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RCA out to 1/8" headphones on Vizio smart TV - clipping/distortion?

Discussion in 'Audio' started by StriderSubzero, Apr 17, 2018.

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  1. StriderSubzero


    Apr 24, 2017
    Hi all,

    I'm trying to play my PS3 on my TV with headphones. My set up is this:

    From TV RCA out is a red/white RCA cable to 1/8" adapter --> 1/8" extension cable --> inline volume control dongle --> headphones

    The sound seems to work okay, but it's quite distorted even at the lowest volumes. Unfortunately there's no console-wide volume control, and not everything has individual volume control, but on the games/applications that do, I'm able to lower the volume and it sounds better (though still somewhat distorted).

    The TV itself is really barebones and doesn't seem to even have an audio settings menu anywhere. Is there anything else I can try?
  2. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    The red/white audio OUT signal isn't powerful enough to drive headphones directly. You'll need an amplifier.

    Does the set not have a 3.5mm audio out socket? If not then as mentioned, an external amplifier should be used.
  3. StriderSubzero


    Apr 24, 2017
    I'm assuming it must have a built-in amplifier, and perhaps that's why they're so distorted? They definitely do work, so I'm not entirely sure what you mean by it not being powerful enough.

    EDIT: No, it does not have a 1/8"/35mm out
  4. Audioguru


    Sep 24, 2016
    The TV has a stereo output to feed the input of an amplifier, not headphones. You connected an RCA to 1/8" cord with a built-in volume control that is made to feed an amplifier, not headphones. When you connect your 1/8" connector with volume control to an amplifier designed to drive headphones then the distortion should disappear because then you will not be overloading the TV output.

    A volume control that feeds speakers or headphones causes the sound to resonate and sound boomy like a bongo drum. A volume control is made to feed the input of an amplifier.
  5. dave9


    Mar 5, 2017
    Yeah, get a little $5 headphone amp board off eBay, most of which don't have RCA inputs (mechanically, connection speaking) and add some panel mount RCA jacks bought seperately and solder them to the input pins. Power it with a typical 12V AC-DC adapter which you might already have spares of.

    You can also find ready made products with the RCA jacks and an enclosure, maybe including the power supply too for around $20 and those are even capable of some modest wattage driving speakers, say around 15W/channel, but they're also about 4X the size needed for a headamp.
  6. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    Actually, you managed to pick about the only amplifier that will not work.

    If you read the product description, that amp is explicitly designed to look like a headphone to the device outputting the sound. Consequently it has a low input impedance of 16Ω, which is exactly what is causing the problem when you plug headphones into yout line output jack! You need an amp that has a line level input and a headphone level output. Looking on Ebay, these are hard to come by as a finished unit. Not much demand apparently.

    If you can handle wiring together a board, input and output jacks, a battery and putting it in a case, there are plenty of bare boards that would do what you need, but I could not find a finished unit in a suitable size and price range.

  7. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
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