The USB Headset and the Sound Card

How to regain control of your sound card, after your USB headset overrides your sound card.

Steve Smith, host of your Technology Questions Answered, talks about taking back control of your sound card, after having your computer hijacked by a USB headset. He explains how to regain control, and how to use this to your own advantage.

Episode #2-11 released on November 27, 2011

Watch on Youtube

Has this ever happen to you? You get a new headset on the internet or from a local store, one of those with a USB plugin adapter, and when you plug it, in it over rides the sound card in your computer? Or does it? I'll explain what is happening, and how to regain control of your sound card on this episode of your Technology Questions Answered Weekly.

Thank you to my loyal and new subscribers, viewers, and listeners of this show, entitled, Technology Questions Answered. I'd like to make one big announcement. As of December 4, 2011, at 8AM Eastern, this show will have its very own web-site. I have been really busy building the new website for the last two weeks, and this means you'll have easier access to all the show notes, newsletters, mp3 and mp4 downloads, the latest episodes, custom gear and gadgets, and so much more.

Now, I've heard about the numerous amount of issues that come from using headsets that connect with a USB adapter. The sound is cleaner, easier to use, in theory. Great for gamers, vloggers, etc... The issues arise when someone tries to use such a headset and wants the use of his or her sound card.

So for those who want to know what is going on, this is why, your headset is overtaking your sound card. Until something tells the sound card otherwise, the computer is treating the USB headset the same way your speakers turn off when you put normal earphones into the headset jack. This was designed to make the headset easier to use, and without the need of software installation. Basically, this is a newbie product scheme. It costs a lot of money to have a technical support line to help people for hardware and software issues, anyway.

This does offer a cool way of bypassing the sound card at choice, however, this means you have to tinker a little more. If your a gamer, you can force the audio of the game to come out of the speakers, and use voice commands and chat, provided your using separate software, with the USB headset. You can record audio through the USB headset, and monitor the sound from a normal headset jack. You can bypass the audio recording from your web cam, and record to the USB headset. How do you do all this, easy!

You have two ways at your disposal to achieve all this. One, the operating systems native audio control panel allows you to choose your default audio playback, and audio recording cards. In the windows control panel, this is under Sounds and Audio Devices. This is similar in almost all operating systems.

Now this only tells your operating system which you want to use, how would you convince different software solutions to use different hardware. Again, not as hard as you'd believe. You only need to enter in the control panel or configuration menu of your application or game, and tell the software which hardware to use. You can do this in most newer games and applications now. You can have your game on one sound card, and your live chat, on another.

What happens if your game doesn't allow for this, but your live chat software does. Doesn't change anything, at all, for you. Tell Windows, Mac OSX or Linux, which ever your using, which is the sound card that you'd like to use for your game, basically, the operating system, in general. Then configure your live chat software to the USB headset, and that's it.

And for those who have no ability to configure the live chat or recording software to use different sound cards, change software.

Next week, at the same time that I launch the new web-site, I'll be talking about using levels to fix your photos. If you ever took a photo that is too dark, or too bright, you can fix the photo for it to look better. I'll explain why your photos look too dark, or too bright, help you fix the problem, and make you look like your a professional photographer.

Thank you for listen to Technology Questions Answered. If you wish to submit your questions, comments, suggestions or stories, please visit To do our weekly survey, go to Don't forget to subscribe, share and like this episode, thank you for listening. Stay safe and online.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

Community Comments

Share your thoughts, opinions and suggestions

Login or Register to post Your comment.