How to Use a Single Jack Headset on Your PC Without Splitter

Wired headphones and PC (From: Unsplash)
Wired headphones and PC (From: Unsplash)

Solutions that allow you to use your single jack headset with your PC, without the need for a splitter.

Although wireless headsets are becoming increasingly more popular, many still prefer the simple plug-and-play aspect of wired headsets. While this functionality proves effective most of the time, it can fall short when you find yourself trying to connect a headset with a single jack to a PC that has individual input and output ports.

This can turn what would otherwise be a simple connection into potentially hours of troubleshooting. Definitely not something you can do if you have a business call in the next few minutes!

Luckily, there are a few things you can try to get it working. Today, we’re going to take a look at how you can use a single jack headset on PC.

Wired headphones and PC (From: Unsplash)
Wired headphones and PC (From: Unsplash)

Can You Use a Single Jack Headphone With Your PC Without a Splitter?

Over the years, headsets have moved towards a single, dual-purpose jack instead of two separate jacks for both input and output.

Older PCs generally feature separate ports for audio and input, as headsets back then usually offered two separate jacks. It’s what made sense at the time.

In most cases where you’re using a PC that features separate ports for audio and input, you’ll find it’s necessary to use a splitter to get full use out of your single-jack headset.

However, if you don’t have a splitter at hand, it may still be possible for you to use your headset without it and still get both headphone and microphone functionality.

Why Do People Use Single Jack Headsets?

There are many reasons why some prefer to use single jack headsets, but at the end of the day, it generally comes down to preference. Here are some of them:

Convenience

Because they only feature a single cable, single jack headsets are much less cumbersome. They also take up less desk space, seeing as there’s only one cable to manage.

The cable for your headset houses wires. These wires are very sensitive, and are considered one of the most fragile parts that make up your headset. The added benefit of having just one cable is that you only have to take care of one cable, not multiple.

Flexibility

Most consumer electronics, like smartphones and modern laptops, now use 3.5mm Tip Ring Ring Sleeve (TRRS) ports. These ports are what allow both input and output functionality through a single connection, as opposed to Tip Ring Sleeve (TRS) ports that only allow output.

Because TRRS ports are now so commonly used, single-jack headsets can be used with most devices with ease.

TRRS jacks can be visually distinguished by the three plastic rings that are featured on the jack itself. Find out more about them in our ultimate guide on headphone jack and plugs.

Can You Use a TRRS Jack With a TRS Port?

Different types of headphone plugs
Different types of headphone plugs

In most cases, yes, you can use a headset that has a TRRS jack with a TRS port.

One important thing to note, however, is that when using a TRRS headset in a TRS port, you won’t be able to use your headset for input and output simultaneously. This is because the TRS port is not designed to accommodate functionality for both at the same time.

On top of this, TRS ports are manufactured to accept either input or output signals, but not both. This means that if the TRS port was intended for output only, your microphone will not work if plugged in.

With this in mind, this combination is only useful if you’re using the headset as an output-only or input-only device.

How to Use Your Single Jack Headset With Your PC Without a Splitter

Before you go running out to buy yourself a splitter, you’re probably looking for ways to save some cash and use your headset without one.

Luckily, as mentioned, there are a few solutions you can try to circumvent the lack of two jacks. They’re free, and have proven useful for others who have previously faced this problem.

The exact steps you need to take may vary slightly based on the operating system you’re using.

While these solutions have proven effective for some, there’s no guarantee that they will work for all. If they don’t work for you, your best alternative would be investing in a splitter.

For older PCs

  1. Click on Start, then search for the Control Panel. Open it.

    Search for Control Panel.
    Search for Control Panel.

  2. Click on Sound.

    Opening Sound.
    Opening Sound.

  3. Once the window opens, click on the Recording tab.

    Click the Recording tab.
    Click the Recording tab.

  4. Left-click on your device, then click on Set Default.

    Set your headset as default.
    Set your headset as default.

For Mac

  1. Using the Spotlight Search tool, search for Sound.

    Search for Sound using Spotlight Search. (From: YouTube/iHelp)
    Search for Sound using Spotlight Search. (From: YouTube/iHelp)

  2. Click into the Input tab, then left-click on the device you want to use to make it the default.

    Left-click your preferred device. (From: YouTube/iHelp)
    Left-click your preferred device. (From: YouTube/iHelp)

For newer PCs

In most newer PCs, you’ll often find a dual-purpose port. This port is made to be compatible with headsets that use the TRRS jack, which allows both headphone and microphone capabilities through a single connection.

If your PC has one, simply plug your headset into this port and you should be up and running immediately. If your headset isn’t working properly, try adjusting the settings shown for older PCs.

Conclusion

These quick and easy solutions are a great way to get your single-jack headset up and running on your PC, without the need for a splitter.

Did any of the above solutions work for you? If not, what did you do to get your headset working with your PC? Let us know in the comments!

2 comments

  1. I’m using bootcamp on a mac with windows 10, and the headphones aren’t working. Is this a hardware issue?

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