Splitter question

I bought a small (physically and power output) tube amp for my daughter and have been trying out different tubes and speaker inputs to see what I like best and to burn in for her. The amp has only one input source. I plan on buying her an inexpensive turntable since she loves playing records (which she calls VIN...ALL), but she also has a CD player. I came up with what I thought was a great idea, but it didn’t work!  I put a splitter in the amp’s input so I could plug in 2 sources and just play which one I wanted. With one source plugged in to the splitter it worked but as soon as I put the cable from the 2nd source in too the 1st source stopped working. 

Are splitters only good for output and won’t work for input?  If this is true is there a way for me to provide 2 sources in or will she just have to unplug the 1st source and then plug in the 2nd if she wants to change from CD to VIN...ALL?

Thanks for any input. 
You will need something like this Schiit SYS. You will need a turntable that has a built in phono preamp or you will need a separate phono preamp!

Thanks donvito. The turntable I got her has a built in preamp so good there. Once the schiit is connected which volume control takes over?  Does one need to be adjusted and left alone and the other becomes the primary volume control?
Adjust the volume on the Schiit and use the other as the primary. Or you can do it vice versa!
That makes no sense..I have used the audioquest 1/2 adapters and never had any trouble..Was the power on both units turned on?
No. I assumed I could only have one source on at a time to isolate the source I was playing?  If both the tt and the cd were on at the same time wouldn’t both be going into the input at the same time?  Using Audioquest hard splitter...1 male to 2 female. 
While there are some circumstances in which routing two outputs to one input with a splitter would work ok, there are many more circumstances in which the results will be either what you have described, or very poor sonics, or possibly even damage, eventually if not sooner.  It all depends on the specific designs that are involved, but generally speaking it is an approach that should be avoided.

In doing that you are of course connecting the two outputs to each other, as well as to the desired input.  And if only one of the two source components is turned on at any given time you are loading the output that is being used with whatever output impedance the other component presents when it is turned off.  Depending on the specific design that could be just about anything. 

In some cases the unpowered component may have a muting relay at its output, which would put a direct short on the signal being provided by the other component, resulting in no sound.  In other cases the output impedance of the unpowered component may vary with the level of the signal being provided by the component that is being used, resulting in poor sonics at best.  And I wouldn't rule out the possibility that there may be a few cases in which damage could occur, eventually if not sooner, as a result of a short or near-short being applied to a powered up output.

The suggestion by Donvito is a good one.  Another possibility would be a line-level switchbox.  I have used the DB Systems DBP-2JAU/5 ($110) with good results.  See the "photo" and "review" links for the DBP-2J/5 near the top of the following page (that model is the same as the DBP-2JAU/5 except its connectors are not gold plated).  I've also provided a link to their home page, at which you can find contact information:



Also, at a considerably higher price point Decware makes a nice switchbox:


-- Al 
Thanks Al...great feedback as usual. I won’t use a splitter!  What is your opinion as to the switchbox with the volume control (which I don’t really need) such as the schiit versus the one without?  Only need two inputs and it is for my daughter with very basic components. The $49 for the schiit is attractive but curious if switchbox without that would be sonically better?

Given your situation, I would be inclined to use the SYS. Has the two inputs you need. Would probably use it full open for vinyl playback which likely has a lower voltage output. One could turn the SYS volume down for digital playback such that the gain into the tube amplifier is closer to that of the TT. 

Great gift to your daughter! 

Hi, ekimg,

I use a Schiit Audio SYS with my desktop stereo (Audioengine N22 amp with two passive A2+ speakers) to switch between two sources and it works well. But it’s not exactly a high end system.

I also use a SYS as a switch and volume attenuator for a DVD player and third turntable phono preamp feeding a tubed preamp in my main stereo system. The preamp has four inputs but I needed five so the SYS fit the bill. The nice thing about the volume control on the SYS is that the DVD player and phono stage have very different output levels and I can attenuate the DVD player so the signal level is in the optimum range for the preamp’s input sensitivity. I use inline attenuators for a DAC feeding the preamp for the same reason. If there’s any degradation of sound using the SYS it’s not apparent, at least not to me or my wife.

The one thing you might want to consider (and Al may be able to chime in here) is that the SYS has a fairly high output impedance (5k ohms max) so if your tubed integrated amp has a relatively low input impedance you might hear a slight distortion of sound at the audible frequency extremes. The tubed preamp I have has a 220k ohms input impedance so it’s not a problem.

My hunch is that you won’t be able to hear a difference in sound quality using the SYS and you’ll appreciate being able to attenuate signal levels as needed between the two sources.



My hunch is that you won’t be able to hear a difference in sound quality using the SYS and you’ll appreciate being able to attenuate signal levels as needed between the two sources.

I agree, assuming the two source components are solid state.

Given that the integrated amp is tube-based, its input impedance is probably high enough to not be an issue with the Sys. However the input impedance of the Sys is only 10K (presumably corresponding to the overall resistance of its volume control). That is too low to be optimal when driven by many tube-based components, and at least a few solid state components.

So assuming the two source components are solid state, and given also the relatively non-critical nature of the application, while a simple switchbox would eliminate a little bit of uncertainty about impedance compatibility, the Sys appears likely to be a good solution. With the added benefit Tom & Mesch referred to that the volume control can provide.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thank you all.

The amp I bought her has 50k ohm impedance so looks like I will get the SYS and problem solved. By the way the amp is a TubeCube 7 from Tube Depot ($179) driving a pair of high efficiency (93db) Klipsch bookshelf speakers ($175).  It is a great little amp and very reasonably priced. It sounds amazing for the price. I liked the amp so much I ordered one for myself to play around with. Check it out.