I need to record voice on my old desktop PC (Asus P5B-SE - Windows 7). There are three lines on back panel: two with speaker icon and one with microphone icon. Also there are two lines on front panel (one speaker and one microphone) which seems not working.

I connected a smart phone headset to microphone line. Realtek software detected it as microphone. However, it doesn't use microphone of headset; instead, it uses its speakers as microphone! I have to shout in a really near distance (less than 5cm) to record a weak sound.

On my laptop (Acer Aspire E1-572G), when I connect headset, I have three options in Realtek software and when if select headset, it uses both microphone and speaker of headset.

Is it an old incompatible hardware problem? Isn't there any software solution? I've heard about some adapters which separate microphone and speaker lines.


Yes, you need an adaptor.

These are the three main types of connector for mic/speakers/headset

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Image from CableChick - Understanding TRRS & Audio Jacks

These are generally referred to by the number of 'stripes'.
Left is Tip, Sleeve - TS - usually used for a mono mic
Centre is Tip, Ring, Sleeve - TRS - used for regular stereo headphones
Right is Tip, Ring, Ring, Sleeve - TRRS - used for a combination headset/mic.

Your laptop uses a single TRRS socket - headphones left/right, mic & ground.

Your desktop has two sockets
TRS for speakers/headphones - left/right, ground
TS for mic - mono, ground [These are sometimes wired with another TRS, but the functionality is the same to the end user]

When you plug your TRRS headset into the desktop's mic input, it's going to be fairly random as to which of the rings is going to connect - in your case, i'ts one of the speakers.

Just search for "headset splitter" - input will be TRRS, output often both TRS, but this should work.

  • Just wanted to mention: Not one, but both speakers act like microphone! Jul 14 '20 at 10:53
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    On a technical level, there's not much difference between a speaker and a microphone. One uses electromagnetic impulses to vibrate a membrane that makes sound, while one has a membrane which is vibrated by sound and produces electromagnetic impulses. Obviously speakers are optimized to make sound while mics are optimized to detect it, but either can do the opposite of what it's designed for to a lesser extent if wired incorrectly. (Though this can cause damage in some cases.) Jul 14 '20 at 20:27
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    Some laptops do have TRRS sockets, like on phones/tablets, but by the sounds of it not the OP's. There have also been headsets using different permutations of the connections, but these are probably only an issue if (like me) you have a drawer of random accessories from old phones etc.
    – Chris H
    Jul 14 '20 at 20:32
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    When I was a kid, I used to plug in my 1/4" headphones into the microphone jack on my uncle's expensive stereo system so I could record my own "radio show" on a cassette. I don't know how I discovered that I could record my voice through the headphones. But like @DarrelHoffman mentioned, most electronic components work both ways. An LED is also photovoltaic (generates electricity from light) a motor can also be a generator. Electricity combined with code is the closest thing to magic we have. Jul 15 '20 at 1:18
  • 1
    @ChrisH OP is having an issue with a desktop, which typically do not have the TRRS sockets.
    – Nelson
    Jul 16 '20 at 3:32

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