The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S represent the current generation of gaming, and players everywhere are continuing to pick up a console of their own. If you’re one of the gamers diving wholeheartedly into the current gen, you might be wondering how you can use your existing pair of headphones with your new console. Fortunately, Microsoft has put in the work to make the process as seamless as possible by continuing its gamer-centric philosophy behind backward compatibility, and offers a wide range of high-quality gaming accessories for those who need new gear.
In this Xbox Series X|S guide, we’ll go over how to use your headphones, wired or wireless, what to do if your existing headphones won’t make the cut, and the current best headsets for Xbox Series X|S.
How to use wired headphones with Xbox Series X|S?
The standard that most headphones adhere to is the use of a 3.5mm headphone jack, present on most devices. To make using your own headphones with the Xbox Series X|S even easier, Microsoft has included a headphone jack on every single Xbox Wireless Controller. Most third-party companies that make Xbox controllers should also do the same. You can find the headphone jack on the bottom edge of your Xbox controller to the left of the adapter you can use for other controller accessories.
If you have a pair of headphones you want to use with your Xbox, all you have to do is plug your headphones into the 3.5mm headphone jack on your controller. The controller will handle everything else, whether it’s wired or wireless. Keep in mind, a select few headphones may not work. The vast majority should, but some wireless headphones don’t play nice when they’re plugged directly into your Xbox controller via the 3.5mm headphone jack. Keep this in mind when trying to use your headphones.
If the Xbox controller you’re using doesn’t feature a 3.5mm headphone jack, or if you’re just looking for an upgrade, you can take a look at the best controllers for Xbox Series X|S for some great ideas.
How to use wireless headphones with Xbox Series X|S?
Being able to use a 3.5mm headphone jack for the vast majority of headphones is fantastic, but not everyone wants to be tethered to another cable. It is possible to use wireless headphones with the Xbox Series X|S, but you’re going to run into a lot more limitations here than you would with a pair of more traditional wired headphones.
There are two ways that you can use wireless headphones with the Xbox Series X|S: either with the excellent Xbox Wireless protocol, which is used by officially licensed Xbox accessories like the Xbox Wireless Controller, or wireless dongles, which plug into one of your console’s USB ports and then connect to your headphones.
The best way to go is native Xbox Wireless integration, like with the impeccable LucidSound LS50X headset or its more affordable sibling, the LucidSound LS35X headset. Still, you’ll only find this standard in dedicated gaming headsets designed for Xbox, which tend to be more premium (with some exceptions, like the Official Xbox Wireless Headset).
You can also go more affordable with a pair of headphones that uses a USB dongle to connect using a 2.4GHz signal, like with the well-reviewed SteelSeries Arctis 7X headset. Using a USB dongle opens your options up, but you’re still likely looking at a dedicated gaming headset, as there’s little chance a regular pair of headphones you have lying around will use this.