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I had issues with crosstalk (microphone picking up headphones sounds) and thought it was caused by headset.

So I removed headset's original cable, put 4 pole female 3.5mm jack on the headset and connected it with cable to pc through 4 pole to 2x 3 pole jack splitter. Result: Even more cross talk.

So I have experimented with different connections and this is what I have found out about amount of crosstalk:

  • Front PC audio connectors > Rear PC audio connectors
  • Separate ground wires for headphones and microphone > Common ground wires

Front audio connectors have common ground wire from connectors to mother board. Rear audio connectors have also common ground. So shorter common ground means less cross talk? From what I understood wire resistance and microphone impedance also affects amount of crosstalk, but I don't know what could I do about it.

What should I do to reduce crosstalk as much as possible?

Should I put up with discomfort of running 2 wires to rear PC audio?

Should I just slap USB sound card into headset and call it a day?

Is there an optimal solution? Thanks in advance for all advices.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Giving each audio signal its own return path is good. I'd also recommend using shielded wire. You can reduce wire resistance by using thicker gauge wires, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth May 11 '18 at 11:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ How have you ruled out acoustic feedback? Headphones often leak a substantial amount of sound unless they are specifically designed not to. \$\endgroup\$ – pipe May 11 '18 at 11:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @pipe My current temporary solution is that I have separate wires, headphones to rear, mic to front. Acoustic feedback is really quiet, hardly audible over noise. \$\endgroup\$ – typekcz May 11 '18 at 12:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Felthry But 5 core wire with shielding would be pretty thick. Not to mention that I would need to solder my own conectors because that probably won't be off-the-shelf product. \$\endgroup\$ – typekcz May 11 '18 at 12:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I mean thicker conductors, larger cross sectional area. I didn't realize you wanted just off-the-shelf things, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Hearth May 11 '18 at 12:31
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I tried putting USB sound card into the headphones and it's working very well.

  • Relatively cheap solution
  • No crosstalk at all
  • Single thin cable

I even put micro USB connector on headphones so I can change cable if it breaks. Only issue I have is that microphone is quieter because USB sound card don't have in Windows option to boost input.

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You are right @typekcz as I too discovered - the crosstalk problem appears to be an electrical design issue of the "common audio ground" of the mic and speaker jacks. Connecting an amplifier speaker to the headphone jack seem to not cause the crosstalk, its only headphones. The solution, as you too suggested, is to separate the grounds for the two connectors.

After reading your comment, I resolved it by running a separate ground wire from the rear pc stereo output jack's sleeve, by looping it around the speaker jack end, to the headphone jack's ground.

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