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Consider that you have one of the following:

Image of audio splitter

These are used to connect 2 male audio connectors into only one female connection.

Since I can't find, for now, where I have the audio cable extension, I've decided to connect 2 cables in the female connections, but leave the male connection disconnected.

Will this setup degrade the sound signal quality?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but probably not enough for you to hear it. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams May 22 '15 at 17:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @IgnacioVazquez-Abrams If there is a difference, I will (probably) hear it. I notice a huge difference when I connect the headphones' cable to the 1st splitter, instead of directly to the computer. \$\endgroup\$ – Ismael Miguel May 22 '15 at 17:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends on the output impedance of whatever is driving these lines. If it's low enough you will get crosstalk. \$\endgroup\$ – user207421 May 22 '15 at 18:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EJP I have my soundcard with the pre-amplifier set to 60Ohms. It is just a simple Asus Xonar DG. Does that help? \$\endgroup\$ – Ismael Miguel May 22 '15 at 18:23
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As long as the connection is secure. The stub created by the splitter will have negligible effect. Audio frequencies (approx 200 Hz to 20 kHz) are too low to care about electrical stubs for normal audio applications.

The effects of stubs and transmission lines only needs to be accounted for when the length of the line is a non negligible compared to the signal's shortest wavelength. For audio, the shortest wave length can be calculated to be about 1500 m (see wavelength calculator). If your application required sending analog audio across 100s of meters (perhaps you are reenacting WW1) then perhaps you would be concerned with the effects of high speed transmission lines.

If you were transmitting gigabit ethernet, you'd start worrying if you line length was more than a few inches. If you were transmitting 60 Hz AC electricity across North America you might also care. In both cases, the instantaneous voltage measured at different points along the line will be different. Having a stub would cause reflections that would interfere.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, the connection won't be secure. But now I have one question: What is the minimum frequence that 'cares' about electrical stubs? \$\endgroup\$ – Ismael Miguel May 22 '15 at 17:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ For the size of the stub here, somewhere in the GHz range... \$\endgroup\$ – Zulu May 22 '15 at 17:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zulu Thanks for clearing the doubt. Then I think it won't make any difference in the audio quality. \$\endgroup\$ – Ismael Miguel May 22 '15 at 17:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ For the broadest answer possible, any frequency where the length of the line is a significant portion of signal wavelength. If you were transmitting gigabit ethernet, you'd start worrying if you line length was more than a few inches. If you were transmitting 60 Hz AC electricity across North America you might also care. In both cases, the instantaneous voltage measured at different points along the line will be different. Having a stub would cause reflections that would interfere. \$\endgroup\$ – lm317 May 22 '15 at 17:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @lm317 It will be connected to 6m of cable + 1.5m + a second splitter, connected with another 1.5m. Will that make any difference? \$\endgroup\$ – Ismael Miguel May 22 '15 at 18:39

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