Bahazbz

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Apr 19, 2015
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Hi all,

I have a kind of weird issue I seriously can't figure out. Today I was playing a game with friends online. I currently do not own a microphone so I wasn't expecting to be able to chat. To my surprise, when I launched Left4dead2, my friends in discord were not able to hear me, but I was able to hear MYSELF. About a quarter second after speaking I could hear my own voice come through my headphones. The other members of the discord chat said they could see my icon light up in discord but the could hear nothing. Again, I could hear myself loud and clear despite having no microphone enabled device attached whatsoever. Needless to say, this is slightly disturbing. I thought I was crazy so I confirmed with my roommate that audio was being recorded from my setup and sent through my own headphones.

My first thought was that I must have something with a mic attached without knowing it. I figured my monitor may have a built-in microphone I don't know about, or maybe the keyboard or something. NOPE. This is a new phenomenon for me, so isolate the source of the recording, I unplugged everything from my computer. EVERYTHING.

All the below devices were removed and completely disconnected from power:
No front-panel USB devices
No rear USB devices
No speakers
No keyboard
No mouse
No monitor
Different headphones, same issue
Nothing but the power cable for the desktop and the desktop itself... still happening. I can still hear myself speak through my computer.

A couple of weird things about this:
  • I also tried a separate pair of headphones (ones that do not exhibit this behavior on my friend's PC ). I could still hear myself with just my friend's regular headphones attached.
  • Windows detects no microphone connected according to the device manager, Discord, Windows Voice Recorder, and the windows audio settings. All say no hardware detected.
  • I can only hear myself some days. Other times my voice does not come through back to me.
  • I can reproduce the issue with the league of legends voice chat too. No one can hear me but I can hear myself speaking with no mic connected sometimes.
  • I'm not crazy, because my roommates can hear it too.
Has anyone experienced something like this before? I assume there must be some hardware capable of recording audio in order for me to hear myself. I haven't connected any Bluetooth devices to this PC ever. What is going on?

System Specs:
SkullCandy Micless Headset (Tried without these using a different pair of headphones, these were unplugged. Still audio.)
990FX "Gaming" Motherboard (Can't really try without this, but I am guessing it may be the most likely culprit)
FX 8320 @ 4.2 GHz
Zotac 1070Ti mini
Hyper TX3 CPU cooler
A few Hard drives and SSDs
Some normal DIMMs
The case (Has no wires or connections at all, so highly unlikely).

I am at a loss here. I am sure I am going to feel really stupid when someone points out the answer. Please advise on how to further troubleshoot. Any and all advice is much appreciated.
Thanks!
-Bahazbz

P.S. I also tried snapping around the room to see if I could localize the recorder. No luck. I can post the registry log from the troubleshooter as well if need be.

tl;dr GHOST MIC, WHAT DO?
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
What input are you attaching the headset to?

headphones can act as microphones, just as microphones can be used as Headphones, just not good ones.
https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-use-earphones-as-a-microphone

have you looked in the realtek HD AUdio app to see if you have the input you have headphone attached to acting as a microphone connection. it might be an option in there. If you using line in at all it acts as a mic input.
 

Bahazbz

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Apr 19, 2015
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What input are you attaching the headset to?

headphones can act as microphones, just as microphones can be used as Headphones, just not good ones.
https://www.techwalla.com/articles/how-to-use-earphones-as-a-microphone

have you looked in the Realtek HD Audio app to see if you have the input you have headphones attached to acting as a microphone connection? it might be an option in there. If you using line in at all it acts as a mic input.
Yeah, I have my headphones plugged into the motherboard directly. (Probably line-in but I am unsure - not home right now). I will check when I get back home. I can also check the Realtek HD Audio app and see what's up there. This seems plausible to me. I know I have them plugged in the only red outlined port on the MOBO.
 

Bahazbz

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Apr 19, 2015
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Alright, I checked and the headphones were plugged into the LINE-OUT port on both testing occasions. I had them plugged into this port since I got them.

I'll also note that audio playback is flawless on this port with both pairs of headphones. I don't know anything about audio, but I assume having the headphones plugged into the wrong port would cause some issues with sound playback.

