Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

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karsti
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Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by karsti » Thu Sep 12, 2019 8:03 am

Hi,

I have a normal PC, a Thinkpad and an external Monitor which all have external speakers. Playing audio works flawlessly.

Sometimes I plug in a headphone via audio jack. This silences the external speakers for the device. Only the headphones play sound.

Now I would like - via software - to be able to keep the headphones plugged in but switch to the external Speakers again.

At the moment I always have to unplug the audio jack for the external Speakers to works. For the PC and the Laptop this is still okay. But for the external Monitor this is super annoying since it is plugged in in the back of the monitor and for many reasons (for example it is super hard to reach) this is a lot of hassle to do.

I have to switch between headphones and external speakers several times a day. This hassle really adds up. At the moment I have given up unplugging the headphones for the external monitor. It is just too inconvenient to do this 5 times a day. Still, using headphones all the time is also not really good...especially for my ears.

Is there a software solution? Maybe the is a hardware solution? A headphone adapter with a switch I can plug in between my monitor and headphone?

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MrEen
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Re: Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by MrEen » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:27 pm

Hi karsti.

In the terminal run alsamixer. You may need to press F6 to select the appropriate sound device. Arrow over to the Auto-Mute Mode column and press the down arrow until it says Disabled. Now sound should play through the headphones as well as external speakers at the same time and you can silence the one you don't want to hear in the same place. Hitting the m key on a column will mute/unmute it without having to lower the level to zero.

Hope that helps.

karsti
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Re: Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by karsti » Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:10 am

Am I missing the "Auto Mute Mode" column? See attached screenshot.

Now that I think more about it, I wonder if this is a hardware problem. The external monitor is connected via HDMI. The external monitor has speakers which go silent when I plug in my headphone into the monitor back.

The PC connected to the external monitor doesn't really know or control the external monitor :(

I also went to the external monitor settings the other day and didn't find an option to play sound on the external speakers even if the headphone is plugged in. But even having such a setting does not help much, since the monitor interface is very difficult to handle so unplugging the headphone by hand would be a little less annoying ;)
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MrEen
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Re: Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by MrEen » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:33 pm

That issue sounds like the monitor itself. I rather doubt there is a software way to control that. I'm sure most hardware vendors would assume that if headphones are plugged in, muting the speakers would be the desired result.

Your alsamixer output is extremely limited. Not only is Auto-Mute Mode not there (which is sometimes the case for certain hardware) there isn't even any settings for headphones or speakers connected to the computer. I find that quite odd.

Could you post the output of inxi -Fxz and aplay -l please? Add to that the output of dmesg | grep snd as well. This wont help with headphones plugged into the monitor at all, but I'm quite curios why you don't have headphones and/or speaker/line out settings in alsamixer.

karsti
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Re: Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by karsti » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:10 pm

MrEen wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:33 pm
Your alsamixer output is extremely limited. Not only is Auto-Mute Mode not there (which is sometimes the case for certain hardware) there isn't even any settings for headphones or speakers connected to the computer. I find that quite odd.
I am currently reworking the little PC to be passively cooled. Thus, nothing is plugged in at the moment but Mouse and Keyboard via USB and the external monitor via HDMI.

I wonder if there is a hardware adapter which you could plug into the monitor audio jack and then your headphones in that adapter. The adapter would be able to "switch itself off", thus looking to the monitor like nothing is plugged into the audio jack.

I assume that is impossible since the audio jack probably has some kind of mechanical detection if something is plugged in, right?

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MrEen
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Re: Choose different Audio Output Device without removing headphone jack..?

Post by MrEen » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:29 pm

I've never heard of a switch such as what you describe, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.

Detecting something plugged in is pretty standard, and I can't think of any way around that in your scenario.

However, you might be able to switch the sound output from the computer itself if there's an actual headphone port on it if that's a workable solution. What I'm getting at is, when you want to listen on headphones, plug them into the computer and switch to the built-in audio output. When you want the sound going to the monitor connected speakers, switch to the HDMI (or whatever it is) audio output.

Does that sound like a satisfactory workaround? And more importantly, does the computer have a headphone port?

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