Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PS3 Audio

Today I finally figured out a way to improve the audio output of my PS3. I have been struggling since January trying to accomplish the simple task of listening to PS3 audio on my headphones. The problem comes in trying to convert the RCA stereo signal into TRS for my headphones. The local dollar store has a great selection of cheap (about three to four dollars) audio connectors and converters. Its a good thing these components are cheap because I have encountered basically every combination of audio problems imaginable. The most common problem is that I can only get a single channel of audio output in the left channel of my headphones. With some additional components, I can convert the stereo signal into a mono signal, so that both channels play in only the left channel of my headphones. For the last two months I have been using the mic and headphone jack of my computer to convert the mono signal so that it plays on both channels of my headphones. The problem with this solution is that the conversion process results in a large reduction in sound quality. Surprisingly, in Windows the sound quality is noticeably better than in Linux.

My new solution bypasses the need for a computer. I'll explain my setup in case anyone else has this problem. I first convert the two RCA channels into a single TRS stereo connection using a 2 female RCA to 1 male TRS converter. The real trick comes here: using a normal female TRS to female TRS connector to plug in my headphones does not work since this results in audio only in the left channel of my headphones. Instead, I am using a 2 female TRS to 1 male TRS connector, except leaving the male TRS unconnected. Perhaps using cheap components has been the cause of all the problems I have been having, but I am thrilled to finally have high quality stereo audio.

In other news, this summer I will be working in a bioinformatics research lab on campus. It is called the Tria Project and studies mountain pine beetles. Should be fun!