When using voice output and either multimedia output or taped lessons on a single computer, it's hard to manage 2 sets of headphones for private listening. Specialty headphones can be purchased to provide one sound input coming in through one side of the headset, and the other sound input coming in through the other side -- however, these can be very expensive. Another option is to build your own, using the following parts available at Radio Shack for roughly $12 plus the price of the headphones:
* One pair of Stereo Headphones, with a 1/8-inch mini plug, e.g., Walkman-style
* One 1/8-inch Minijack Coupler (catalog #274-1555), for mono-to-mono or stereo-to-stereo use
* One 1/8-inch Y-adapter (catalog #274-375), which combines or splits a stereo mini 1/8-inch circuit into two mono 1/8-inch circuits
* Two Audio Cables (catalog #42-2420), 1/8-inch miniplug to 1/8-inch mini plug.
The Coupler connects the headphones to the Y-adapter. One of the audio cables connects the Y-adapter to the one of the sound sources. The other audio cable connects the Y-adapter to the other sound source.
This article by Betsy Walker first appeared in V.I. Guide and is reprinted with permission.