Although I am still hooked on using the HyperX wired earbuds through my Xbox Series X controller’s headphone jack, I also own a few over-ear USB headsets that connect audio on other gaming consoles.
What made me think: Do USB headsets work on the Xbox Series X?
USB headsets that are Xbox officially licensed will work on the Xbox Series X by connecting the USB-A connector to the USB-A port of the Xbox. Third-party USB headsets not officially licensed can connect to the 3.5mm headphone jack of the Xbox Series X controller or to a Bluetooth audio adapter.
Depending on the capabilities, features, and firmware your gaming headset has will determine the ways you can connect to the Xbox Series X. Let’s dive into the details.
Do USB Headsets Work on Xbox Series X?
So you’re sitting on a brand new pair of USB headsets or want to connect a favorite USB headset either from an older-gen console or a completely different brand to your Xbox Series X. Will they work?
The thing to keep in mind is if the USB headset you have is officially licensed by Xbox, meaning it is approved and designed to work with the Xbox hardware and software platforms.
If the USB headset is officially licensed for Xbox use, it will work on the Xbox Series X when directly connecting to the USB port of the console.
This also includes official USB headsets for previous generation Xbox consoles like the Xbox One.
By the way, if you are not sure if your USB headset is officially licensed and approved for the Xbox, you can find out by looking for the official badge on the box that it came in (usually also signified by the Xbox green color theme throughout), or by visiting the website of the USB headset manufacturer.
But what if you find out that the USB headset you want to use is not official or is designed for official audio use on another console brand?
No need to worry!
USB headsets that are not officially licensed by Xbox can still work on the Xbox Series X.
The only difference is that they’ll need to be connected another way, into the 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the wireless Xbox Series S/X controller.
Most USB headsets, including a favorite of mine that I own (SteelSeries Arctis 7P), have alternative audio methods to connect to your PC or gaming console for many many reasons.
One popular alternative connection method is the wired 3.5mm headphone line, which will in fact work on the Xbox Series X controller (the headset mic should also work too!).
Another more expensive and rare additional audio connection that USB headsets may have is Bluetooth.
If your USB headset is Bluetooth enabled, feel free to cut that wire and pair it to your Xbox Series X controller for audio. But first, you’ll need one more thing to get that to work.
In order to get Bluetooth audio from an Xbox Series X to a Bluetooth-enabled USB headset, you’ll need a Bluetooth audio adapter that connects to the bottom adapter of the Xbox Series X controller.
This Bluetooth audio adapter by Skull & Co. (on Amazon) is a very popular option for the Xbox Series X and will allow your headset to connect wirelessly to the controller.
As a side note, this adapter also works if you have AirPods too!
One drawback to receiving Bluetooth audio from your Xbox Series S/X is that your USB headset microphone will not work anymore, just the game audio.
The cool thing about the Skull & Co. Bluetooth audio adapter is that it comes with its own dedicated microphone so that you can wirelessly listen to the game via your USB headset and use the adapter’s mic to chat with the party.
How to Connect Your Headset to the Xbox Series X
There are three main methods on how you can connect your headset to the Xbox Series X: USB, 3.5mm wired, and Bluetooth.
Depending on the brand and capabilities of your headset are what will allow for any of these three audio connections. Let’s get into some more details:
USB headsets that are officially licensed by Xbox can connect to the USB port of the Xbox Series S/X. Simply plug the included USB dongle into the USB port of the Xbox Series X and power on the USB headset.
There may be an initial period where the USB headset needs to connect to the dongle after it’s first plugged into the console but should instantly connect every other time you boot up your Xbox Series S/X.
Now onto the second Xbox Series S/X audio connection method: 3.5mm wired.
You may have a USB headset that’s not officially licensed by Xbox but has a headphone jack or just want to game with a sleek pair of wired gaming earbuds (like the HyperX cloud earbuds, another favorite of mine).
Either way, you can listen to game audio and use the mic (on most mic-enabled headphones) by plugging them into the 3.5mm headphone jack that’s found on the bottom of the Xbox Series X controller.
As long as the Xbox Series X controller is paired to the console, you will always have an audio connection.
To adjust the volume on 3.5mm wired connected headsets, press the Xbox guide button, then the sound button (on the bottom right of the panel that looks like a speaker), then slide the bar to your desired level.
The third and final audio connection is through Bluetooth, but there are a few things to keep in mind here.
In order to receive Bluetooth audio from your Xbox Series S/X you’ll need to get a Bluetooth audio adapter that connects to the adapter on the bottom of your controller. The Skull & Co. audio adapter is a great pick.
Once the audio adapter is connected to the adapter of the Xbox controller, pair your Bluetooth-enabled headset or AirPods by sliding the switch to “Pair” on the Skull & Co. Bluetooth audio adapter and then pressing the pair button on the headset.
