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Audio combo jack vs headphone/earphone with mic and speaker connector

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Started ‎06-14-2010 by
Modified ‎04-04-2014 by
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Audio combo jack vs headphone/earphone with mic and speaker connector

Question

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I see the audio combo jack in my T510 (identified as number 6 in the image above), but I've used a regular headphone in it without plugging in the mic connector.

 

 How do I hook up a regular microphone - does the port "know" the difference between 2- or 3-conductor microphone plug and a stereo headphone plug?

 

How do I use a headset with separate mic and speaker connections?  Is there an adapter I need?

Answer

 

This integrated headphone / microphone port uses a 4 section plug (identified with 3 black / colored rings).

You can plug a standard headphone in, and it should work by itself as noted.  A spliter cable may be required to support a stand alone microphone properly.

 

There are 2 solutions to make full use of the port:

 

  1. Obtain a  headset / microphone with combo jack or
  2. Purchase a "Y"  adapter that can connect your current headphone with separate mic and speaker back to the system audio combo jack.

Here is an example of the adapter / splitter listed on Amazon.   There are a number of companies that make competitive versions of this priced between $10 and $15 .

 

The good thing about the combo jack is that it works with the hundreds of 3.5mm phone headsets which a lot of people already carry. There is a wide range of these splitters available on the market, spanning a range of price and quality points. (newer Blackberry, iPhone, etc. headsets).

 

 See comments below this article for additional customer tried / recommended splitters, or check the "Related Links" to the article to view the related forum discussions on this topic.


Comments
by mis-dept on ‎10-19-2011 11:54 AM

I found the following compatible headsets, today. The GE VoIP All-in-One Foldable Headset (Model: 95432) and the GE VoIP All-in-One Headset (Model: 98974). I just ordered the foldable one. Hopefully, they're of good quality.

by dickcombo on ‎01-26-2012 07:21 AM
combo jack its the most stupid idea what was discover very hard found headphones with combo jack and i dont like small headphones from phone :/
by conlapuertaroja on ‎02-01-2012 10:27 PM

i bought this splitter for the combo jack, and while it'll output sound via the headphone side (from iTunes, e.g.), my thinkpad (t420) won't recognize any input from the microphone side (from an actual microphone). it defaults to the built-in mic and won't give me any other options. any ideas on how i can activate the microphone part of the combo jack? thanks!

by Ernie_Samuels ‎03-23-2012 01:13 PM - edited ‎03-23-2012 01:14 PM

conlapuertaroja, you could get the 'wiretap' from www.esdevices.com, it  preserves the combo jack on one side, so you can just use your phone headset or lapel mic

by wwendt on ‎09-13-2012 08:28 AM

http://shop.adaptare.de/public/catalog_xmlxslproductsearch.aspx?qs=14022&art=SetSearch&suid=526&zid=88d79ed2-dd47-439c-b7f9-671d2aa7d1cd

Adapter PC-Headset 2-mal 3,5-mm an iPhone + Galaxy SII

I use it with/ ich benutze ihn mit  Lenovo Thinkpad Edge 530 - cheap and works both ways/Preiswert und funktioniert in beiden Richtungen.

Steckerbelegung/Pin assignment:  L / R / GND / MIC

by daimonding on ‎09-11-2013 02:30 AM

<p>i bought a headphone from this site: www.drebeatshome.com, i feel very wonderful, just like headphone/earphone with mic.</p>

by LuigiBlack on ‎05-23-2014 09:35 AM

Hi!

I have the same problem as other people above.

I BOUGHT a converter and it isn't work. The microphone of my headset is silent, just the laptop's inner mic works and it's annoying. Why? Because i did what this site TOLD ME and it didn't help.

So...if this is a problem with a setting (for example i just have to activate my headset mic) than please help.

And please don't tell me that my Y cable is bad and buy an another one 'cause it's fine.

Thanks.

by schicht on ‎07-27-2014 04:38 AM

In order to get an external microphone working with my G510 I use a splitter cable with two inputs, headset and mic. When powering up the splitter cable must be disconnected. After powering up the notebook I plug in the splitter cable first, then the headset and finally the external microphone into the splitter cable.

