HDMI Audio Didn't Work
My Dell monitor has HDMI-in and a random mini-plug jack that says "audio out." I assumed incorrectly that I could connect headphones / speakers to this and be done. Nope. That jack was totally useless. I couldn't get sound to come out of that thing no matter how hard I tried. After a bunch of googling and fiddling, I gave up.
Output PS3 Audio Via the RCA Jacks
So I set the PS3 to output the audio via the RCA jacks, while keeping video on HDMI. My kick-ass JBL studio monitors have RCA audio ins, so I connected the cables to these. This worked, but the audio was freakin' loud. Even the volume controls on the monitors themselves proved useless--setting to 0 was silent, while 1 was too loud. Plus, the knobs on the studio monitors are in the back, and I don't like adjusting them because I set them perfectly for my Mac. I use my Mac audio device (Apogee Duet2) to control the master volume. Unfortunately, the PS3 has no master volume control.
How About Headphones?
PS3 has no headphone jack, so I got a simple converter to change the RCA audio plugs to mini-plug. I connected headphones and got audio. But again, there was no way to control the volume. Games were OK, but Netflix was too loud.
My Solution: A Simple Volume Control
I figured my problem would be solved if I could just find a simple volume controller to put between the RCA audio out and the speakers / headphones. I found a nice one made by Fostex (http://www.fostexinternational.com/docs/products/PC-1eBW.shtml). It was only around $12 and much smaller than expected. Now I can control the volume of the signal coming out of the PS3, so my JBLs don't explode. It sounds awesome--a testament to man-cave engineering!
While researching my PS3 audio problem, I had some other ideas which may be more suitable. I didn't pursue these; but in theory they should work.
- I found a bluetooth audio transmitter that allows you to use a
bluetooth device (e.g. wireless headphones / speakers) with a
non-bluetooth mini-plug audio device (e.g. old-school iPod,
PS3's audio out, etc). I may eventually check this out
since it would be cool to use my bluetooth headphones with my
PS3 (e.g. late at night). I'm not 100% sure if this would
solve the volume control problem, but most all bluetooth devices
have an integrated volume control, so it should
work. Here in Japan the tech manufacturers Logitec &
Buffalo offer these devices.
- Use corded headphones with their own volume control.
I've seen some headphones that have a small volume slider
built-in. In my case I wanted the flexibility of using my
headphones and speakers, so I went with the separate volume
control. My Jabra bluetooth headphones have an option to
use them cabled, so I did try this at one point.
Unfortunately, the volume control didn't work. I assume
that's a bluetooth-only feature, which is why I think you'd need
corded headphones for this.
- Get the "official" PS3 wireless headphones (http://us.playstation.com/ps3/accessories/wireless-stereo-headset-ps3.html). Most PS3 audio devices are only used for game chat. This really sucks because I thought I could just pair my bluetooth headphones with the PS3 and be done. Nope! However, Sony's official PS3 wireless headphones look like they do both the chat and game audio. I didn't go with this option because I already have so many headphones and didn't want to spring for yet another pair. Also, this again would be a headphone-only solution.
- I know you can also connect the PS3's audio to an amp for more
control. I personally try to keep my setup simple (things
get out of control quickly); and living in Japan, space is a
constant concern. If you have the space and money, go for
it. 7.1 optical audio must sound amazing.
Please let me know if you have any other ideas!
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