Get Your (Head) Sounds On!!

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How-to put a headphone jack in the front of your PC – Anthony “T.Toy” Todd

After stumbling over Overclockers. com accidentally (I was looking for a patch for “Messiah”), I suddenly got interested in Modding (I REALLY needed a hobby). After looking at other related sites, I saw a small Modding Project about how to put a headphone jack in the front of your PC without forking out a sizable amount of your hard earned dosh on an extension card.

I decided that the idea is perfect for me because it’s a simple Mod and if it doesn’t work, I’m not too much out of pocket (unless I REALLY screw it up and break my soundcard – which is my basic, integrated with mother board AC’97)

However, the original plans (I can’t remember the site, though) involved soldering and purchasing individual parts from Radio Shack. I’m from the UK, and as people may or may not know, the UK’s version (aka Tandy) was bought out by “The Carphone Warehouse”, so Radio Shack product codes are of no use to me whatsoever and, as I don’t have any experience in soldering, I decided to cheat.

I took a trip to my local independent hi-fi store and purchased these two inexpensive parts:

  • A headphone socket doubler – £1.99 – to plug two headphones into one socket (for Walkman for example)

  • A 2.5 meter extension lead – £2.50 (Do I really need to scan you a picture? I thought not!!!)

The smaller the doubler the better, or you won’t be able to use your other sockets. You don’t NEED your lead to be 2.5m long, but I didn’t want to be needing a few inches for the sake of a pound – better safe than sorry.

And so I skip home with a song in my heart, a spring in my step, and a wallet minus £5.00 of loose change.

The only thing you will need besides these two parts is a couple of wire ties, a drill and a tube of suitable adhesive. I used some Universal Poly Cement I had lying around (can’t cost much more that three quid for a tube) and I found it better than super-glue, as it fuses the plastic together and forms a VERY strong bond.

First of all, find a place to drill your hole for the socket end of your new lead – I used my spare drive bay cover. As I can’t put any drives in there, I may as well use it for plugs and parts. Just remember to take the cover off first, please.

Glue your socket in the hole – it also helps if you put something behind it, to stop it from falling out and going where it shouldn’t be. I used a small amount of PVA glue and some toilet roll – I felt just like a little kid again (Miss, Miss, can I go to the toilet??)

After your fixings have dried, thread the plug end of your extension cable through your case. I had a few holes already in mine, so I just stuck it in a hole that I have no use for and pulled it through.

Take a cover off a spare PCI port and thread your cable through the now exposed hole.

You now can plug your speaker jack and that of the cable into your splitter and plug this into your Speaker/Line Out socket. Tidy up your loose cable (remember your cable ties now children) and replace your PCI cover (you may need to bend it to get it to fit with your cable protruding out of it though, but don’t worry). The blue blob in the second pic is where it comes in – I thought I would point it out as it isn’t too clear.

But enough of the theory, here’s what it all looks like:

Plugs

The back with my doubler and note the very untidy Glue/loo roll combo.

Inside

The inside of my case and where it goes in the PCI slot – I need a Card-cooler soon I think!!?

Cables

Where I routed the cables.

And if you have a spare bay cover, you can swap the covers, take out all the wires and it will look like you never modded it – perfect if it’s a new(ish) computer and you’re still in a VERY strict warranty like I am – especially for the price.

And for the front before Modding,

Before

And after Modding, with a little music related sticker

After

And, by some chance of fate, the speaker now cuts out when I plug in my headphones. You may need to turn down your output in Media Player or whatever application you’re running or you’re gonna’ have your ears blown off and your brain sonically mauled into a million bits.

Don’t Have Nightmares!!

Anthony “T.Toy” Todd

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