I don't believe I have Realtek audio drivers installed at the moment. If I do it is factory settings from the manufacturer. Device Manager says "No driver files are required or have been loaded for this device" when I click more details for the Skullcandy headphones. I also got no results from searching for a Realtek folder in file explorer.

The issue still persists. Any other ideas?
 

Bahazbz

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Apr 19, 2015
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Can you upload the pic of the audio ports at back of your motherboard.
Unfortunately, the front audio port is broken due to an unrelated incident, so I can't test if using that resolves the issue. I can upload a picture of the same model from MSI's website. I have my headphones plugged into the red one, which I beleive is Line-OUT.
 

Colif

Win 10 Master
Moderator
Unless you can get audio without the headphones attached, its clearly still the outputs that are causing this.

Did you look in the software from Realtek - HD Audio manager - and see if that output is set as such. MIne show as speakers.

Just curious, try a clean boot and see if that changes anything -
Try a clean boot and see if it changes anything - make sure to read instructions and make sure NOT to disable any microsoft services or windows won't load right - https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

if clean boot fixes it, it shows its likely a startup program. You should, over a number of startups. restart the programs you stopped to isolate the one that is to blame.
 

Bahazbz

Reputable
Apr 19, 2015
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Unless you can get audio without the headphones attached, its clearly still the outputs that are causing this.

Did you look in the software from Realtek - HD Audio manager - and see if that output is set as such. Mine show as speakers.

Just curious, try a clean boot and see if that changes anything -
Try a clean boot and see if it changes anything - make sure to read instructions and make sure NOT to disable any microsoft services or windows won't load right - https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/929135/how-to-perform-a-clean-boot-in-windows

if clean boot fixes it, it shows its likely a startup program. You should, over a number of startups. restart the programs you stopped to isolate the one that is to blame.
That's great advice, I'll try a clean boot as soon as I get a chance.

I don't appear to have Realtek drivers installed according Programs and Features, Revo Uninstaller, IObit uninstaller, Autoruns64, or my own memory. I can try downloading and installing it though when I get more time.

I will also borrow some speakers from a friend to see if I can reproduce the problem without using headphones at all, possibly ruling out the port as the problem.

Go to Device Manager and check options listed under "Audio Inputs and Outputs" and post a image of it.
Tom's is making posting an image a pain so
I can type what appears in device manager, which I hope accomplishes the same thing:

Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (2 -High Definition Audio Device)

Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (2 -High Definition Audio Device) <- Yes listed as two different entries, not a typo.

Microphone (Steam Streaming Microphone) <- No hardware analogue, displays for anyone who has connected to a steam link with a PC. Not an actual Microphone. I am sure of this.

SkullCandy Headphones (2 - High Definition Audio Device) <--My normal headphones.
 
Last edited:
That's great advice, I'll try a clean boot as soon as I get a chance.

I don't appear to have Realtek drivers installed according Programs and Features, Revo Uninstaller, IObit uninstaller, Autoruns64, or my own memory. I can try downloading and installing it though when I get more time.

I will also borrow some speakers from a friend to see if I can reproduce the problem without using headphones at all, possibly ruling out the port as the problem.



Tom's is making posting an image a pain so
I can type what appears in device manager, which I hope accomplishes the same thing:

Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (2 -High Definition Audio Device)

Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (2 -High Definition Audio Device) <- Yes listed as two different entries, not a typo.

Microphone (Steam Streaming Microphone) <- No hardware analogue, displays for anyone who has connected to a steam link with a PC. Not an actual Microphone. I am sure of this.

SkullCandy Headphones (2 - High Definition Audio Device) <--My normal headphones.
Disable that "Microphone" and see if it solves the problem. It may not be physical mic but still there should be option to "Disable" ot when you Right-click on it. If there is option to disable it then please disable it.
 

Bahazbz

Reputable
Apr 19, 2015
110
0
4,710
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Disable that "Microphone" and see if it solves the problem. It may not be physical mic but still, there should be an option to "Disable" ot when you Right-click on it. If there is option to disable it then please disable it.
Will do. sorry for disappearing, been busy. I will definitely try this tonight though. I will also get around to testing with speakers and clean-boot over the next couple of days.
 

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