Do Multiple Inputs on Speakers Just Combine Analog Signals?

riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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Just wondering if when you hook up multiple inputs on speakers like 3.5 mm mini jack audio and RCA audio if the signals are combined without signal degradation? So I guess they just stack the audio waves on top of each other? Thanks!
 

Cork

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Aug 9, 2023
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I'm not sure if you mean multiple receiver inputs or speaker inputs (I'm imagining an active speaker for this option); but in both cases I'd think that you'd have to choose which input is active, and if you didn't there'd be a default provided by the equipment.

The only time I can think of where signals would be combined is when two or more amplified sources are connected to a speaker terminal. That would certainly cause distortion and be bad for the source amps.
 
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nightanddaygamechangers

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Nov 19, 2023
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My Addon C10 I use in our kitchen has 3.5 and RCA inputs. But you have to select which one you want to use, just like you would on a normal amp. I normally just use WiFi.

What model of speaker are you referring to?
 
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riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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@12th Monkey This way I can not only have two computers hooked up to one set of speakers, but also have one computer hooked up via two ways, so I can do exclusive mode audio playback at the same time as normal computer audio notifications and stuff like that.

@Cork I'm talking about multiple speaker inputs. My old Bose speakers actually had an aux in which implies being designed to accommodate two inputs. Also see here for my current speakers (Pioneer DJ DM-50D). I'm currently using the mini and RCA inputs simultaneously without problems for my computer (see the above comment to 12th monkey for why I would want to do this...). I hope I didn't damage anything by doing things way, am I good to go do you think?

@nightanddaygamechangers I am currently using Pioneer DJ DM-50D's. Both these and my previous Bose Companion 2 Series III speakers are capable of simultaneous playback of multiple inputs.
 

Gray

Well-known member
I am currently using Pioneer DJ DM-50D's. Both these and my previous Bose Companion 2 Series III speakers are capable of simultaneous playback of multiple inputs.
You've found that they can do that - because the sockets are internally parallel wired.
But your Pioneer speakers are not designed or intended to do any form of mixing on their inputs.

The three connection types are there to give you convenient options for a single source connection.

Any source mixing should be done by a proper mixer - with its output connected to one of your three input options.

(Connecting to only one of the three will avoid any risk of the signal degradation you originally asked about (y)).
 
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Gray

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@Gray Thx dude, as usual you are loaded with information :) I didn't hurt my babies did I?
Not if they're still working :)

There are some excellent little mixers about now - cheaper and better quality than ever.
Some include the type of digital effects processing that used to be expensive add-ons.

Mix as many sources as you like.
Have one close to you and send its output (preferably balanced) to your Pioneers (y)
 

riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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@Gray One related question - if I'm playing audio via an external DAC hooked up RCA to the Pioneer's, and there is only an occasional blip of audio like a notification sound on the other input, the 3.5 mm mini jack, will I still experience signal degradation considering most of the time there's only audio coming from one input?
Also what's the shortcoming about being wired in parallel that causes signal degradation? Thx!
 

Gray

Well-known member
@Gray One related question - if I'm playing audio via an external DAC hooked up RCA to the Pioneer's, and there is only an occasional blip of audio like a notification sound on the other input, the 3.5 mm mini jack, will I still experience signal degradation considering most of the time there's only audio coming from one input?
Also what's the shortcoming about being wired in parallel that causes signal degradation? Thx!
In practice, as you may have found, you probably won't even hear any degradation.
But it's just not the done thing to connect two (or more) outputs together, which is what parallel wiring will do.
This will alter the impedance that each device (and the speaker) 'sees' and changes things in ways the designers never intended.

Take your chances or, better still, have a look at the 'Notepad' models from a decent brand like Soundcraft - and see what value you're getting with some of their smaller mixers:
 

riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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@Gray Just experimented around and with both inputs the sound volume drops quite significantly. Sounds good still hard to tell if the quality is noticeably lower or not.
 

riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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@nopiano @Gray I disconnected the Pioneer speakers from 3.5mm after conducting such experiment. Is there any possibility that I hurt any of my components, sound card with 3.5mm to the speakers, USB DAC with RCA to the speakers, or the speakers themselves?

Should I perform some sort of test maybe crank up the volume on my Pioneer DJ speakers and test the quality subjectively before I sell them third hand?

Can I safely connect my new Audioengine A5+s I just bought on cyber monday without concern for anything bad happening? (I mean connect one input not two, just worry about maybe my DAC or sound card suffered some sort of damage and will hurt my new speakers however implausible that might be...)

Thanks!
 

Gray

Well-known member
@nopiano @Gray I disconnected the Pioneer speakers from 3.5mm after conducting such experiment. Is there any possibility that I hurt any of my components, sound card with 3.5mm to the speakers, USB DAC with RCA to the speakers, or the speakers themselves?

Should I perform some sort of test maybe crank up the volume on my Pioneer DJ speakers and test the quality subjectively before I sell them third hand?

Can I safely connect my new Audioengine A5+s I just bought on cyber monday without concern for anything bad happening? (I mean connect one input not two, just worry about maybe my DAC or sound card suffered some sort of damage and will hurt my new speakers however implausible that might be...)

Thanks!
You will have done no permanent damage.
But you heard the effect - that's your clue that what you were doing was wrong.

One source at a time on the Audio engine and you'll be fine 👍
 
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riverofwind

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Sep 8, 2023
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Just rtfm for the A5+s, they support multi input it looks like so I decided to rtfm for the Pioneer's and it had this to say on their support site:
We do not recommend connecting multiple devices to the speakers at the same time. When devices are connected to the TRS/RCA input terminals and the 3.5-mm stereo mini-jack input at the same time, the input signals are mixed. If you do this, you'll need to be extra careful with the volume level.
So it's all good.
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
Just rtfm for the A5+s, they support multi input it looks like so I decided to rtfm for the Pioneer's and it had this to say on their support site:

So it's all good.
We got there between us! Didn’t mean to alarm you, but with the challenge of conveying exactly what is happening via a forum, it’s better safe than sorry. 🙂
 

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