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Now this is a clever idea. How many times do you travel and someone does not have their own mp3 player or wants to borrow your CD player to take to the beach, leaving you fumbling with another activity. It can happen on planes, trains and automobiles and also at home. Belkin have come up with a rather nifty little solution in the form of the Headphone Splitter. The name kind of gives it away, you have a central unit that allows the integration of up to five headphones and a playing device.
One one plug in the mp3 player and then attach headphones into the free sockets, so you could have main player running and several people all enjoying the music at any one time. What I especially liked about this invention was the ability to also run one or more mp3 players through it, giving you even more versatility.
The unit is lightweight and easy to carry around and would thus be ideal for travelling or taking abroad. The setup is also straight forward, as you simply plug into a port with the headphone leads and then you are free to start listening. Obviously, the port needs to be placed somewhere where all people can reach it, so in this instance, make sure your headphone cable is of a sufficient length or you would all be huddled around it. We tried it in the back of a car and it did a fine job, especially if you leave the mp3 player on shuffle, that way nobody dictates what is playing.
The sound quality is pretty good, though each additional headphone insertion causes a slight drop in sound but nothing to panic over. The main selling point here is the way you can share sound on trips and this for me is going to be great for the next holiday season.
~All about Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitters! ~
When we came across one of these Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitters in a local electrical store the first thing the children did was beg to get one as it was such a cool and quirky looking bit of kit. As nearly every child and adult on the planet seems to be almost permanently attached to their ipod or mp3 player these days (er and I have to confess that many times I am too, lol) the idea seemed less mad than I first thought it would be.
Although at first I kind of thought the whole thing looked like a madly shaped and very futuristic off white plastic star fish, I have to admit I soon came around to the idea of what made the Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter such a nifty bit of kit. It has plenty to offer and is something that should certainly not be over looked. Then there is the name of course, after all who doesn't want to be a rockstar (Nickleback do!) when they are secretly singing away to their ipod on shuffle? I know I do (oh the shame).
At the time of buying our Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter it was on sale for £4.50 due to the pack being a bit grubby and unloved looking. Having looked at prices since then it would seem we got a bargain of sorts as these can sell for almost double that in some stores. Although it seems from the link here that Amazon are selling it for a good price right now too. So its worth checking prices prior to buying. Either way its worth up to £10 in my opinion.
Once out of the box the Multi-Headphone Splitter still looks like a mad star fish, but its a mad star fish with a definite purpose (was so tempted to spell that porpoise). Yep this little plastic fantastic product is something that can charm ipod and mp3 owners of all ages into submission rather quickly. Its so simple to use and small enough to slip into a pocket or an extra ipod sock and can be set up in a flash. Its sleek and simple and is an all in one product, so all you need are your headphones and an mp3 player, dvd player or pc to get started.
The info on the pack states you can use your Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter to great effect and I quote to 'Share your ipod and listen'. It also states you can 'Add another ipod and mix it up'. Which is the long and the short of the idea of this simple gadget. You can use the little star fish splitter to hook up to either one or two mp3 players and then invite your pals to enjoy the music mix that pumps out. This is something we have found kids really seem to enjoy and us adults can also enjoy too.
Its so easy to connect to your ipod as it has a built in cable (that would be the funky pale green toned wire that you see in the piccy here) that is always connected to the headphone splitter, so you cannot lose it. The fact that its not something you need to fix on every time you come to use it, is a bonus. If giving this to children/ teens to use this is a real plus point, as they seem to go through ipod accessories including multiple sets of new headphones at the speed of light. So there can be no cries of 'mum/ dad I have lost the connector cable to the headphone splitter' with this little beauty.
~5 way music and more ~
Once you have used the input on the pale green lead to connect up to your ipod you are ready to invite a friend to enjoy your playlist. The headphone splitter has enough input spaces for up to 5 friends to plug on in and enjoy whatever you choose to inflict on them in terms of music or even films/ videos or whatever you want to call the little moving piccys you get on most ipods these days. This seems to keep our children entertained for ages and their friends have all since begged their parents for the same little gadget since we got ours.
The starfish headphone splitter is a wonderful thing to use when in the car on longer journeys, when you may have told the kids 'yes of course you can watch Toy Story again for the 100th time darlings' as they switch on the in car portable dvd player....and switch it up to full volume.......Opps! Thus totally drowning out your beloved radio 3 classical hour/ the combined works of Bach/ Korns greatest hits/ the cricket/ Lady Gaga/ 1980's disco classics etc, that you had planned to have running for the whole 6 hour drive!
In situations like that the Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter comes into its own. You can happily agree to the children watching the same old film if they insist on that, as they can be hooked up to the the dvd player whilst you listen calmly to whatever you want to. All you need in that case is as many sets of headphones as can be used safely, so that each child can sit and watch the film and listen to it at the same time, without drowning out the whole motor. Leaving you free to enjoy the traffic reports.
