• Trouble with USB headphones not being recognized, or something

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    Windows 10, 21H1, Dell XPS Desktop, updated, GE Force 1060 GPU.

    Since I got this computer a couple of years ago, I have been able to plug the headphones (Samsung stereo over-the-ear headset) into the front USB panel and have Windows automatically switch off my Logitech speakers and switch to the headphones; likewise, when removing the headphones. There is just a delay of perhaps a 1/2 second at the switchover. Recently, the USB panel stopped recognizing the headphones, and only the speakers work. Other USB devices plugged into the same panel work fine.

    I have checked the sound settings. The choices are Speakers/headphones “(Realtek Audio),” “Acer H226HQL (Nvidia High Definition Audio),” and “Speakers (TTGK Audio)”. The last one seems to be for the headset microphone, despite the speakers designation; why my speakerless Acer monitor would apparently connect to my GPU is beyond me. In any case, I only use my stereo Logitech speakers or my headphones, and the Speakers/headphones is selected in sound settings. Speakers work fine; it’s only the headphones that stopped working a few weeks ago.

    Testing the headset, I hear the tone played by Windows diagnostics, so it says it can’t locate a problem. Testing the microphone, it says it hears “0 percent”.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.


    Viewing 7 reply threads
    • #2457200

      Headphones gone pear shaped?
      Test them with another device – phone etc.

      cheers, Paul

    • #2457207

      1. With your Samsung headphones disconnected, *right*-click on the Start button and open Device Manager.

      2. When Device Manager is open, scroll to the bottom and keep looking at the bottom entry, i.e. Universal Serial Bus Controllers, as you plug your Samsung headphones into the same USB port you usually use.

      If the headphones are enumerated correctly then the bottom entry should expand then close and expand again as the device is identified and its capabilities worked out. If this doesn’t happen, try an adjacent USB port on the front panel. If there’s no recognition then try a USB port on the back panel.

      Once identified, your Samsung headphones should appear in the device list. (I don’t have similar to check but probably under Audio inputs and outputs at the top of Device Manager.)

      Post back with your results.

      Hope this helps…

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2457367

      Thanks, Rick. In Device Manager, instead of the Univ Ser Bus controllers opening and closing, the window blinks as if resetting, and indeed it is: Checking the top item. Audio inputs and outputs, the headphones do register–i.e., are added to the list–after being plugged in, and disappear when unplugged,front panel or rear. However, the performance is not changing. I tried and another headphone set with the same behavior. Properties dialog shows the headphones “working properly.”

      Any other ideas?

      Thanks again.

    • #2457509

      It sounds like the USB enumeration/identification is absolutely fine if your Samsung headphones appear as a entry in Device Manager‘s Audio inputs and outputs.

      Is it possible your headphones have been disabled/silenced? Try this:

      1. Begin playing some music with your Samsung headphones connected.

      2. Press Win key + R together to invoke the Run dialog.

      3. When the Run dialog appears, copy/paste the following command into it then press Return/Enter:

      control /name Microsoft.Sound

      4. When the Playback tab of the Sound dialog appears you should see a vertical volume bar (a) showing the music as it plays. If the volume bar is inactive, click on the device to select it (and make the buttons active) then click on the Properties button (b) at the bottom of the dialog.

      (The screenshots below will be slightly different to yours as I’m using headphones with a stereo jack plug rather than a USB connection… but the principle is the same.)


      5. When the Speakers / Headphones Properties dialog opens, check the General tab that the Device usage dropdown (c) hasn’t been set to Don’t use this device (disable):


      6. If Device usage is set to Use this device (enable) then – on the Levels tab – check the volume hasn’t been set to zero (d) or muted (e):


      That’s all I can think of… so I hope one of these suggestions helps.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2457680

      Thank you for taking the time to reply extensively. Everything appears as it should, except for one possible thing that I can see.

      On the General tab of Speakers/headphones Properties, under Jack information, all three jacks are listed as “Rear Panel:”

      L R (green)

      SL SR (black)

      C Sub (red)

      I am using the front panel USB ports, a built-in hub of three USB A ports. The headphones are plugged into a Y female 3.5mm jack-to-USB convertor. It seems to be working (its quite new and well-made). When I switched to the administrator login to check the Device Manager, the first time I plugged it in, I got the usual “device active” sound from the speakers, as I do when plugging in a USB drive anytime. After that first one, however, I do not get a “plug-in” audio notification, indicating that the computer has stopped finding the headphones.

      Maybe the Dell Support Assist function can track down the problem. I’ll try it next.

      Thanks again.


    • #2457698

      This is the first mention of a jack-to-USB adapter so I’m not sure I follow. Do the Samsung headphones terminate in a USB connector or a stereo jack plug… and why do you need a Y-adapter? Does the front faschia panel not have the connection you need?

      (Most Dell XPS desktop’s I’ve seen have both USB ports and stereo jack sockets on the front panel. However, the XPS range is vast.)

      Perhaps best to post the exact model no. of your Dell XPS and your Samsung headphones so I can clear up my confusion. (And make/model of Y-adapter, if possible.)

    • #2457718

      Rick, I’m not surprised that you don’t follow — how foolish I have been! Yes, the front has headphone and mic mini jacks. Did I pay attention to them? No. Removing the Y cable and connecting the headphones directly into the mic jack(s, with mic), they work perfectly, with audio coming only through them, not the speakers.

      In my own defense, I can only say the following. In my previous computer, the jacks had given out, and I bought a Y cable so that I could use the USB port. When I bought this machine, I just did what I had become used to, and in fact replaced the Y cable when the old one started getting unreliable. I forgot all about the jacks on the front (the machine front faces a dark area of the room and the jack ports are less visible to my old eyes.

      What I still don’t understand, is why the automatic switchover, from speakers to headphones plugged into the USP port on the front via the Y cable, stopped working. I have some concern about the mini jacks wearing out again, since I am as likely to use the speakers as the headphones. Maybe I’ll just have to jump off that bridge when I come to it.

      Anyway, thank you very much.



    • #2457731

      I’ve had similar experiences where someone else asks questions I wonder why I didn’t ask myself… it’s a common occurrence. ‘Fresh pair of eyes’ and all that.

      The important thing is that you’ve sorted it… and that, really, was what it was all about. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Viewing 7 reply threads
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