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.

  • \$\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
    Commented May 11, 2018 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
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 11:11
  • 1
    \$\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
    Commented May 11, 2018 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
    Commented May 11, 2018 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
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 12:31

3 Answers 3


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.


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.


3 years later, same problem, but found a fix. You basically enable Noise Suppression and AEO (Acoustic Echo Cancellation).

  1. Open Sound Panel: Right click on the speaker icon at the bottom-right corner of your screen and click Open Volume Mixer. Then Click on System Sounds.
  2. Open your Device Properties: Go to Recording tab, then right click on your input device and click Properties.
  3. Make sure you leave everything as follows:

Disable all sound effects (UNMARKED).

Noise Suppression (MARKED).

Acoustic Echo Cancellation (MARKED).

  • \$\begingroup\$ This can be also a solution, but it is't perfect. My experience was that it doesn't work well if people talk over each other. But it's still worth mentioning so other people know that this is an option. \$\endgroup\$
    – typekcz
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 11:26

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