As for using it yourself, well there are other ways in which the headphone splitter can be used. I have found that it can be plugged into a set of speakers and then attached to the laptop or pc and then to me via my headphones, thus allowing a great mini surround sound effect to go on in my head. This enables me to drift off into a musical world of bliss oblivious to the outside noises around the home. Ah...perfect!
As the Belkin Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter splits the sound from your ipod, pc speakers or dvd player when in use, I did wonder if it would mean that we ended up with a lot of hiss or loss of sound quality. In practice the starfish headphone splitter has been something that has not allowed that to happen too much at all. The only times when I have found that sound has been compromised has been when the actual track itself has been of a low sound quality. Or sometimes when everyone using the splitter has not plugged themselves into it correctly.
Other than that I don't think that the product has caused any adverse effects on what comes out of the ipod, dvd player, or pc speakers. In fact both base and treble seem to be good and sound clearly defined. Having listened to a wide variety of music styles I have done so with no tinny or squealy noises form the treble and no overly dull and distorted base. Obviously the sound quality can be effected by how you like to have your settings on the bit of kit thats pumping out the sound in the first place. So its best to think about that before you all plug on into the headphone splitter.
~ Final product rating! ~
Having waffled on for far too long about this now I feel it needs to get a product rating. As its something we have all found to be of great use in a wide variety of situations, it just has to score highly. Its so easy to transport as its small and compact, its well made and sleek in terms of design (yes in my opinion star fishes can an do look sleek). You cannot lose the connector lead (big plus point).
It can enable you and up to 5 friends to listen to the same music track or film clip all at the same time, so if its a jokey kind of thing you are listening to, you should all get the punchline delivered at the same time. The sound quality remains good and the product is something I would certainly recommend. With all that in mind I feel this little headphone splitter certainly lives up to the fact that small can be beautiful and as such it gets a full 5 star rating.
If you need to use more than one set of headphones with a single source, such as a computer or iPod then this is the product that you need to get, it does the job really well.
There are lots of headphone splitters on the market and they all do the same thing, the problem is most of them lost a lot of sound quality every time an extra headset it plugged into the product. This doesn't have that problem and although the sound does decrease slightly, the quality remains just as high.
You can add up to four extra sets of headphones plus the original pair that you would be using anyway - that's a total of five that can be used at once. That is pretty good (however you will lose a lot of volume whilst using them all so I avoid any more than two or three).
This product doesn't have any extra features, they aren't needed though as it works well without them. One might opine that extra features would be useful, or detrimental to the overall product. That is for you to decide.
All I can say is that this product does what it is designed for and it does it well, extremely well in fact and for this reason I recommend this product to any potential buyers. The best part is that you can get it for £5!
Headphone splitters are nothing new, but Belkin's Rockstar Multi-Headphone Splitter is definitely the best I've ever used. It's a solidly built piece of gear, and does exactly what is required of it with no bells or whistles in sight, and it does so for less than a fiver.
It can take up to five 3.5mm standard headphone connections simultaneously, with the sixth outlet serving as the main connection to your audio source (i.e. your iPod, your TV, or whatever device you plan to use it with). The sixth connector has a green cable permanently attached to it, and this too has a 3.5mm connector on the end of it. There are no adapters included with the product should you need to fatten up your connectors, for example if you plan to use it with your amplifier or some other device with a 6.3mm (1/4 inch) jack. Certain mobile phones come with headphones which have connectors slightly thinner than those of standard headphones, and you'll likewise need an adapter to use these with the Rockstar.
Also included with the device is a rather useless extension cable. The cable is barely half a meter in length, and probably won't solve any distance problems you might run into. If the headphone cables connected to the device are long enough you shouldn't have any problems here, but there are situations where you'll need to buy separate extension cables. My primary use of this device is to allow family members to watch TV during the night when other members of the family are asleep. It's pretty irritating to have to reach for the remote to lower the volume every time something dramatic is happening on-screen, and this device allows us to have the volume as loud as we like. In this scenario, the device is plugged into the TV's headphone socket, extension cables are plugged into the device (one for each of us) which stretch across to the room to our headphones. The product is more specifically targeted towards iPod users who want to share a single iPod between them, and as long as you're all standing in more or less the same place extension cables won't be necessary. The cables I bought to go with the device were quite cheap, and you can probably get two or three for the same price as the Rockstar itself.
Each time a set of headphones is plugged into the device the volume of the signal coming from the audio source will decrease slightly, and if you have used up all of the available connections you'll have to turn up your TV or iPod a fair bit. The quality of the signal is not diminished, however.
It would have been very easy for Belkin to have bloated the Rockstar to bursting point with superfluous features, such as native volume controls, EQ, and so on. If they had done so the device would have suffered, if not for the inevitably higher costs then for the destruction of the device's best feature - its simplicity. The device looks attractive and has a certain futuristic feel to it, and the minimalist design fits in nicely with that of most iPods, so much so that it wouldn't look out of place to have "Belkin" replaced with "Apple" on the device's packaging.
The Rockstar splits headphone signals five ways - that's all it does, and it does it well. For less than £5 on Amazon.co.uk the Rockstar is a no-brainier for anyone who requires such functionality.