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#1378126 - 02/19/10 12:45 PM 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack'
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
I have been going through searching for computers with 'line out'. I understand from another thread that to connect my computer (which runs the software instrument) back to the speakers on my keyboard or other external speakers, I need a 'line out' jack from my computer.

I haven't been able to find any computer with a line out jack. The salesmen have all told me that it's the 'headphone' jack.

How do you connect your computer to keyboard or external speakers ?

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#1378148 - 02/19/10 01:07 PM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: Cashley]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
For causal use headphone and "line out" are about the same thing. If you were building out a recording studio I'd say differently and suggest a USB or Firewire audio interface (with balanced outputs) and not using the computer's built in audio hardware. But if you are talking about a home use scenario and three foot long cables the headphone jack and line-out are the same thing.

BTW: Under no conditions are "mic in" and "line in" the same, even for causal use. But outputs are different.

Much more important is the system of software and hardware that drives the line-out jack. How good is the internal audio quality? Can it do 24-bits or 16-bits. Are the clicks and pops. Be carful. The audio quality on most all generic PC notebooks is poor. Listen carefully while running software this uses most of the CPU. Testing with an idle CPU is not representative of your intended use. Most ofthese low cost notebooks are designed for web surfing and media playback not running software instruments or music production

If you are looking for a computer the basic "Macbook" is ideal.

If you are buying a computer for audio wok the only reason not to buy a Mac is because you are down you your last dollar and can't afford one.

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#1378177 - 02/19/10 01:36 PM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: ChrisA]
Cashley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/16/09
Posts: 530
Thanks....that's quite a helpful load of information. thumb

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#1378308 - 02/19/10 04:36 PM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: Cashley]
Volusiano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/10
Posts: 770
Just to add, most consumer grade line out is fixed volume at -10 dbV pre-amp level, while headphones out is post-amplifier with variable volume adjustment. But if you don't have line out, you can use headphones out and adjust the volume to the appropriate level.

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#1379408 - 02/21/10 07:04 AM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: Cashley]
Sean M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/16/09
Posts: 97
If the salesmen tell you the line out and headphone jacks are one and the same, then they don't know jack, so to speak, ho ho ho...

Seriously, think of it this way: They both carry the sound from the keyboard, but the headphones are affected by the volume knob on the keyboard, while the line-out jack is permanently fixed at a relatively low volume, and adjusting the volume knob on your keyboard won't change it. It's meant to go to another amplifier or sound system which will adjust the volume on its own.

(At least, that's how it should but, but I've head an odd report of the line out jack on the Casio PX-330 being affected by the volume knob on the unit.)

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#1379413 - 02/21/10 07:20 AM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: Sean M.]
snazzyplayer Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/26/09
Posts: 983
Loc: Earth
Originally Posted By: Sean M.


They both carry the sound from the keyboard, but the headphones are affected by the volume knob on the keyboard, while the line-out jack is permanently fixed at a relatively low volume, and adjusting the volume knob on your keyboard won't change it. It's meant to go to another amplifier or sound system which will adjust the volume on its own.


Generally both the line-out and headphone jacks are affected by the master volume on the keyboard.

Occasionally, an instrument has a separate pair of line-outs that are fixed, but this usually occurs on the more high-end models, and quite rarely, if at all, on lower priced units.

If you are plugged into an amp, it is generally desirable to be able to turn up the volume via the instrument's main volume control, rather than have to reach for the amp's volume.

At home, and on small gigs, I use a Logitech Z-2300 system that has a convenient remote control, giving the best of both worlds.

Snazzy
_________________________
Semper Gumby: Always flexible \:^)

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#1379799 - 02/21/10 06:20 PM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: snazzyplayer]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1203
Loc: London UK
Ten years ago I'd have advised strongly about feeding an amplifier from a headphone out (because it would have sounded terrible!) Today's amps are much more forgiving.

How are you making the sounds on your computer? Virtual instruments within a sequencer? Another aspect of a computer's onboard sound system may hit you - the delay between hitting a note and the sound coming out. This delay, commonly labelled "latency" can be reduced greatly by installing a better sound card. Computer shops don't know about this - they think "better" audio is a 7.1 Home Theatre setup, and, if they've even heard of soundcards will only offer a SoundBlaster or Audigy, with features aimed at gamers. We need something better (and, luckily, probably cheaper :-)

If you need to go into this subject, I suggest you take your query to one of the specialist music-tech forums - perhaps the support group for whatever software you use to make computer music.

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#1379904 - 02/21/10 08:25 PM Re: 'Line out' versus 'headphone jack' [Re: Sean M.]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
(
Quote:
At least, that's how it should but, but I've head an odd report of the line out jack on the Casio PX-330 being affected by the volume knob on the unit.)


Today the most common case is that the DP's volume control does affect the line-out. But it could go either way.

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