Making A Headphone Amp Perform New Tricks

Hands up if you’ve had the misfortune to work in an office with a fondness for following the latest fads. Paperless office, how long did that last? Or moving from physical telephones to a flaky VOIP application on your Windows computer, that’s sure to be a resounding success! We’ve all been there at some point, haven’t we?

[Joshua Wise] found himself in that unenviable situation of the VOIP app move, and since he is a habitual headphone music listener the prospect of wearing his company-supplied headset was not appealing. His solution was to take his HeadRoom BitHead amplifier and plumb into it a microphone channel, and though he went through quite some work to reach that point the quality of his final work is very high.

He was in luck with the headphone amplifier, because the USB audio codec turns out to have an unused audio-in function as well as some HID input lines. His headset has a set of buttons as well as the microphone, which switch in and out a set of resistors to indicate which of them is pressed. Some work with a microcontroller to detect this resulted in a working interface, which he put along with the microphone circuitry on a beautifully done piece of protoboard.

Most constructors would have been happy at this point, but not [Joshua]. He proceeded to design a PCB to fit into the space around the headset socket, to contain the circuitry and better fit within the case. The result is an exceptionally high quality piece of work which he admits consumed a huge amount of resources but for which we applaud him.

So [Joshua] has a cool headset. But is it solar powered?

7 thoughts on “Making A Headphone Amp Perform New Tricks

  1. I am not sure why you are dumping on voip. The world is going voip. Get over it. Now you might have a crappy implementation or some part of your required infrastructure may be sub par, but bad talking the entire technology makes you sound ignorant.

    1. I agree – I work with a LOT of various PBX systems, and it’s rare today to have something non-VoIP.
      Most VoIP hard-phones run SIP stacks also used in soft-phones, all of which are pretty battle-hardened.

      99% of ‘flaky’ operation is down to poor router configuration.

    2. This not about VoIP. It can provide HiFi stereo 2 way comm,

      Look at how much Bell Telephone Labs spent on developing the most effective efficient comfortable and intelligible gear for us and operators to use. Nothing has changed as in mouths and ears. Now it’s all down the toilet. Fashionistas go gaga and a generic chip is stuffed into it. Every blurtooth conversation starts with please pick up the phone and talk to me not the walls too. How many times on good talk radio does the host say “please pick up your phone so we can all hear you and what you have to say”.

    3. He’s not dumping on voip at all, but “flaky VOIP application on your Windows computer” – i.e. replacing the phone with an app running on Windows, i.e. on a PC.

      I can understand why he’s dumping on that :)

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