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How to convert a headphone jack to USB on Windows 10

Audio devices can generally connect using three different methods; the audio jack, a USB port, and Bluetooth. With Bluetooth, devices don’t need a physical port and are often wireless and easily portable. With Audio jack and USB devices, a physical port is required but there will never be any lag and the sound quality will generally be better unless you’ve bought exceptionally high-quality Bluetooth audio speakers.

If you have an audio device that connects via the headphone jack, but you need it to work via a USB port, for whatever reason, it’s fairly easy to do so.

Jack to USB converter

In order to convert an audio jack port to a USB port, you need a converter. This converter is available under many different names e.g., external sound card, USB to audio converted, audio jack to USB converter, etc.

The price isn’t too steep either with knock-offs going for as low as $1. When purchasing it, make sure it is compatible with your OS. A converter can be used with a stand-alone mic, a set of speakers with a single audio pin, a headset that has a separate pin for audio input and output.

Convert a headphone jack to USB

To use your headphones via the USB port, follow the steps below;

  1. Connect your headphones (or mic or speakers) to the correct input port on the converter. You will see a mic symbol for input and a headphones symbol for output.
  2. Once the pins have been inserted into the converter, connect the converter to a USB port on your Windows 10 system.
  3. You will hear the generic new hardware found audio alert. Wait for the device is ready to use desktop message to appear.
  4. Once the device is ready, open the Control Panel.
  5. Go to Hardware and Sound>Sound.
  6. Go to the Recording and Playback tabs, individually and check if a USB sound device has shown up. Select it, right-click the device, and select the ‘Set as default’ option from the context menu.
  7. You can now use the audio device to record or play audio (depending on the type of device you’ve connected).

Conclusion

Generally speaking there won’t be much difference, if any, between the audio quality you get from the jack or from the converter. If you experience lag, the converter is likely faulty. You can try connecting it to a different USB port to see if that fixes the problem.

As for normal sound distortion and interference, an external audio card i.e., a converter will not be able to reduce it. If you’re getting a lot of noise in your recording or playback, check the wires for damage.

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