You don't have to purchase a sometimes very expensive gaming headset to get the most from your Xbox One audio experience. Especially not if you've already invested in a set of good, sometimes very expensive headphones.

There are some features you'll lose, but ultimately it might well be the way to go for you. Here's everything you need to know.

Connecting your headphones

This part is super simple as long as you're using the more recent versions of the Xbox One controller. These have the 3.5mm headset jack in the bottom, and so to use them all you have to do is plug the headphones into the controller.

If you're using a first-generation Xbox One controller, there is no headset jack on it. As such you'll need to invest in the Stereo Headset Adapter. It connects to the bottom of your controller with your headphones hooking up to the bottom of the adapter.

You also get added handy features like volume adjust, chat/game audio mix adjust and a big old mute button. Even on the later versions of the Xbox One controller (with the headset jack), you can gain a fair bit from using one of these.

The product is no longer sold new, which is understandable, so in most cases, you'll be looking towards getting a used or refurbished item for around $25

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Controlling audio without the adapter

If you don't have inline volume controls, you'll have to control the audio on the console directly. It's not difficult, though with the latest update to the Xbox One dashboard, the audio controls are a little more hidden. Follow these steps:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Scroll all the way to the right to system.
  3. Select audio.

You'll now have options for enabling and disabling any microphone attached, adjusting volume, mic monitoring and the mix of game audio to party chat.

Adding a microphone

Turtle Beach stream mic

There are some really easy, really solid ways of adding a microphone to your headphones so you can indulge in a little party chat action on your Xbox One.

One is the Turtle Beach Stream Mic. It's never going to win awards for outright sound quality, but it has one huge selling point: You can plug it directly into the Xbox One console. It's probably still going to be better than any headset microphone, and it's now pretty affordable, too at around $60. For more on that be sure to check out our full review.

Turtle Beach Stream Mic Review

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An alternative is to invest in something like the Antlion Modmic. This is a microphone that you can clip to your headphones and create your own gaming headset. With a splitter to attach the headphones and the microphone, you've then got a full gaming headset plugged into your controller.

The bonus is that you can take the microphone off and then just keep on enjoying your headphones. Not all gaming headsets have a detachable microphone. It's about $50, which isn't cheap, but it's also not bad considering it's also a noise-canceling microphone.

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Getting more advanced

Astro Mixamp

If you want to get really fancy, particularly if you're a streamer, you can use something like Astro's Mixamp to integrate your headphones with your PC, console and even mobile devices audio.

Hook up to the console over optical audio, stick the USB into your PC and connect headphones or a music player like your smartphone over 3.5mm.

The Mixamp gives you control over the mix of audio, for example, your level of game audio to party chat. If you use one of Astro's more expensive headsets you can get the Mixamp thrown in, but it's also available to purchase on its own for about $170.

How to set up the Astro Mixamp with PC and Xbox One

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Updated June 19, 2018: We updated this guide to ensure you have the most up to date information on using your own headphones with Xbox One.

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