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A/V amp with speakers and heaphones active at the same time?


Active Member
Do current amplifiers/receivers allow for simultaneous use of speakers and headphones? If I plug headphones into my Denon AVR 1910 it cuts off the speakers. I want to be able to listen to the 5.1 speaker system while my wife listens via headphones since we need very different volume levels and she doesn't care about surround-sound.

Alternatively something which could provide a line-level analogue stereo downmix from 5.1 digital input would work since we have cordless headphones with their own volume control.


Distinguished Member
No, no AV receiver allows for both the headphone output and the speakers to be used simultaneously. Likewise, there's no way to fascilitate a downmix of multichannel audio to stereo via any AV receiver's pre or second zone output. Most AV receiver will not even output digitally sourced audio via their analogue tape or second zone outputs and those that do only output stereo sources and not multichannel audio. If you wanted to utilise an external headphone amp with one of the receivers that allow HDMI and S/PDIF sources to be output to an additional zone then the source would need to be outputting stereo in order for it to be sent to the second zone pre outs. The receiver will not mixdown the audio and it will not fascilitate 5.1 via the main room while also outputting the same source in stereo via the second zone pre outs to which you'd connect the headphone amp.
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Active Member
Just had a look at the Denon 1910 manual and I'm afraid that Dante01 is right. The speaker output is automatically defeated when headphones are plugged in.

Strangely enough my ageing Denon 3802 does allow simultaneous headphone and speaker output, - there is actually a button on the remote to defeat the speakers (which can be a problem if you don't remember to press it when you intend to use headphones at night......!) . It won't however output analogue audio from its tape outs when using digital sources.

The only other thing I suggest if that you could get a cheap DAC with headphone output which can be fed from your source via an optical or coaxial digital output? Just a thought. You could maybe find a cheap used DAC. That would however be dependent on your source being about to output 2 channel digital over optical/coaxial and multi channel digital over HDMI at the same time, which might or might not be possible..

Using headphones and speakers simultaneously from the same amp might not have been a great idea anyway, as you wouldn't have been able to independently adjust the volume of each.


Active Member
Windows (Vista and on) can only use one sound output at once, so HDMI and optical at the same time is not possible.

It seems such a simple thing to want to do, but impossible to achieve in practice. My £1000 silent media PC is just a £1000 brick right now :-(

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