questionsare there any alternatives for "sound out" if a…

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I posted this in the other thread too.

For $8, he can get this and he will be all set for anything (regular speakers, headphones, etc.):
http://www.amazon.com/Syba-SD-CM-UAUD-Adapter-C-Media-Chipset/dp/B001MSS6CS

Alternatively, he can get either of these that feed directly off the USB port:
http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-ClearChat-Comfort-Headset-Black/dp/B000UXZQ42
http://www.amazon.com/HP-NN109AA-ABA-Mini-Speakers/dp/B0027JLIVM

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Another vote for the USB audio devices. They work pretty well, I still have a Plantronics one that came with a headset I used for work. Easy way to add a second / replacement jack, though as it is a distinct sound card you may have to change settings to make sure the right output device is being used. Minor hassle to get a working jack again.

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I've tried a handful of cheap usb sound devices for my hackintosh, and one or two expensive-ish. All have worked just fine with no need to install any drivers.

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@caffeine_dude: Thanks for the link! Both you and thefenst posted the same Amazon link so I will go with that item! Appreciate your help very much! @thefenst: Thanks for posting your answer here. I checked back and did not see a reply so I decided to post the question. I must have checked before you posted it! You have been very helpful. Thanks for seconding the Amazon link posted by caffine_dude! @apfrehm: Thanks for the vote on the USB audio device for my son's Macbook. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "it is a distinct sound card..you may have to change settings to make sure the right output device is being used." Afterall, I didn't even know what to buy to fix this... @sstaylor: Good to know this is not rocket science! Thanks for the response.

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On my laptop I can use the microphone jack to output sound. Just requires changing a setting in the sound options.

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What I think @apfrehm means is that USB sound card is an audio device IN ADDITION to the audio device that's built into your computer. So if you just plug it in, it might not work because your system thinks that the original sound device is just fine and dandy. You might need to configure your system to output its sound through the new USB device rather than through your old integrated device... unless the Mac treats both devices as working simultaneously.

I'm not familiar with a Mac, so I can't really offer anything more constructive than that. Sorry!

Edit: from a review on that amazon product page, it seems that you might need to open up the "Sound preference pane" and select the USB device as the input/output device.

"In Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 ... installation was plug-and-play, the device was immediately recognized after plugging in, although I had to manually select it as the input/output device in the Sound preference pane."

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I'm in a school environment and kids always seem to break off the headphone inside the jack. USB adapters are the best solution I've found and they are dirt cheap online.

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@sirlouie: Yep, thanks for clarifying, that's exactly what I meant.

Another consideration when getting one of these is that it might be worth picking up a very short USB extension. Maybe it is just me, but the small length of flexible cord makes me much less concerned about bumping the USB device and snapping something off. The Turtle Beach models are made like this, with a short cord, but that's way more money than you need to spend to get the same effect.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0036VO4X4/ref=s9_simh_gw_p23_d0_i6?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0ES0DY32PMETX7KJTM16&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

I use this cable with a Yubikey, the device feels pretty flimsy and I'm paranoid of snapping it in two and losing access. The cable lets it hang off the laptop, much smaller chance of breaking (er...me breaking it.)
http://www.amazon.com/6in-USB-Extension-Adapter-Cable/dp/B000E5CYW8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1306250319&sr=1-1

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If you are looking for a cheap USB extension cable, look no further than Meritline. From 11 inches to 33 feet, you can get a USB extension cable as cheaply as $1.99 shipped (although you'll probably have to wait several weeks for it to arrive).

Edit: the last link I put in here didn't work. Try this one:
http://www.meritline.com/usb-cable-a-to-a-male-female---c-7749.aspx

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@iggz: I didn't know you could do that...thanks! But I'm not sure that is working either...I'll have to ask.

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@sirlouie: Thanks for explaining this...if the adapter doesn't work I will see if something needs to be done using your this suggestion.

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@apfrehm: Wow...all this is very helpful but I am getting way too many options. I wanted this to be a surprise for him but I think I may have to have him read this question and see what he thinks will work best given the different choices. This is the best forum to get expert and real advice quickly from very knowledgeable people..Thanks so much!

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@cindihoward: Sorry, didn't mean to overcomplicate this. you should really be fine with the Syba devices already posted by @caffeine_dude and @thefenst
http://www.amazon.com/Syba-SD-CM-UAUD-Adapter-C-Media-Chipset/dp/B001MSS6CS?tag=dealswoot-20

and either of the usb cables. The Amazon one would let you get both from Amazon, probably easiest that way. Two reasons for the extension are the aforementioned one, and that (depending on model) the usb sound card might block neighboring ports if it is too fat near the plug. The cable prevents that as well.