The laptop has one headphone and microphone input, what should I do?

a-laptop-one-headphone-and-microphone-in Hello.

Recently, I am sometimes asked how to connect headphones with a microphone to a laptop that does not have a separate jack (input) for connecting a microphone …

As a rule, in this case, the user is faced with a headset jack (combo). Thanks to this connector, manufacturers save space on laptop sockets (and the number of wires). It differs from the standard one in that the plug for connecting to it must be with four contacts (and not with three, as with a normal microphone connection to a PC).

Let's consider this issue in more detail …

Laptop only has one headphone and microphone jack

Take a closer look at the laptop socket (usually on the left and right, sideways) – sometimes there are laptops where the microphone output is on the right side, for the headphones – on the left …

By the way, if you pay attention to the icon next to the connector, you can uniquely identify it. On the new combo jacks, the icon is 'headphone with microphone (and usually just black, not marked with any colors)'.


Regular headphone and microphone jacks (pink – microphone, green – headphones).


Headphone jack with microphone

The very same plug for connection looks like this (see the picture below). It has four contacts (and not three, as on ordinary headphones, to which everyone is already accustomed …).


Headphone jack with microphone.

It is important to note that some old headset headphones (for example, from Nokia, released before 2012) had a slightly different standard and therefore may not work in new laptops (released after 2012)!

How to connect regular headphones with a microphone to the combo jack

1) Option 1 – adapter

The best and cheapest option is to buy an adapter for connecting ordinary computer headphones with a microphone to the headset jack. It costs between 150-300 rubles (on the day of this writing).

Its advantages are obvious: it takes up little space, does not create confusion with wires, and is a very cheap option.

adapter for connecting ordinary headphones to a PC

An adapter for connecting ordinary headphones to the headset jack.

Important: when buying such an adapter, pay attention to one point – it needs one connector for connecting a microphone, the other for headphones (pink + green). The point is that there are very similar splitters designed to connect two pairs of headphones to a PC.

2) Option 2 – external sound card

This option is suitable for those who, in addition, have problems with the sound card (or are not satisfied with the quality of the reproduced sound). A modern external sound card provides a very, very decent sounding in an extremely small size.

It is a device, the dimensions of which, at times, are not larger than a flash drive! But you can connect headphones and a microphone to it.

Advantages: sound quality, quick connection / disconnection, will help in case of problems with the laptop sound card.

Cons: the cost is 3-7 times higher than when buying a conventional adapter; there will be an extra 'flash drive' in the USB port.

sound card for laptop

sound card for laptop

3) Option 3 – connect directly

In most cases, if you connect a plug from ordinary headphones to the combo jack, they will work (it is important to note that the headphones will be, but the microphone will not!). True, I do not recommend doing this, it is better to buy an adapter.

Which headphones are suitable for the headset jack

When buying, you only need to pay attention to one point – the plug for connecting them to a laptop (computer). As mentioned in the article above, there are several types of plugs: with three and four contacts.

For a combined connector – you need to take headphones with a plug, where there are four pins (see screenshot below).


Plugs and connectors

Headphones with microphone

Headphones with microphone (note: there are 4 pins on the plug!)

How to connect headphones with a combo plug to a regular computer / laptop

There are also separate adapters for such a task (the cost is in the region of the same 150-300 rubles). By the way, pay attention that on the plugs of such a connector there is a designation which plug is for the headphones, which is for the microphone. I somehow came across such Chinese adapters where there was no such designation and I had to literally re-connect the headphones to the PC by the 'method' of tests …

Adapter for connecting headset headphones to PC

Adapter for connecting headset headphones to PC


This article did not talk much about connecting regular headphones to a laptop – see more about this here:

That's all, good sound everyone!

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