standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

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standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:02 am

OK. I realize there are "other ways" for this to occur (don't think I don't realize this).

To make it clear, I'm going to list the ways what I want to happen can't work.

1) I can't plug my headphones in directly into the 1/8" mini jack. It's broke.
2) It's a laptop, so I can't add a sound card port for $20 like a desktop.
3) The headphones I have are $200+ headphones that I WANT to use, not some cheap crap.
4) I'm not going to buy the Sennheiser USB $80 headphones. They would work perfectly, but I'm not wasting $80 to use inferior headphones.

What I want to do is very simple.

Take the 1/8" minijack at the end of my headphones and plug it into a USB device that will let me listen to audio on a laptop for less than $30. I have one of those cheap USB sound cards, but it broke. And so, I'm hoping for a more intelligent solution, that won't involve buying a tutrtlebeach/otherwise sound card that will just end up breaking.

Is there a 3.5mm to USB adapter i'm not aware of?

thanks for any help. PLEASE keep in mind my restrictions... less than $30, I realize there are sennheiser headphones that are >$30 that will plug right into USB, and I would like to basically plug my $200+ headphones into my laptop without using a 1/8" minijack directly, but rather using a USB hub.

thanks again for any ideas.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:14 am

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/control ... sku=379822

http://www.trianglecables.com/usb-audio3.html

i suggest you try a bit of googling before you post. that took me all of one minute to find on google.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 9:23 am

Of those you posted, one is $24, and the other is $50. You obviously know nothing about either of them, since you just googled them, and I suggest you consider my post-count before you refer me to google. If I wanted to ignorantly peruse google for USB sound cards, I could have. I spend hours helping people on this forum... I'm the last person you should be sending off to google. :)

http://www.usbgear.com/computer_cable_d ... =136%2C121

This is the cheapest unit I can find ($19.98). While I know nothing about that particular model, I've bought at least 40 items from usbgear.com in the last few years, so I trust them. What I want is basically an inline connector for headphones, not 2 channel+ sound unless I must go there. There's a cheap-ass turtlebeach unit for about $30 which I've tried that busted because it was inline to my hub and could not withstand moving around for some reason (now all it does is pop).

There's also a relatively common problem with inline USB sound cards that causes popping audio when you plug them into a hub (rather than directly into the computer's USB ports), which I assume is inadequate power, given most hubs can't handle a constant 1500miliamp+.

While I appreciate your effort, your post suggests you do not have any info beyond a quick google search. that's not what i'm looking for, but thanks for the effort. if anyone has some direct experience with 3.5mm to USB conversion, please let me know, particularly if you are using a USB hub. otherwise i'll just buy another crappy turtlebeach USB sound card.

=-=======================

I guess in a sense I'm looking for a 3.5m jack to USB conversion "killer app" type deal, for $9.99, so I can buy 5 of them and not have to worry about using my headphones through a sound card on any laptop/desktop. But I don't want to randomly waste $25 or $50 on one if someone knows of a cheaper one. On my primary desktop I use a $200+ amp and a $200+ set of headphones. I would love to convert the crappy 1/8" jack on a goofy USB device to my headphone amp + headphones for $10... the sound would be incredible at almost no cost (my existing 1/8" jack is busted).
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:52 am

I found this, but it's $110 :-?
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 10:59 am

morphine wrote:I found this, but it's $110 :-?



hehe morphine :)

<$30 please. i already have experience with a turtle beach USB card for $29.99, I really don't want another one (although it will be my fallback if this thread falls though). i will probably buy it over the $19.99 one on USBGEAR just because I've used it before. Still looking for that magic $9.99 solution though.
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:00 am

second one was on sale at $34
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:03 am

computron9000 wrote:hehe morphine :)

<$30 please.


Can't help you there :). I did find that thing here for $90, or you can try the Edirol UA-1EX for $80 here. Not $30, but it's 24-bit/96kHz.

I fear your magic bullet has to be made of silver, and silver is expensive :)

**edit** why not buy some cheap USB headphones and cut the cord in the middle of the analog section?
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Postposted on Sun Mar 04, 2007 11:30 pm

morphine wrote:**edit** why not buy some cheap USB headphones and cut the cord in the middle of the analog section?
Then wouldn't he have to jerry-rig another section where it is a female 1/8" plug (for his super expensive good headphone set) and another end a bunch of copper (for hot wiring the cut analog section)? I suppose this is a much easier problem to solve than a neat device which costs quite some $$.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:16 am

Something that's somewhat tangential, but I believe merits some consideration: USB audio devices are NOT merely connecting your headphones to the onboard audio source. When you plug in USB headphones, you are creating a whole other audio device at the logical level, an external sound card, if you will.

While this is a viable solution sometimes, I have trouble imagining that your <30$ audio device is going to give you an experience that matches up well to your 200$ cans.

I only bring it up because you kept referring to a 1/8" to USB adapter, and it's not nearly that simple. You can no more pipe your onboard or PCI audio over a USB port than you could over a serial DB9 or parallel DB25 port.

