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Xbox 360 HDMI - Connecting Headsets for Game Audio

Stereo Headsets

If your Xbox 360 and TV are connected via HDMI, the headset's RCA splitter cable (included) will need to be connected to 'AUDIO OUT' jacks on the back of your TV (pictured below):

The RCA Splitter cable MUST be connected to 'AUDIO OUT' jacks, specifically. If they are labeled 'Audio In', 'A/V In', or Component, they will not send audio out for the amplifier/transmitter to process. 

Not all TV's have AUDIO OUT jacks. You may check the specifications of your TV online or in the manual to determine if it has stereo AUDIO OUT. Alternatively, you may connect the headset directly to a headphone jack on your TV if it has one.

If your TV does not have AUDIO OUT jacks or a headphone jack, you will need the Ear Force Xbox 360 Audio Adapter Cable:

Xbox 360 Headset Audio Adapter Cable

The Ear Force Xbox 360 Audio Adapter Cable connects to the A/V port on the back of an Xbox 360, and provides red and white (stereo) outputs, as well as a digital optical (S/PDIF) output. The adapter is necessary because the Xbox 360 does not allow both the HDMI and A/V cables to be plugged in at the same time.

Do I need the Xbox 360 Audio Adapter?

- Stereo headsets require it if you're using an HDMI cable to connect your Xbox 360 to your TV, and if your TV does NOT have white and red AUDIO OUTPUT jacks.
- If you have a newer Xbox 360 E (released June 2013), click here. The Xbox 360 Audio Adapter is not compatible with the Xbox 360 E, but you will not need any additional cables anyway.

Where can I get it?

-  The Xbox 360 Audio Adapter is available on TurtleBeach.com click here
-  It is also available for purchase at Gamestop, Best Buy, and other gaming retailers.


Surround Sound Headsets

If you have an Xbox 360 Slim and you want to use it with one of our surround sound headsets (or a DSS2), which use a digital optical (S/PDIF, TOSlink) connection, you will not need any additional cables or accessories to connect the headset to your console. This will be true even if you connect your Xbox 360 Slim to your TV through HDMI. The Xbox 360 Slim has the necessary digital optical output (labeled "S/PDIF") built right into its back panel.

However, if you have an older Xbox 360 model (a grey or white one, one of the COD MW2 editions, or any Xbox 360 purchased before May 2010), there will not be a digital optical output built directly into your Xbox 360 that you will need in order to connect your surround sound headset. If you have a newer Xbox 360 E model, click here.

First, check to see if your TV has an digital optical output as shown above, often labeled 'S/PDIF'. If your TV has a digital optical output, you can plug the optical cable directly into this jack for game audio. Note: Check your TV manual to see if it supports Dolby Digital.

If your TV does not have a digital audio output, you will need to obtain the Xbox 360 Audio Adapter Cable to work alongside the HDMI connection. The HDMI connection will send digital video and digital audio to your TV, while the Xbox 360 Audio Adapter will give you the optical digital audio jack you need to connect from the Xbox 360 to your Ear Force headset.

Why is the Xbox 360 Audio Adapter necessary?

Surround Sound headsets need it if your Xbox 360 does NOT have a S/PDIF (TOSlink/Digital Optical Output) jack on the back, and if it DOES have a trapezoid-shaped A/V port on the back.

Audio connections below are (left to right):
-  TOSlink digital (square, black plastic port)
-  Analog Audio Output, Right (red RCA jack)
-  Analog Audio Output, Left (white RCA jack)

If you use the Xbox 360 Component HD A/V Cable, your HDMI port will be blocked (pre-2010):

Here's the Xbox 360 Slim Composite A/V Cable blocking the rear panel HDMI port - 2010 to present (viewed from below):

More info:
Microsoft's Xbox Support provides good additional info in their article "Description of the "Xbox 360 HDMI Cable": http://support.microsoft.com/kb/937899

This article was:  
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Stereo Sound on PC - PX51, XP510, PX4, XP400, Tango, X-Ray     Connections: No Analog & Optical at the same time

Comments rss
Alec | 29 Nov, 2010 05:12 PM
This was an extremely helpful article thet provided me the information I needed to buy the right cables in order to use my Earforce DX11 Turtle Beach headset for Xbox 360.
Posted: 5 years 5 months ago   | Permalink
Anonymous | 27 Jan, 2011 02:24 PM
THANK YOU!!!!! You helped me not have to buy another cable!
Posted: 5 years 3 months ago   | Permalink
Anonymous | 22 Feb, 2011 05:23 PM
very helpful, thankyou :)
Posted: 5 years 2 months ago   | Permalink
ray | 20 Apr, 2011 04:45 PM
This article explained every question I had. Thanks for all the information. Most informative peice I foudn.
Posted: 5 years 1 month ago   | Permalink
Tomnician | 03 Nov, 2011 07:28 AM
For both of the connectors that "Block" the hdmi port this can be very easily bypassed. I have both the new xbox360 and older elite 360 and have modified both of there plugs to fit hdmi and sound.
You will need things like Pliers, Grind Stone, Snips...Take the grind stone-for the new xbox plug and just grind the tab off thats blocking the hdmi port... DONE

