I'm an audio beginner.

I'm required to design a box with a jack for a headset and connector for an unknown cable going to a Windows desktop PC.

The headset has the standard 3.5 mm plug for the microphone, right speaker, left speaker, and ground.

The intention is that there's a user at a desktop PC who will communicate with the user of the headset.


  1. The box is only pass-through. What's the best cable I can use to pass these low-level signals between headset and Windows desktop PC? Distance is 15 meters.
  2. At the desktop PC side, what's the best hardware I can use so Windows desktop PC can receive/process these signals? I'm thinking USB link to PC but not sure what's available out there.

1 Answer 1


Really can't recommend trying to make a poor headset microphone work over 15m, even with really good cable. The amount of noise you pick up stands in no relation to the current produced by such a microphone.

Since 15m (and the earlier 10m, but it makes no sense to work with two specifications, if one is harder) is too long for USB, you'll have to have box at close to the PC that either enhances

  • the robustness of the digital signal, before the conversion to/from analog happens at the headset end, or
  • the robustness of the analog signal going to the headset and, a box at the headset end increasing the robustness of the analog signal going to the PC side.

First of all, in professional (stage) audio, 15m is "not much", and is pretty normally driven with balanced audio signals – but that means your microphone will have to be balanced, and typically active (typically, an electret using the phantom voltage from the receiver) and typically more expensive. So, cost-wise, this isn't that attractive.

You can usually re-drive USB 1 and USB 2 signals pretty reliably; basically, have a USB hub after a couple of meters, then another one a couple of meters later and so on. In fact, there's even "active" USB extension cords that pretty much do that. So, that's your easiest solution. Attach a USB sound device at the end. Done; nothing to "design" on your part.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Marcus. That's what I'm afraid of so I guess USB looks like the most cost-effective solution. Been looking at this: temposemi.com/applications/headphones/… Just waiting now for confirmation on headset plug connection details. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 4:08
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ PC Headset microphones are invariably electret. You should have no problem running 15m provided you use suitable cable. Ideally you’d have three individually screened cores, but one screened core and a twisted pair would be ok. At a push just use a screened cable for the microphone and anything you can find for the audio output. You may be able to find a purpose-made cable with a 3.5 plug on one and socket on the other. Linking a couple of shorter cables together isn’t ideal but will work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Frog
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ that's the plan at the moment..... prototypes will be ready this month but cable might be next month...... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 21:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.