Anyways, tangent over, hope you knew all this already.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 1:32 am

you broke your alienware already? :( that sucks man.
the sound card on my old acer lappy broke a couple years ago. i called up acer and for $15 they sent me a new card. then again, it actually was a soundcard; yours may be integrated onto the motherboard. but it might be worth looking into.
on another note, london drugs threw in one of these when i bought my klipsch speakers on boxing day ($275cad!). they told me it was only worth $30 though.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 4:16 am

Mr. Bamboo Head wrote:you broke your alienware already? :( that sucks man.


No, this is for a different laptop, thankfully... an old busted one.


Thanks for the suggestions. Yes I'm aware that a USB device (no matter what comes out the other end) is basically a sound card in this situation. I'm just looking for cheap functionality where there is no 1/8" minijack.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 6:21 am

Flying Fox wrote:
morphine wrote:**edit** why not buy some cheap USB headphones and cut the cord in the middle of the analog section?
Then wouldn't he have to jerry-rig another section where it is a female 1/8" plug

Yes indeed.

- Get El-Cheapo branded USB headset.
- Cut the wire just a bit right after the analog section starts.
- Throw said headset in the trash where it belongs.
- Solder a 1/8" jack plug in the wires, make sure it's neat (anyone with a soldering iron can do this, it's just 3 wires).
- Profit!
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:54 am

morphine wrote:
Flying Fox wrote:
morphine wrote:**edit** why not buy some cheap USB headphones and cut the cord in the middle of the analog section?
Then wouldn't he have to jerry-rig another section where it is a female 1/8" plug

Yes indeed.

- Get El-Cheapo branded USB headset.
- Cut the wire just a bit right after the analog section starts.
- Throw said headset in the trash where it belongs.
- Solder a 1/8" jack plug in the wires, make sure it's neat (anyone with a soldering iron can do this, it's just 3 wires).
- Profit!


That's assuming, of course, that the audio converter is in the USB plug and not in the headphones themselves.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:27 am

Taddeusz wrote:That's assuming, of course, that the audio converter is in the USB plug and not in the headphones themselves.

Yeah, that's correct, though I think the only additional trouble in that situation would be tearing the phones apart. Hey, that actually might prove to be fun! :D
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:21 am

The only way to do what you're trying to do, within the constraints you've stated, is with a cheap USB soundcard. Period. But if you care enough about fidelity to insist on using $200 headphones, a $20 USB soundcard probably isn't going to make you terribly happy, since it will have crappy DACs pretty much by definition.

Any chance of getting the existing audio jack on the laptop repaired?
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:48 am

I think my headphones are confusing the issue.

Let's say I had a pair of $5 headphones and a broke headphone jack on the laptop. My goal is to spend the least amount of money to get sound working. The fact I'm going to end up using nice headphones doesn't mean I want to spend any more cash on the busted laptop than I have to.

I really don't know how I'd go about repairing it, in all honesty. I'd have to take the case off and figure out why the jack is loose and floating around about 1" inside the case from where it's supposed to be.

I guess I was hoping for some uber-cheap "usb headphone port" (hehe). It's kind of silly to buy a 7.1 channel USB sound card for $29.99 just so I can plug headphones into it.

I *had* one of those already and the thing was flimsy as hell and ended up busting (since it was an inline connector made of cheap plastic that stuck bout about 1.5" from the USB port...after a few leans in the wrong direction it finally started giving out)).

Was worth a shot, anyway. Just to clarify, it's not that I'm insisting on using my nice Sennheiser cans, it's that I don't think the headphone I choose to use affects anything... unless I'm mistaken. Plus, many people would be surprised what a nice headphone amp can do (of course, a poor source just sounds even more clearly like a poor source, in a sense).
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:06 am

computron9000 wrote:I really don't know how I'd go about repairing it, in all honesty. I'd have to take the case off and figure out why the jack is loose and floating around about 1" inside the case from where it's supposed to be.

If you can get your case open you may find that the connector is mounted on a daughter board that's held onto the side of the case with a single screw. The daughter board has probably broken loose.

Radio Shack is your friend. You can buy a replacement connector there that has a threaded barrel for mounting on a bulkhead (one nut on each side). Just solder some wires from the old connector to the new one and mount it to the case. Should cost you less than $3.
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Postposted on Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:28 pm

pulling laptops apart can be a b*tch. it gets easier every time though (and you end up with more parts left over after each episode...). but hey, like has been said, its probably the cheapest and most effective way to fix it.
just out of curiosity, is this your laptop, someone else's or a company laptop? cuz if its not yours, i wouldnt pull it apart, as there is a small risk of damaging components if you havent done it before.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2007 1:28 am

It's mine and I've taken a few apart (AND put them back together... the important part.. hah)... just gotta know what order to do things in and save all yer pieces :).

I could be wrong but the actual 1/8" jack has physical damage in addition to (a possible) daughter-board having come loose. Would be worth a look, I guess.

