# Comm headset splitter

#### malex

##### Member
I thought this would be a common question, but couldn't find anything in a search.
Is there any reason building a 4pin XLR Y cable wouldn't work to put two headsets on one beltpack? I'm guessing there's plenty of power, since any headset I've used (when working properly) is capable of causing severe hearing damage. Assuming it works, I would expect that both earpieces would get the same reduced output level and both mics would pickup at the same reduced input level?
I'm thinking in terms of followspot operators. They don't have much to say anyway, just need to hear back from one of them in case of any issues. I could certainly save a bundle by pairing them up.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I thought this would be a common question, but couldn't find anything in a search.
Is there any reason building a 4pin XLR Y cable wouldn't work to put two headsets on one beltpack? I'm guessing there's plenty of power, since any headset I've used (when working properly) is capable of causing severe hearing damage. Assuming it works, I would expect that both earpieces would get the same reduced output level and both mics would pickup at the same reduced input level?
I'm thinking in terms of followspot operators. They don't have much to say anyway, just need to hear back from one of them in case of any issues. I could certainly save a bundle by pairing them up.
@malex Rambling thoughts as they occur to me.
Would you be pairing 600 Ohm ear pieces or 4 Ohm?
Two double muff headsets or two single muff? Keep in mind the impedance you'd be asking the belt pack or wall station to drive.
Both users would have to agree on a common listening level. I'm seeing a problem if one wants more level than the other.
What are the impedances of the two microphones AND are they both the same impedance?
Headphones often suffer handling abuse in the hands of end users. Any shorts in one headphone's wiring could take down both units. Redundancy is normally a good thing.
Muting one mic would be muting both.
Opening one mic would be opening both.
True, you could use headsets where the mic is muted when physically raised above a normal operating position but, again depending upon how this is achieved within a given headset, you'd most likely be simultaneously muting both by muting either.
Which brand of belt pack or wall stations are you speaking of? ClearCom, Production Intercom, Telex? Belt packs, wall or rack mount stations? What model numbers? Full size 4 contact XLR connectors or something less robust?
A few initial thoughts for you.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.

#### malex

##### Member
@malex Rambling thoughts as they occur to me.
Would you be pairing 600 Ohm ear pieces or 4 Ohm?
Two double muff headsets or two single muff? Keep in mind the impedance you'd be asking the belt pack or wall station to drive.
Both users would have to agree on a common listening level. I'm seeing a problem if one wants more level than the other.
What are the impedances of the two microphones AND are they both the same impedance?
Headphones often suffer handling abuse in the hands of end users. Any shorts in one headphone's wiring could take down both units. Redundancy is normally a good thing.
Muting one mic would be muting both.
Opening one mic would be opening both.
True, you could use headsets where the mic is muted when physically raised above a normal operating position but, again depending upon how this is achieved within a given headset, you'd most likely be simultaneously muting both by muting either.
Which brand of belt pack or wall stations are you speaking of? ClearCom, Production Intercom, Telex? Belt packs, wall or rack mount stations? What model numbers? Full size 4 contact XLR connectors or something less robust?
A few initial thoughts for you.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.
Looking at the RS-701 basic single channel pack and the 110-X4 semi-lightweight headset. I would have the exact same headset paired. I hadn't thought about the mic boom muting, that would actually make it even better. I'm not too worried about the operators not liking the levels. This would be two pairs of undergrad volunteers. They'll get what they get.
I think I'll build the adapter and give it a try. I can barely justify spending the money on new headsets for two shows a year. I certainly can't justify the expense of 2 new packs for spots 3 & 4 for probably only once every other year. Eventually, I would move the older packs to the spots and replace the backstage and FOH with new, so this would only be a stopgap for maybe 2-3 shows.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Looking at the RS-701 basic single channel pack and the 110-X4 semi-lightweight headset. I would have the exact same headset paired. I hadn't thought about the mic boom muting, that would actually make it even better. I'm not too worried about the operators not liking the levels. This would be two pairs of undergrad volunteers. They'll get what they get.
I think I'll build the adapter and give it a try. I can barely justify spending the money on new headsets for two shows a year. I certainly can't justify the expense of 2 new packs for spots 3 & 4 for probably only once every other year. Eventually, I would move the older packs to the spots and replace the backstage and FOH with new, so this would only be a stopgap for maybe 2-3 shows.
@malex Do think about the mic boom muting. If you find that raising either mic boom mutes both, it could become an annoyance when both users need to lower their mics in order for either to speak / acknowledge. Also, wire your adapter with a shielded single conductor for the mic input and a separate pair, NOT within the shield, for the earpieces. As usual, you'll have to keep an eye open for folks pressing non-shielded scroller cables into service as headset extensions. Many folks assume if the connectors mate, they MUST be using the correct cable.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard.

#### TimMc

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Follow spots should be on a private line that hears only the LX calls; this way they can talk to each other... how many gigs where there is no rehearsal for spot operators? I'm thinking local awards dinners and the like where there a 2 spot ops and they decide who picks up which persons, etc. I've also done children's theatre where the spot ops came in at dress rehearsal (budget savings) and the ops make most of the decisions about which operator does what.

The dismissive tone of the original poster - they're volunteers.... who get what they get - is just plain wrong. Buying one more belt pack is going to break the bank? If this is a campus event I'd say raise the fee $50 and in 3 years you'll pay for the pack. If you can buy used gear (I know many/most schools and municipal PACs can purchase only new stuff) you can be paid off in half the time. Or the alternative - just give them soup cans with string... #### RonHebbard ##### Well-Known Member Premium Member Follow spots should be on a private line that hears only the LX calls; this way they can talk to each other... how many gigs where there is no rehearsal for spot operators? I'm thinking local awards dinners and the like where there a 2 spot ops and they decide who picks up which persons, etc. I've also done children's theatre where the spot ops came in at dress rehearsal (budget savings) and the ops make most of the decisions about which operator does what. The dismissive tone of the original poster - they're volunteers.... who get what they get - is just plain wrong. Buying one more belt pack is going to break the bank? If this is a campus event I'd say raise the fee$50 and in 3 years you'll pay for the pack. If you can buy used gear (I know many/most schools and municipal PACs can purchase only new stuff) you can be paid off in half the time. Or the alternative - just give them soup cans with string...
I hear you @TimMc , but then they've got to keep the string taught when they want to chat. The same lack of forethought would apply to "He's only pressing a 'Go' button." That's true until something goes wrong and you need to know enough to press 'Stop' before the auto-follows change the 6" square glass slides in the Pani's and won't simply back up without humans going out to the balcony rail.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### malex

##### Member
Paralelling the speaker side of headsets probably will work out OK.
Ying the mics together on the other hand is no different to Ying any other mics together, and not a good idea.
Refer to Rane's Why not Wye note for the details: http://www.rane.com/note109.html
Thanks, It's been a long time since I've had to think about such an issue, but it's all coming back to me now. This splitter may just become a listen-only device for the second headset.