Having one of the software packages above installed will make this a much easier process.

You can even combine all these techniques to host many headphones together. Combine multiple Bluetooth adapters, along with a 3.5 mm audio splitter, and control it all using audio routing software.

Looking for a great new set of Headphones?

Then check out our in-depth reviews of the Best USB-C Headphones, the Best Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, the Most Comfortable Headphones, the Best Headphones under 100 Dollars, the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, the Best Headphones for Cycling, or the Best Headphones for Music you can buy in 2021.

Or take a look at our in-depth review of the Best Bone Conduction Headphones if you want to stay fully aware of everything that is happening around you while listening to your favorite tunes.

How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC or Mac – Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many possibilities when it comes to using two or more headphones on PC or Mac. Technology is great, and there truly is an endless range of options available with the right know-how.

No matter if you want to share an experience with a friend or do completely different things at the same time, it’s all possible. Also, make sure to check out some of our other handy guides and products so you can start combining your knowledge and skills, such as How to Clean Headphones.

Hopefully, this guide has proved useful to you. And enjoy all the expanded uses you can now do with your trusty headphones.

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About Joseph L. Hollen

Joseph is a session musician, writer, and filmmaker from south Florida. He has recorded a number of albums and made numerous short films, as well as contributing music to shorts and commercials. 

He doesn't get as much time to practice and play as he used to, but still manages (just about!) to fulfill all his session requests. According to Joseph, it just gets harder as you get older; you rely on what you learned decades ago and can play without thinking. Thankfully that's what is what most producers still want from him.

He is a devout gear hear and has been collecting musical instruments all his life. As his wife, Jill, keeps on saying, "You're very good at buying nice instruments, but terrible at selling them!".

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