I'm still debating on whether I'm going to mess with it or just pick up another USB card from USBGEAR or somewhere for $20. :/
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Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:24 am

like i said, with my acer i was able to get a new sound card for $15; $7.50 for the card, $7.50 shipping. call up the manufacturer and see if thats an option.
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Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2007 6:46 am

you can look at sound blasters
there is something called sound blaster mp3 - that's 16 bit stereo sound card. Or there is a 24 bit one called Live 24 bit.
The cheapest usb soundblaster card I could find was $17.50
http://www.bizrate.com/soundcards/creat ... ation.html
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Postposted on Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:15 am

The Live! 24 USB seems to be reasonably good (I bought one for at work, so I can listen to music through something a little better than crappy integrated audio). The one potential downside I can think of is the fact that it is a fairly bulky external box that connects via a standard USB cable, instead of a dongle-style device. For desktop use that doesn't matter much, but the OP may not like that, since it is going to be used with a laptop.
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Mon Aug 24, 2009 11:14 am

I have an Acer 5672WLMi and I have the same problem you do. I just went through my first USB to 1/8 inch audio adapter and after about 2 years of light use (and by "light" I mean I used the adapter nearly every day during the academic year -- I'm a college student -- but left it plugged into my USB hub year round so I don't know how robust the jacks are since I rarely unplugged it). I used something nearly identical in design and price to this (the one I bought seems to have been discontinued):
http://www.ylmart.com/usb-2-0-to-audio-adapter.html
The quality was decent enough, though I'm not very picky with sound quality, but static can be heard at higher volumes. At the highest volume on my computer speakers the static would become significantly louder than at the second to loudest volume setting. I didn't use the mic jack much (I primarily use the USB adapter for 5.1 speakers), but the few times that I did try to use a mic with it the mic volume would be extremely low, but to be honest I don't know if it was a problem with the USB mic jack or my computer or maybe my headset. Overall, I don't regret purchasing the product at all. I would do it again to replace the one that broke after 2 years, but I bought it from a random website off Google and I want to try something from a website that I know and trust.

Now that the jack seems to have broken again, I started browsing newegg and I think I'm going to try this next, based on the high(er) number of 4-5 star reviews:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6812186035

I hope your situation worked out...it's too bad I didn't find this thread until now. If you need more information on my first USB adapter, just ask and I'll try my best to answer -- my level of computer and audio knowledge is pretty low though, so I may not be able to answer many technical questions.
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:18 pm

I bought a cheap USB audio adapter (lists for under $20 US) and had no real issues with it. That was after doing some searching, though, so it wasn't an impulse buy. It uses a C-Media chip, doesn't pop, and has a consistent, very low line noise. This is very much unlike an Audigy 2 ZS Notebook (PCMCIA) which popped loudly whenever there was no audio information and had a terrible, constant hiss when it was on. I recommend anything C-Media-based at this point for USB audio, given mine is a virtual no-name brand and using lowest available chipset at that point in time (about two years ago.) You can get away with running other vendors' drivers for the same chipset, by the way, so software isn't much of an issue.

Forge wrote:I only bring it up because you kept referring to a 1/8" to USB adapter, and it's not nearly that simple. You can no more pipe your onboard or PCI audio over a USB port than you could over a serial DB9 or parallel DB25 port.
True. There was some really strange customizations to those ports at times since more pins were available than needed. Theoretically a vendor may have, in the past, piped on-board audio onto unused pins and bundled a break-out cable, but I have never read about or come across such an arrangement.
What I have done, though, is make a digital to analog converter for a parallel port to produce 8-bit mono sound. It isn't piping audio from a soundcard, but there was enough software support to get it running in some MS-DOS games as well as working under Windows 3.1 via a driver. The most fun I ever had with a soldering project. :-p
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:13 pm

People really used the good old Disney SoundSource and its clones, eh? :o
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:25 am

It always weirds me out when people dig up a 2 or 3 year old thread and reply. It really creeps me out when I'm quoted. At least I've been agreeing with my old quotes more often the last few years. :p
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:26 am

probably need to auto-lock threads after 6 months. :lol:
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:01 am

Forge wrote:It always weirds me out when people dig up a 2 or 3 year old thread and reply. It really creeps me out when I'm quoted. At least I've been agreeing with my old quotes more often the last few years. :p

derFunkenstein wrote:probably need to auto-lock threads after 6 months. :lol:

Well, I agree there's definitely a line somewhere; but I'm not sure 6 months is the right place to draw it. We also chastise people for starting new threads on topics which have already been covered. The person who dug this thread up obviously found it via a forum or Google search, and his question was at least relevant to the original topic... even though it was a couple of years old.
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:00 pm

FWIW I don't see any problem with necro'ing a thread if the new information truly is valuable and a worthwhile continuation of the previous saga.
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Re: standard 1/8" audio jack to USB?? Headphones --> USB

Postposted on Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:39 pm

Problem is, most of the time it isn't. Take a look at the recent necro in networking.

Sorry for the off topic.
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