How to Use Two or More Headphones On PC & Mac

Do you know that you can use two or more wired or Bluetooth headphones on a PC? While some computers with powerful sound cards may have two or more jacks, by default, most computers come armed with one mini-stereo output, or an audio jack. This makes it hard to use two or more headphones but not impossible. There are various workarounds you can employ which can enable you to listen to audio in computers with two or more headphones even if your computer has one audio jack.

How to set up and use two or more wired or Bluetooth headphones to your computer

Whether you want to watch to the same computer with a friend or family member using two headphones or simply want to share music, this guide covers various ways you can use to achieve that. As technology is evolving to make sleek gadgets with minimalism at the forefront (often at the compromise of utility), finding practical solutions are becoming that much more difficult.

In this guide we will cover three methods that can be used as a workaround to enable you to use two or more headphones on your computer: You can achieve that by:

1. Tweaking the audio system settings on your computer.
2. Using third-party audio mixer software.
3. Using an audio jack splitter.

The needs you have will determine the method you will employ to achieve those needs.

Wired Headphones

Method 1: Tweaking the audio system settings on your computer

To use two wired headphones on your PC is easy if your PC has two or more audio ports.
This method might fail to work on some computers depending on the hardware or Operating System installed.

Prerequisites: PC with two or more audio ports.
This method requires that you tweak your audio settings and enable stereo mix. To do that:

1. Go to Start menu and open the Control Panel.
2. Go to Hardware and Sound.
3. Go to Sound.

4. Click on the Playback tab and select the first headphone as the default playback device
5. Move to the Recording tab.
6. Right click on Stereo Mix and enable it.

Note: If you can’t see Stereo Mix on the list of recording devices, click on an empty area and
Enable ‘Show disabled devices’. If it doesn’t show up, install the latest sound drivers for
your device.

7. Double click on Stereo Mix to open Stereo Mix properties.
8. On Stereo Mix properties, click the Listen tab.

9. Check the “Listen to this device” box and choose your second headphone from the dropdown menu.
10. Go to Advanced tab and deselect the “Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device” and confirm changes.

Note: This setup makes it possible to use multiple headphones on PC. The same setup
also makes it possible to use a wired headphone and Bluetooth headphone
simultaneously on the same PC. To achieve that, you must first link your wireless and wired headphone to your PC. The downside to this method is that it can cause a delay between the primary headphones and secondary headphones causing audio sync problems on the secondary headphones. Volume control issues might also be experienced on the secondary headphones.

Method 2: Using third-party audio mixer software

Audio mixers make it possible to route audio from programs, input and output channels
around your PC. They detect available audio devices on your PC and then they allow the user to manage their utility making it possible to use two or more headphone without a splitter. It is important to also note that your PC needs to support two or more audio ports for this to be possible.

The most used audio mixer software for audio splitting is Voicemeeter/Voicemeeter Banana. Other programs include, Boom3D, Adobe Audition, Synchronous Audio Route, Virtual Audio Cable and audio router.

In this guide, we use Voicemeeter Banana which is a free-to-use virtual audio device mixer because it lets you pick and choose which audio input goes to a certain audio output. It also provides one with an array of settings to choose from, more than the windows default mixer, putting you in control.

Here is how you can set up Voicemeeter Banana to use two headphones at the same time:

1. Download Voicemeeter Banana
2. After extracting the contents, run the application.
3. Set up first audio input (primary headphones) as headset 1.
4. Set up second audio input (secondary headphones) as headset 2.
5. Set first audio output A1 to headset 1.
6. Set audio output A2 to headset 2

After that it should be working.

Check out our article on how to increase bass using Voicemeeter Banana alongside other tips & tricks.

Method 3: Using an audio jack splitter

If the two methods above fail or your hardware isn’t compatible then the next best option is using an audio jack splitter which allows two or more headphones to be connected through to one audio jack. Audio jack splitters are easy to use as they come as ‘Plug and Play’ so no installation of anything is required. Just plug the splitter in your PC and plug the headphones into the ports in the splitter. Alternatively multi-splitters work in much the same way while also delivery extra versatility for more headphone connections.

It is important that you buy a quality headphone adapter which will last long and provide good quality audio. The most common types are the “Y” design splitters named after it’s shape, adapters with up to six headphone sockets, and wired headphone adapters.

Wireless/Bluetooth Headphones

Unlike wired headphones connection two Bluetooth headphones on PC isn’t that easy.
To use two Bluetooth headphones simultaneously, you can:

1. Use a Bluetooth adapter
2. Use dual Bluetooth headphones

Use a Bluetooth Adapter

Using a Bluetooth adapter makes it possible to connect two or more Bluetooth headphones to your PC. After plugging the Bluetooth adapter in the PC, some PCs might automatically recognize it. If not follow the installation prompts and after its done connect the headphones. In instances where the adapter is unrecognized, install the right drivers from the manufacturer.

How to Use Two or More Headphones on Mac

Just like in PC, Max users can also use two or more headphones. It is even more easier to
achieve to use two or more headphones in Mac than using PC.

To use two or more headphones on Mac, you can:

1. Change System Preferences to create a Multi-Output Device
2. Use an audio mixer to manage audio outputs
3. Buy a headphone splitter or Bluetooth adapter for multi-device listening

Method 1: Change System Preferences to create a Multi-Output Device

1. In Finder, go to Applications.
2. Open Utilities.
3. Open Audio Midi Setup.
4. In the Audio Devices interface, Click the + button on the lower left corner and click create Multi-Output Device.
5. Once created, right-click on the label and select “Use This Device for Sound Output.”
6. Check the boxes next to the audio devices you want to use.

At this point select your master and slave device.

7. In the menu on the right, choose a Master Device.
8. Next, choose a Slave Device by checking the box under Drift Connection.
9. Open System Preferences and open the Sound pane.
10. Click the Output tab.
11. Choose the Multi-Output Device you’ve just created.

Method 2: Use an Audio Mixer to Manage Audio Outputs

In Mac the need for third party audio mixer software is not necessary as Mac’s inbuilt OS is capable of running two headphones perfectly fine. But if you need to have more options and more control, you can install third party audio mixers to get advanced options and settings.

Method 3: Buy a Headphone Splitter or Bluetooth Adapter

You can also buy a headphone multi-splitter or Bluetooth adapter which are plug and play systems if you would rather wish for a physical solution. This also enables users to achieve more headphone connections with the use of multi-splitters and Bluetooth connectivity.

Conclusion

Using two headphones or more is a nifty feature that many simply do not know how to discover. Whether you are a streamer or you simply want to share audio with your friends and family using headphones, this guide covers all the aspects to make that possible. We would love to hear from you, if you have something to add to this or any queries, let us know in the comments below.

For more of our guides, check out:

1. Headphone Jack Sizes & Plugs Explained

2. How To Clean Headphone Pads 

3. How to Increase Bass on Windows 10

Leave a Reply