For the old xbox adapter, take a pair of snips and cut in between the two plastic covers and eventually they will pop apart and you can work the rest of it off with pliers and snips.
Hopes this helps anyone
Posted: 4 years 6 months ago   | Permalink
David | 13 Nov, 2011 06:49 PM
I sawed the plastic tab off with a small hacksaw and it works great!
Posted: 4 years 6 months ago   | Permalink
Anonymous | 25 Nov, 2011 03:52 PM
love this page, has the exact info I was looking for. I would've liked to see a picture of an xbox using the hdmi audio cable, and the hdmi cable plugged into the back at the same time.
Posted: 4 years 5 months ago   | Permalink
Draco7182 | 14 Dec, 2011 08:32 AM
I had just got a HDTV and I was very close to buying the RCA adapter for my X11. This article saved me some money and that is always a good thing. Thank you Turtle Beach. (I love headset BTW. I never play without it.) :)
Posted: 4 years 5 months ago   | Permalink
Anonymous | 26 Dec, 2011 12:00 PM
Why would you make a product if the connection pieces are discontinued. This article was helpful yet I will not be able to use my turtle beaches ear force seeing as microsoft discontinued making the adapter cable
Posted: 4 years 4 months ago   | Permalink
Jane | 05 Apr, 2012 09:36 AM
Just wanted to let you know that your Knowledgebase/support website is absolutley superb! Please keep up the good work!
Posted: 4 years 1 month ago   | Permalink
Option | 31 May, 2012 04:20 PM
I spread the word to make everyone's lives easier. If your turtles have them red and white RCA plugs, just buy one of these and get the audio from where you usually plug your headphones:

No need for adapters!!
Posted: 3 years 11 months ago   | Permalink
Anonymous | 05 Jun, 2012 12:27 PM
Microsoft discontinued the part but its available allll over the internet for like five bucks
Posted: 3 years 11 months ago   | Permalink
Blake | 09 Jun, 2012 05:11 AM
Just got a third party HDMI cable, and went to play with my TBs. Didn't work, sawed the little plastic tab off the bottom of my original audio/video cable, and both fit pretty easily into the back of the 360. Took about three minutes, and one cut thumb. No biggie. Thanks
Posted: 3 years 11 months ago   | Permalink
Shackfin | 29 Aug, 2012 05:26 AM
This is what i'm looking for. I almost bought a standard original hdmi cable from microsoft, I end up bught a third party HDMI cable called 360HDMI and it went excellent. I can use the headset without problems and give good display quality. Because, as far as i know the original cable (and the adapter)from microsoft is sucks. It cost very expensive but the quality same like a normal cheap stuff in the market.

In the end, i bought the cheap audio adapter (yes, it cost no more than $5) and bought the cable from www.360HDMI.com (my friend which is a former game creator works for microsoft refer me to this). The display quality really different, like comparing DVD and blu-ray. The sound quality also great, it is the same as you bought the standard one.
Posted: 3 years 8 months ago   | Permalink
bnr1104 | 09 Dec, 2012 06:13 PM
THANK YOU! My son is now a happy camper and no extra money was spent. A little manual labor and voila!
Posted: 3 years 5 months ago   | Permalink
Rory McKay | 02 Feb, 2013 05:27 PM
WOwza thanks for this saved me buying yet another cable - my Dad sawed off the blocking part and bingo it works a treat!
Posted: 3 years 3 months ago   | Permalink
Dan | 19 Mar, 2013 08:12 AM
Well just as i get excited to finally switch from the co-axials to an hdmi cable and BAM, no audio output. just like that. My appreciation for the write up, you saved some drywall patch work and possibly a new controller...was a close one.So I guess i just need the av/digital jack and a little tooling around. Gah. Personally I don't understaand why they even come with av cables, I think its safe to say more people have hdmi capable TV's, and considering the cables cost less then the gas to get them it should be the lesser group thats forced to get cables that work for them.
Posted: 3 years 2 months ago   | Permalink
Seftalia | 29 May, 2013 02:02 PM
Thanks guys for taking the time to put together such thorough and comprehensive info on your Web Site. I was lost, but this saved the day. Keep the good work.
Posted: 2 years 11 months ago   | Permalink
LadyOkashii | 16 Jun, 2013 10:13 PM
OMG! I was unable to get the game audio to come through the headset. Read this article and DUH ME! I plugged them into audio in ports instead of audio out. *facepalm* Thanks for the detailed instructions! Happy Gaming!
Posted: 2 years 11 months ago   | Permalink

Prev   Next
Stereo Sound on PC - PX51, XP510, PX4, XP400, Tango, X-Ray     Connections: No Analog & Optical at the same time