A Possible Fix/Workaround to Headphone Audio Bleeding into Dedicated Microphones

Some modern headsets cause unexpected microphone feedback from your voice when you have a dedicated microphone. Here’s a possible solution.

It’s seemingly a common story. An old headset finally wears out and it’s time to get a new one. You buy it, come home, and the audio sounds great. However, you have run into a problem: for some reason, your voice is being heard in an unexpected way. This is problematic if you are like me and use a dedicated microphone because all that technology to make your voice sound fantastic goes straight out the window. I ran into this very problem, but lucky for me, I was able to work out a solution.

Troubleshooting the Problem

An obvious way to resolve the problem is to go into your devices manager and mute the microphone. Sometimes, sliding the microphone volume all the way to 0 also helps. This is under both the playback and recording tabs. For some, this might be the solution you are looking for. Unfortunately for me, this wasn’t the solution that worked for me.

My Solution

I had something working for me when trouble shooting this problem. The microphone on my headset was detachable. I hadn’t installed it yet. The mysterious problem was that I would load Audacity and could see myself talking even though my dedicated microphone was unplugged. There is no microphone attached to the headset, so it should be physically impossible for me to hear myself. Yet, I could plainly see (and hear) my voice being picked up anyway.

The question is, what other devices are still connected to my computer that could possibly pick up my voice? As it turned out, I had a web cam which also happens to have a built in microphone. When I hit record in Audacity, then tapped the webcam, the microphone audio spiked. It wasn’t the head set picking up my voice, but rather, the webcam. So, the solution ended up being simple where I muted the web cam microphone and slid it all the way to 0 for good measure. As a result, I had solve this problem.

Possible Reason Why This is Happening

Ordinarily, when you plug in a device, and Windows defaults to that device, other recording devices are muted. For some head sets, however, this is overridden and any audio picked on any microphone gets picked up. I don’t know why this is, but it strikes me as a bad design choice. Either way, every microphone device is all of a sudden live even if they have nothing to do with the head set.

While this solution works around this problem and doesn’t solve the original problem, it is a possible solution that works around this issue. You can’t have feedback from other microphones if all other microphones are muted. Just remember to turn that microphone back on if you want to use that other device’s microphone after.

I hope this helps someone else out there who is having a similar problem.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.