Using this three step sequence is the only way having the external microphone recognized by the notebook. After hours of searching on the web, without result, I discovered this by trial and error.

Turning on the notebook with the mic in place will result in not having recognized the external microphone. Maybe this is because of the low impendance of the microphone or low power output, I have no idea, But my three step sequence will always result in recognizing my external mic on my G510 with combo audio jack.

by grouse on ‎07-31-2014 02:14 PM
As previously stated, the Lenovo “Combo” jack is not well suited for microphone input. In fact the users’ guide for my E545 expressly states it “does not support a conventional microphone”. Chances are, you may want to feed your laptop line-level audio, and you may have a need for stereo if you’re getting your audio from a music related source. A better way of getting that audio into your machine is to use a USB audio input device which converts audio to a digital format and inputs it using the USB connector. A recommended input device is the Behringer UCA202 which is available on Amazon and elsewhere. There are also a number of other USB converters available on-line.
by Toondog ‎01-24-2015 02:50 PM - edited ‎01-24-2015 05:18 PM

I appreciate the candid remarks here about what the combo jack is "not well suited" for.  Those who've been plagued with this issue have probably looked around the internet, and have seen elsewhere some misleading information about ways to "fix" this annoyance.  I have a Lenovo U430P, and I have spent weeks, and way too much money, to discover you CANNOT, in any of the ways suggested, use a "reguar",external standalone microphone in the stupid "combo jack", as the OP wishes.

 

At least, that's what I have found with the Lenovo U430P. Maybe some would benefit from what I've found, although I realize your results may vary  on other models.

 

 

1. The "Headset Buddy" will NOT work with any regular microphone, nor is it advertised for that.  It is for a headset, not a standalone mic.  There is NO kind of "splitter" that I can find, that will do this.  Please do not waste your money that way, if you want to use a conventional mic.

 

2. The "Rockit" and similar devices do NOT work for this -- it is also made for a headset, and is mainly for smartphones.  If you try it with a standalone mic, and a laptop combo port,  you may get some sound after a lot of fiddling, but it will be a horrible racket.

 

3. The Turtle Beach Amigo II is a simple external USB sound card that is good for listening to headphones if your sound card breaks, and I believe mine used to work with an external mic on older laptops that had a real, dedicated microphone jack.  But its mic connection will NOT work with my U430P, or perhaps in any Win 8.1 laptop...

 

4. The smaller, similar USB sound card by Sabrent will NOT do anything for you.  I have bought some Sabrent products that work, but this is not one of them.

 

5. You CANNOT fix this problem with any software settings in WIndows 8.1 or Realtek.  It does NOT help to check or uncheck this or that box in audio settings.  It does NOT help to uninstall  Realtek High Definition Audio.

 

Face it:  Lenovo and the other hardware mfrs deliberately killed the microphone port as you knew it.  It is not coming back,   because they imagine nobody wants to use a real microphone in a microphone port, at least not on a laptop.  Don't fall for alleged workarounds -- they did this on purpose, and they need to admit that you CANNOT use a micrphone the way you used to.  The assumption is that the only mic you'll use is the tiny bud in a headset, and that you really want just one jack for listening and talking. Maybe that's true for some, but the tradeoff is that the laptop designers have killed the mic port, not improved it.

 

Now, what DOES work for a "real" microphone?  In a word, USB.  Not the Amigo II or the Sabrent, but a suitable USB external audio device.

 

1. You can get a great USB micrrophone for less $ than I spent trying to make the "combo port" work.  The Blue "Snowball" is fantastic and even the under-$10 USB mic I tried is usable, if noisy.  Or,

 

2. A full-service USB external soundcard -- I got the Creative Soudblaster XF Surround 5.1, for pretty cheap because it's the "old" model, and it works great with any mic I plug into it.

 

So that's been my experience.  Others may have found simpler tweaks that work, but I am very skeptical they will work with the U430P or frankly other modern laptops with that ridiculous "combo" port.  Good luck, folks -- I hope this helps somebody.