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noise/poor signal on mic using smartphone headset and x220

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:12 am
by ezekiel_quacks
I've been using a smartphone headset occasionally with my x220 for a long time before realizing recently that when people said they couldn't hear me well, it wasn't a volume issue -- it's some sort of compatibility issue. I'm using the earbud microphone headset that came with my Sony Xperia X Compact phone (which I believe are Sony MH750 earbuds), which work perfectly with my phone. I've also tried using the earbuds that came with my wife's iPhone 5S. With either headset, I can hear everything just fine, but when I record some audio in Audacity (or am on a call), the signal that comes through is mostly noise, and the expected audio signal is faint at best (turning up the mic also increases the noise).

Thinking I might have a problem with my laptop or OS (it's running Linux Mint 18.3 with kernel 4.15.0-55), I tried the same on the two other x220 laptops in our household, both running Windows 10; all three laptops were bought at different times, and mine actually had a replacement mainboard installed last year. But I experienced the same problem on their laptops as well.

Searching around on Google didn't reveal any clear answers; a few people here or there claimed to be able to use their iPhone earbuds with their x220 without any problems, while others suggested to double check whether the plug follows the CTIA or OMTP standard. One page on Lenovo's site suggests that even though Apple's earbud plug is CTIA, it "is a special CTIA one, whose internal resistance is much more than normal CTIA headset."

Anyone here still using the x220 who can weigh in with their experiences or give any advice? Thanks.