Sennheiser HD 650 + Zalman ZM-MIC1

How to Add a Microphone to Your Headphones for Gaming with Xbox One, PS4

I wanted to adapt my audiophile headphones into a gaming headset so that I could communicate with my teammates in comfort while enjoying crisp game audio. Although I approached this from the perspective of an Xbox One gamer, the process is relevant to all gamers, regardless of platform (pcmasterrace included).

This is what I wanted:

Clear comms and the ability to adjust the balance between game and voice volume levels on-the-fly.

This is what I had:

  • Stock Xbox One Chat Headset (MSRP $24.49, Amazon.com)
  • Xbox One Stereo Headset (MSRP $59.99, Amazon.com), bundled with Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter (MSRP $24.99, Amazon.com)
  • Fiio E17 (Amazon.com)
  • Sennheiser HD 650 audiophile headphones (MSRP $499.95, Amazon.com)

The Xbox One Stereo Headset Adapter features a single 3.5mm input, allowing you to plug in a CTIA headset. This is necessary for the original Xbox One controller – newer Xbox One controllers feature an onboard 3.5mm port. More information on connecting compatible headsets to the Xbox One is available at: support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/accessories/connect-compatible-headset

Last I checked, the Apple iPhone headset won’t work, because Apple has proprietary standards (surprised?)

I initially investigated the Astro Mixamp (MSRP $129.99 Amazon.com), which is talked about a fair deal amongst console gamers. Some say it’s the best investment for a console gaming setup. I opted not to go down that route, in favor of something simpler.

Plenty of commercial products aim to make adding a microphone to an existing headphone setup easy:

Microphone Options

  • AntLion Audio ModMic, starting at $42.95 on Amazon.com. The official website for the ModMic is modmic.com
    I ruled this one out because I don’t want to put any tacky adhesive onto my nice headphones, but others swear by the ModMic
  • Headset Buddy MoovMic $20 (Amazon.com)
  • Zalman ZM-MIC1 ~$10 (Amazon.com)
    This is the one that I picked up for use in my setup – it clips onto your headphone cables
  • V-MODA headphone owners might look into the $30 V-MODA BoomPro (Amazon.com), which comes recommended by Destiny Serious Business fireteam member extra-ordinare PullRequest.

Plugging it all together

Now we have headphones and a microphone: let’s connect it all together!

The cheapest solution is to take a CTIA headset adapter and plug it into the stereo headset adapter. This is truly plug and play, and it only adds a single interface. Run the mic to the mic input, amp the audio output it if you like it loud, and enjoy.

I bought this CTIA headset adapter (Amazon.com)

Xbox One Controller + Stereo Headset Adapter

Readers also like Sennheiser’s PCV 05 Combo Audio Adapter (Amazon.com)

Watch out that you don’t purchase a stereo splitter! The difference is in the connector. You must get a CTIA Y adapter, like the one that I linked. The male portion is 4-pole as opposed to 3-pole (TRRS vs. TRS).

TRRS = Tip Ring Ring Sleeve

For PS4 owners

The DualShock 4 controller has an onboard 3.5mm CTIA port. All of the above is applicable to your case. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a hardware solution to allow on-the-fly adjustment of the game and chat volume mix for the PS4.

The finished product

Sennheiser HD 650 + Zalman ZM-MIC1

I hope this helps – GLHF 🙂


For those curious to learn more about audio jacks in general, I found these pages to be very informative:

Solution proposed on XIM4 forum: xim4.com/community/index.php?topic=36866.0

Xbox -> Optical Out -> Creative Sound Blaster sound card

Going balls to the wall with a PC sound card…

One with optical in & out, like Creative Sound Blaster Z
us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-z

Creative Sound Blaster ZxR
us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-zxr