Daisy-chain your PCs’ audio to 1 set of speakers

Way back in WinXP times and before, I would always connect all of my PCs at one desk together to a single set of speakers. The only special software/hardware this required were some extra 3.5mm audio cables and a set of ordinary speakers. The software to do this was built into Windows XP and just required some intelligent checkboxes to be selected. However, the native ability to do this with both Windows Vista and Windows 7. Luckily, with a registry hack, it is possible to still get this behavior with both operating systems!

First, you need to hack your registry.
WARNING: If you do not fully understand what the registry is and how badly you can mess it up, I strongly recommend you do NOT do this! This is ONLY for people who are ready to break their computer so badly that your great grandmother would point and laugh at how big of a fool you are for messing with things you don’t understand! In fact, I flat-out recommend you do NOT follow this guide at all!

Registry Hack:

  1. Hit [WIN]+[R] to bring up the “Run” dialog
  2. type regedit and hit [ENTER]
  3. Navigate to HKLMSYSTEMControlSet001ControlClass{4D36E96C-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318}
    Registry Editor Image
  4. Create a new Value of type Binary named EnableInputMonitor
  5. Once you’re finished creating it, double-click on it and set the value to 01 (this will be to the right of 0000
    New Registry Value Image
  6. Click all of your OK buttons and exit out of the Registry Editor
  7. Reboot your computer

After your registry hack, you simply need to do the following:

  1. Go to the Sound portion of your Control Panel
  2. Go to the Playback tab
  3. Double-click on your speakers that you are using
  4. Go to the Levels tab in the Properties dialog
  5. Find your Line-In in the bottom section of the dialog and unmute it and increase the volume as you want it to be. (Note: Your dialog will probably look very different than mine.)
    Audio Properties Image

At this point, you should successfully have enabled your speakers to play the audio coming into that line-in port whether it’s from another computer, an MP3 player, your cell phone, or any other device.

Of course one drawback to this, if you’re daisy-chaining PCs is that if any computer goes down to reboot or power off, it will affect the ability to hear any PC behind that one. Similarly with hardware/software/driver issues. However, I’ve found this to not be a big deal. I can deal with losing audio during a reboot or Windows Update that updates my sound card driver.

I hope this helps somebody!

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