Whenever I use my headphones as a Mic, the audio quality drops

When I use my headphones to play music, the audio quality is fine. As soon as I attempt to use my headphone’s microphone, the audio quality drops. How can this be fixed?

Hi Mammadu,

Thank you for posting. This is a good question. Unfortunately, I can’t help you fix this.

The drop in audio quality when using the microphone is part of the Bluetooth standard and not due to Windows or our Bluetooth adapter.

Bluetooth has a set of standard profiles that tell the computer how to work with various Bluetooth devices. When a device, like headphones with a microphone, connects to the computer, it tells the computer what profiles it supports for each operation it is capable of. When Windows needs to use that device for one of those operations, such as listening to music or two-way communications, it uses the profiles specified by the device. Standardized profiles help a lot because you know your headphones will connect to any computer or mobile device that supports those profiles, but it can be a pain because changing the profiles might make it difficult to connect older devices that don’t support the new profiles. So they don’t get improved much over time.

What happens is this: When they connect, your headphones tells the computer that when an application is only streaming audio, the computer should use the A2DP profile, which offers CD-quality, stereo sound. When a Windows program like Skype or Discord calls for two-way communications, it tells Windows to switch over to the Handset/Hands-free (HSP/HFP), which supports two-way communications.

The problem is that the HSP/HFP profile is a legacy of the days when Bluetooth audio was primarily used to connect telephone headsets, and it only supports telephone-quality, mono audio. There is no profile available in Bluetooth that supports two-way communication and stereo, CD-quality audio playback.

I hope this answers your question. Ultimately, it is your headphones telling Windows which profile to use, but there really isn’t any choice other than the HSP/HFP profile for two-way sound, so the headphones have to tell Windows it supports that one.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Plugable Support

I’m sad that it’s due to the standard, but thanks a lot for taking the time to explain, I learned a good deal

I’m going to close this thread. If you have any more questions or comments, please start a new thread or contact us directly at support@plugable.com.