Ground Hum with Gaming Headset + Extension Cable

Hi there,

I bought my son a gaming headset to use with his Nintendo Switch, which worked fine. However the cable wasn't long enough, so I bought an extension cable - making sure it was one with the three black lines on the connector so it would cover the L+R+mic channels - and although it still works in terms of audio and mic, he now gets a terrible ground hum effect when using it. Going back to just the headset, without the extension cable, and the hum goes away.

Interestingly, if I test the headset + extension cable on a different device instead of the Switch, e.g. my phone, I don't get the hum issue at all. There are definitely lots of posts online about people having this issue with the Switch, but they're usually streamers who wanted to split their audio so they could hear the audio and send it to their Twitch (or whatever) stream at the same time.

It seems like the usual answer to this is to get a ground loop isolator. I was looking for these, but every one that I found only seems to support two channels (two black lines), so I would assume they would not be able to transmit the microphone channel.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Are there any ground loop isolators for three channels? Any completely different approaches?

Thanks!

Comments

  •  

    Is there a reason you need mic? I haven't played a lot of Switch recently but I thought voice chat was all done through the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app.

    •  

      There are some games with native voice, like fortnite. But not many.

      •  

        Yep, my son is 95% on Fortnite (unfortunately) and it's basically always-on chat.

        Which makes the ground hum REALLY annoying for people in his squad.

        •  

          I know it's not what you're after but my son uses a Playstation Gold wireless headset with the Switch and it work fine for voice on Fortnite.

          •  

            @wombat81: In hindsight I should have done something like this, but I was looking for something pretty affordable and wired generally seems to give you better quality for the price (ground loop hum excepted!).

  • +1 vote

    This is obviously not ideal, but the only solution people have found online appears to be a splitter, 2 ground loop isolators for the audio and the mic, and then recombing the mic and audio back again

    •  

      Eek! Wow that's messy, and will probably end up costing as much as the headset! I should have just bought a headset with a 3 metre cable…

    •  

      OK, I've just ordered a bunch of cables off eBay… hopefully they all work! Thanks for the info on this. I was hoping it would be as simple as a ground loop isolator that supported more than L+R, but hey!

  •  

    Are you able to borrow another extension to see if your extension is dodgy, cross-wired or something?

    •  

      Unfortunately not - I only have the one extension cable that supports both audio and mic. The others I have are just stereo (2 channel). The fact it works without any buzz on my phone, and there are plenty of complaints online about it, I'm pretty sure the cable is OK though.

  •  

    Look, I don't know anything about gaming stuff or Nintendo, but certainly hum from AC is annoying and can be hard to isolate. I use phones with an extension on a notepad (three wire ) with no trouble, so there must be a missing earth somewhere and you have to try obscure things to solve. Have you got a multimeter you can check the extension end to end, or maybe plug the switch into a different powerpoint, check the main house earth stake outside….

    •  

      I've tried different power points but the issue remains. I don't own a multimeter or anything. It does seem to be a common problem with the Nintendo Switch though, although whether it's some flaw in the Switch itself or just an attribute of headsets and extension cords I'm not sure. The Switch itself doesn't have a ground pin on the power adapter, so I'm not sure if that's the underlying cause?