Sometimes you want to play a game and communicate with your team over teamspeak or take a Google Voice call and talk over the PC. To do this you need to plug in a microphone or a headset, but doing this is sometimes a challenge. Sometimes it doesn't work and it's unclear why. This article will explain how I have it working my main PC and documents the Sound panel settings that makes it all work.
To use Voice-over-IP, or VoIP for short, you need to plug in a good mic or a headset. Usually I use my daily headphones which has 4 conductors and includes an inline microphone. To plug this into a standard PC I have an adapter that breaks this out to separate plugs for mic and headphone.
The most accessible speaker and microphone plugs I have are integrated into my keyboard. When the keyboard has something plugged into these plugs, a new playback and recording device called "USB PnP Sound Device" shows up in the Playback and Recording tabs of the Sound control panel. Usually when sound is playing out of the speakers (Optical Toslink to the reciever) Realtek Output (Optical) is active. Plugging something into either the microphone or the headphone jack on the keyboard kills the sound going to the speakers too. Essentially plugging something into these mic or headphone jacks will "activate" that USB audio device and it will take over. To get this to happen and to get the sound out of the headset you have plugged in you need to have the keyboard's playback sound device, wihch shows up as "Speakers - USB PnP Sound Device" in the Sound control panel set as the default device. Setting it as default will allow it to "take over" the outgoing sound stream whenever it becomes active, which is what you want. This mutes the sound coming from the reciever speakers and you hear everything on your headset.
To talk on the mic, you have to have the keyboard's Microphone device, called "Microphone - USB PnP Sound Device" in the Recording tab set as the Default Communications Device. The sound card's Microphone is called Realtek High Definition Audio and is unused. I'm pretty sure that the front panel doesn't even work on this motherboard/case either. "Stereo Mix" is the "Default Device" which allows recording of audio to take place on the entire Stereo Mix, while programs that are for "Communications" will always use that Microphone.
If you have any problems hearing, make sure everything's setup like the above pictures.