My friends told me my mic was crackling or staticky, and my voice was cutting in and out. Communication is the key to victory… this has to be fixed!
The Xbox One doesn’t have a good way to self-test a microphone, so I used the Skype app’s test call (Echo123) to hear for myself. Using the stock chat headset worked fine. That meant the problem wasn’t with my system or controller – but between the Stereo Headset Adapter or headset itself.
After a few calls, I found that my voice would come through okay if I held the cable, near the 3.5mm plug, and pushed it in at a certain angle.
This indicated that there was a broken wire, or bad solder joint where the headset wires connect to the plug. Pushing them together was causing the wires to regain contact. OEM Xbox accessories carry an underwhelming three month warranty, and that’s long past. So we need to replace the plug ourselves.
The plug attached to the Stereo Headset is molded with plastic and didn’t appear to be salvageable, so I just cut it off. To replace, you’ll need a 3.5mm 4-pole TRRS plug, like these. There are different styles of plugs of varying sizes/difficulties. Most will require you to do some fine soldering.
Remember to slide the rear parts of the plug assembly onto the cord before attaching the forward part!
Strip off the insulation at the end of your headset cable to reveal 5 wires. Blue, Red, Black, White, Copper. So we need to figure out what each of these leads to, and where they need to get soldered on. The first question was answered by some good folks on the internet, and I always trust the information I get there!
- Blue: Left Speaker
- Red: Right Speaker
- Black & Copper: Ground (Shield)
- White: Microphone
Okay, so now we know what the wires are, but where do we attach them? There are a few standards that these plugs use which use the same plug, but flip some expected connections around. The Xbox Stereo Adapter uses the CTIA standard. That means from the tip down, we need to attach the wires in the same order they are listed above. You just have to determine which attachment points on the bottom end of your replacement plug are connected to those poles at the top.
For the particular replacement plug I am using, this is how all that translates into graphical form…
Now to attach the wires. The colored insulation on these little guys can be carefully shrunk/burned back with a soldering iron or torch. I’m no soldering expert, so I can’t offer much advice here. A pair of helping hands sure helps. I used tweezers to position the wires through the appropriate hole, from the inside out. Then applied heat, and a small amount of solder.
Test that puppy out! Watch a video (like this one) to make sure the speakers are working properly. Then start a chat with friends or a Skype test call. If everything checks out, make sure the wires aren’t touching, slip a sleeve / heatshrink over the mess if applicable and re-install the cover piece that you slipped on earlier. Count yourself among the ranks of financially-frugal eco-friendly badasses, and go listen for some footsteps.