When the Bluetooth connection is successful you should start hearing Xbox game audio through your headset.
However, if your Bluetooth-enabled headset has a built-in microphone, it will not operate as long as it is connected to the adapter via Bluetooth.
Thankfully, the Skull & Co. adapter has a dedicated microphone that you can use while you party chat while still hearing the audio from your headset.
To adjust the Bluetooth headset volume after it’s connected, press the Xbox Guide button, then the sound button (looks like a speaker icon), then slide the volume and headset chat mixer sliders to get the desired balance of sound.
Why is My USB Headset Not Working on Xbox Series X?
If you have a USB headset that’s connected to the USB port on your Xbox Series X, it may not be working due to it not being officially licensed by Xbox or a firmware issue that needs updating.
USB headsets that are officially licensed by Xbox for use on the Xbox Series S/X (including Xbox One) will work on these consoles.
If your headset is one of the officially licensed units but it’s still not working, it could be due to a compatibility issue with the firmware.
To see if your headset requires a firmware update, visit the manufacturer’s website and look to see if your specific model has an update that will enable it to work on the Xbox Series S/X.
If so, plug in your headset to a PC or Mac and download the installer driver that’s specific to your headset. Then find the latest firmware version and update it to your headset.
Once the firmware is updated to the headset, plug the USB dongle back into the Xbox Series X console and power on the headset. If it still does not work, you may need to visit the manufacturer’s support site for more information.
If you’re using a USB headset that is not officially licensed by Xbox for use on the Xbox Series S/X, then the audio will not work from the USB port of the console.
Instead, connect the USB headset to the 3.5mm headphone jack of the Xbox Series X controller and see if the audio will work using that audio connection.
If the USB headset is also Bluetooth-enabled, you can also connect it wirelessly to your Xbox Series X controller through a Bluetooth audio adapter, like this one from Skull & Co.
When you’ve paired your headset to the audio adapter, you should be able to hear game and chat audio.
Keep in mind that when using an audio adapter you will not be able to use the built-in mic of your headset, but will be able to use the dedicated mic on the Bluetooth audio adapter on the controller.
If you are still having any audio issues using any of the three audio connections (USB, 3.5mm wired, Bluetooth) and have fully updated the firmware, it may be an issue with the headset itself.
In this case, visit the manufacturer support website that goes along with your headset for more information.
Do I Need a New Headset for the Xbox Series X?
With the various possible ways you can connect a headset to the Xbox Series X, including USB, 3.5mm wired, and Bluetooth (adapter required), gaming on your prior favorite headset should still be possible.
Depending on what your highest needs of features are out of a headset (wireless capability, sound, mic, etc.) should determine whether or not a new headset is needed when enjoying audio on the Xbox Series X.
For example, if you own a wireless headset that is designed to work with the PlayStation or Nintendo Switch, like the SteelSeries Arctis 7P a favorite of mine, then you will have to use a wired connection in order to get audio from the Xbox Series X.
This is because some wireless headsets are not officially licensed by Xbox, and therefore lose the wireless capability of connecting to the wireless USB dongle.
However, the sound on these headsets is still good (sometimes even better) when connected via 3.5mm wired to the Xbox Series X controller.
So if sound and audio range is your biggest need out of an Xbox Series X headset, connect your prior wireless headset into the headphone jack of the Xbox Series X controller and try the sound.
You may just be surprised!
I also understand there are many gamers out there that either don’t wan’t a headset wire getting in their way or want the wireless freedom with sound/mic adjustments right on the headset.
In that case, it would very much be worth looking at a new headset for your Xbox Series X that has this wireless capability through USB dongle connection.
Remember! Be sure to choose a headset that is officially licensed by Xbox for use on the Xbox so that you will receive all the wireless features and sound/chat adjustments that the headset includes.
To start your search, check out the official Xbox Wireless Headset that’s got tons of great reviews on Amazon.
This headset doesn’t even need a USB dongle to connect wirelessly to the Xbox Series X since it’s made by the company itself. Kudos, Microsoft!
If you’ve been leveling up in the game and surrounding yourself in all it’s audio goodness with a long-time favorite USB headset, don’t get rid of them just yet.
You may be able to still use them on the Xbox Series X, even though it may not necessarily be through wireless connection to a dedicated USB dongle.
Trust me, there’s nothing wrong with hooking up a good-sounding gaming headset (or earbuds!) to the controller headphone jack and losing some wireless capability, as long as the audio is still incredible. Bet you won’t be disappointed.
If you’ve been wondering how to connect not just your headset, but external speakers, to the Xbox Series X, check out this article where I share tips on if (and how) to connect your favorite speakers to this console here on GizbuyerGuide.com.
Happy gaming, friends!