One of the most confusing purchases you can make, as a multi-platform gamer, is choosing a headset that works on your PS4, Xbox, and PC interchangeably.
Through trial and error it is common to see all the amazing benefits one headset features, only to find out that the premium bells and whistles don’t work on the other console.
So are PlayStation 4 and Xbox One headsets compatible?
Stereo gaming headsets that use a 3.5mm jack input are compatible with PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Wireless headsets, or those that offer premium features specific to one platform, are not compatible with other gaming systems.
If you are looking for a headset that offers best-in-class sound and wireless capability, you will most likely only be able to enjoy those premium features on the console it is intended for.
Keep reading, as I explain below the key features that you will want to watch for so that you can invest in a pair of headsets that will work seamlessly across all your gaming devices.
High-End Headphones Are Specific To One Console
Although your budget might allow it, if you are first and foremost looking for a pair of headsets that are indeed compatible across all your gaming devices, you probably want to look away from models that offer pricier features.
A key example is the Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless Gaming Headset for Xbox One and PC.
These headsets offer wireless 2.4 GHz frequency sound from a USB wireless base that connects to the back of the Xbox. However, this specific model comes with the additional capability to deliver Dolby Atmos sound to your ears when enabled in the audio menus.
So you might be thinking, since the 800LX model allows you to enable Dolby Atmos surround sound, connecting that same USB wireless base to a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro will have the same result.
The bad news here is that Sony does not support Dolby Atmos on the PS4 or PS4 Pro. In fact, connecting these pricey headsets will allow you to listen wirelessly to your game, but only in the standard stereo format.
Instead, if you own a PlayStation, you can opt for the Plantronics RIG 800HS Wireless Gaming Headset, which doesn’t offer Dolby Atmos but has the same design and wireless base as the pricier 800LX model.
Note: Plantronics claims that the 800HS is not optimized for the Xbox One or PC, so there may be compatibility issues when interchanging between consoles.
A sure-fire route for ensuring that your headset will work with both your PlayStation and Xbox, while maintaining the same capabilities out of the box, is going for a wired stereo headset like the Plantronics RIG 400HS model, found here on Amazon
The 400HS model offers the same 40mm drivers that come with the pricier 800LX so you won’t be compromised on sound quality. And they’ll be sure to work on your PS4, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, and even mobile devices.
Mainstream Headsets Are Very Compatible Across Both Consoles
Since the PlayStation and Xbox have different audio firmware, inputs, and capabilities, a fully wireless headset that has 7.1 surround sound and on-ear controls can only work for the console that it is originally designed to work with.
But there is one audio connection that is in common with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One that’s located right on the controller: the 3.5mm input.
Since the power and the audio is determined by the 3.5mm jack on the controllers, these headsets always work between Xbox and PlayStation, while keeping all of their intended volume, mute, and microphone functions the same right out the box.
Note: Some specific older Xbox One controllers from 2013 and 2014 do not have the 3.5mm jack built in, and require a simple stereo plug adapter so that you can connect 3.5mm headsets. Once the adapter is hooked up, you can enjoy the same headset flexibility as newer Xbox controllers.
There’s no need to worry about firmware updates so that it works on one console over another, and their sound capabilities nearly match those of wireless, incompatible headsets that cost twice as much.
The SteelSeries Arctis 3 All-Platform Gaming Headset is an award-winning example of a model that has true flexibility across all gaming consoles, including the Xbox, PlayStation, and even the Nintendo Switch.
By eliminating the pesky software compatibility issues that come with surround sound integration and fully wireless function, the Arctis 3 has an incredibly clear detachable microphone that blocks out almost all background noise.
It also has extremely comfortable performance fabric ear cushions that house deep, crisp speakers that really immerse you in the game.
It’s funny that they call these headsets “wired”, because the only thing that they are wired up to is a truly wireless controller. So if you don’t mind a short cable connecting your ears to your controller, you’ll be right at home with the Arctis 3.
You can read a lot more features on the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Headset here on Amazon, and order it today at a very reasonable price point.
Brand Does Not Affect Headset Compatibility
You might also be thinking that certain headset brands offer more gaming platform compatibility than others.
Trust me, I certainly had this assumption in mind also when looking for a premium set of headsets that worked across all my consoles.
Through all of my research, whether it is Turtle Beach, Plantronics, Logitech Astro, SteelSeries, etc. the only truly flexible gaming headset that is compatible across all platforms are those that connect via a 3.5mm jack.
This is entirely regardless of brand name. Because headsets that might have the fully-immersive surround sound and wireless setup on one platform will either lose it on the other, or have severe limitations on other features.
These lack of features include things like chat audio versus game audio level adjustments, microphone sensitivity and clarity, and even eliminated chat capability altogether.
I guess if you play single-player games and only want the slight increase in audio span from a wireless surround sound headset, you might be okay interchanging some brand headsets to your other consoles.
But be prepared to lose chat audio, microphone capability, or other button functions.
For such an expensive investment this can make these prestigious headset models seem like a waste as soon as they are moved from one system to another.
If cross-console compatibility is what you are searching for in a headset, a wired stereo gaming headset with a 3.5mm audio connection will deliver consistent button function with adjustments, game sound, and online chat clarity.
Wireless Headsets Need Firmware Specific To Each Console
If you want a fully wireless headset that works on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One there are some models that can function for both, but are only optimized for one or the other.
This is because wireless headsets require firmware to operate properly when communicating with the wireless base connected to the back of either console.
So when the wireless base is switched to another console, the headset firmware is thrown off and can lead to interference, distortion, and other feature limitations.
For instance, the Astro A50 Gen3 that is designed for Xbox has a green base and packaging that clearly intends that it is only compatible and optimized with the Xbox.
However, some users on Reddit have reported that using the green wireless base of the Astro A50 with a PlayStation 4 will also work because it switches into PC mode.
The A50 also has a PS4 edition with a blue base, but the firmware with the blue base only aligns with the PlayStation, and not optimized for the Xbox.
So in order for that A50 pair to work you also need to purchase a green wireless base. Confusing.
So there is a chance that at one point a wireless headset with a specific wireless base can also work with the other console, but this isn’t considering potential headaches down the road…
Since these wireless bases require software from the intended console in order to work properly, even if it works on the other console today it can stop working tomorrow.
This is because the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are updating their softwares constantly online, including patches and menu interface changes.
As soon as the software of one console updates, the wireless base that is intended to work for another console can quickly become incompatible, making the price bump investment to wireless freedom short lived.
Wired stereo headsets that utilize the 3.5mm jack do not need these kinds of firmware to operate properly, which allows them to work flexibly across all gaming platforms without hesitation.