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Audio Switch Opinion

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I did a search, and I didn't find anything related specifically to this. I actually have two questions really.

 

I was enlightened to what impedance is and about how impedance imbalance occurs with a splitter. This can be solved by having both sources on at the same time, but I don't really want to have to think about that.

 

I've been looking around at potential switches, and this one seems to be of good quality from a decent manufacturer.

 

3.5mm Audio Switch

 

My concern and question, however, relate to what I read on a page related to another, similar switch.

 

http://electronicsusa.com/mk1and2.html

 

In the third blue box down, to the left of the model and price, you'll see mentioned about how a "ground loop isolator" may be necessary if their switch introduces noise. After reading this, I started looking at various 3.5mm GLIs, and I happened upon a review someone gave one that mentioned, while the product did work at getting rid of or reducing the noise, it also somehow affected the bass.

 

I'm doubting that person is an audio professional of any kind, and maybe they just think they're hearing a change. But this still got me thinking of whether or not the GPI could be affecting the signal's quality.

 

So, what do you guys think about the first switch linked? Should it do the job without affecting signal quality? That second page says the GPI usually is not needed, but do you guys have an opinion on that as well?

 

Secondly, I have an ODAC, and was wondering if the output from that is safe to split in this way to both my computer speakers, which have their own amp in the sub of the set, and my O2 amp. I know the ODAC is meant to be a headphone DAC, but does it matter in this case? And, again, can this weak signal be split?

 

I'm a bit of an audio nub and just getting into this, so take it easy if anything I said seems obvious or obviously wrong.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

Well I found a decent resource on explaining what ground loops fundamentally are, and even found a page that give exact scenarios when you would and would not run into noise due to ground loops.

 

It's a fantastic, quick read if any of you have a moment. Many of you may be aware of how this all works already. There are more links at the bottom, but these are the two I am specifically referring to.

 

write up

 

examples

 

So I'm almost 100% certain I won't have an issue with ground loop noise.

 

I guess my only real question would be if the switch would take away from the signal quality in some way. In other threads about similar switches, I read responses that are vague and just essentially say "yeah, if the switch isn't high quality".

 

Well what makes a "high quality" switch like this? The design seems so simple, I just don't see how quality of the switch can affect anything short of bare wires touching each other. I obviously want something that is easy to use, is made of decent materials, and will stand up to extended use, but what makes a "high quality" switch like this internally?

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I'm set to buy a similar switch to the one in the OP, but the site I'm getting it from isn't taking orders for another day or so. Does no one have an opinion on what makes a "high quality" switch like this and what you think about the one linked?

post #4 of 4
There should be no issues with such a switch - it's just a mechanical device that switches "on" and "off" between inputs. Like a light switch. You could worry about switch bounce or whether or not it actually rejects the "off" signal, but I'm honestly doubting either of those as a problem with a simple A/B switch (this is usually something you see with more complex rotary switches).

You can actually use a very inexpensive A/V A/B switcher (and some of them have remotes) with RCA in/out and just convert to TRS where needed. There is also no problem using a splitter in this scenario; personally I'd split at TRS instead of at RCA, because it's less wire hell (but that's just me). You don't need both sinks powered up at the same time. We do not use splitters "backwards." http://www.rane.com/note109.html

For your scenario, I'd use a splitter.

Ground loops are tricky to both predict and kill, but with single ended connections and class 2 devices you usually will not encounter them. The biggest causes are when you introduce a CATV line and a class 1 device somewhere in the chain with SE connections. You'll want to transformer isolate at least one side of that system to break the loop, if you can't tie the grounds together (or safely lift them) - there are transformers for both CATV and analog audio; some of them are not as wide bandwidth as we'd like, and it can potentially cause signal degradation. Just check the specs before you deploy.
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