Instructables

Convert your XBox Live Communicator headset into a PC USB Headset

DIY USB Headset for PC. Do you have an old XBox 1 Live puck and headset laying around? Does your local resale shop or friend have one you could aquire? Repurpose that old communicator as a USB headset for Windows!

Supplies needed:
Xbox Live Communicator 'Puck' that used to fit inside of the controller
An old USB cable that you can cut up
Soldering iron
Windows XP 32bit, Sorry, there are no drivers for XBox1 communicator under Vista.
Xbox Headset Drivers (thanks redcl0ud!)

Optional parts if you want to make it work with a 360 headset:
Dremel or side cutters to remove plastic
Xbox360 Headset (20 dollars)

You can also use a headset for an old cell phone if you like, most 3 conductor ones will work with no modification.

Background:
The XBox 1 controller was a USB device with a built in 2 port USB hub. You could put accessories in the 2 slots, one of which was the Live Communicator puck. A cool guy named RedCl0ud made Windows drivers for the controller, and sound drivers for Communicator puck too. The sound quality of the USB adapter is excellent and well suited for VOIP or Teamspeak. For a while I used to have the controller with the puck in it and used it that way with the PC, but it was kind of a mess having all of those wires and a big controller I wasn't using laying on the desk. So in this instructable, we eliminate the need for the controller's proprietary jack and install a USB cable directly to the puck. Optionally, you can remove the plastic around the jack as I did so you can use a 360 headset without modification. I find the 360 headset is immensely more comfortable compared to the original XBox1 headset, and doesn't break so easy! However, you are free to use any mic of your choosing, as long as it has the mini 2.5mm jack on it like a cell phone headset.

You can also use any communicator that originally worked with the XBox1, including aftermarket like the Logitech wireless unit. The drivers should work with all variants.
 
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Step 1: Attaching the USB Cable

Picture of Attaching the USB Cable
solderdetail.jpg
tapeit.jpg
USB_A_pinout.jpg
To start off, we need to solder the USB cable to the puck.

1) Remove the two screws on the back of the puck and pop it apart.
2) Carefully bend the proprietary jack up and down until it breaks off. Be careful not to rip the pads off of the PCB! (if you do this, you may be able to use the Test Points under the board as alternate solder locations)
3) Heat up the terminals with the iron and remove the broken bits from the last step.
4) Cut the end off of your spare USB cable. You should cut off the end that DOESN'T go into your computer. :)
5) Strip off 1 inch of outer insulation. If your USB cable has a braided shield you can either get fancy and put it in tape or insulated tubing like I did, or just cut it off. Strip off a cm of insulation from the colored wires and tin them with your iron and solder.
6) Solder the wires to the puck like in the picture. If you have a shield, it could go with the black cable on the first pin, or you could cut it off if you want.
7) Put tape on the USB cable where you cut the outside insulation off. This prevents the braid from shorting out on the board if you run the wire out the side.
8) If you want, you can make a small notch in the two parts of the case for the wire to come out. If you run it out of the bottom, it doesn't have a very good stress relief and it might break one day and short out on you!

All done! If everything went well, the LED should turn on and windows will detect it as an unknown device when you plug it in.

Be very careful with the wiring. If you do not have colors on your USB cable, try to use the pinout diagram below to figure out which wire is which with an Ohm Meter or Multimeter. It is ok to accidentally reverse the D+ and D- wires, you can change them back when it doesn't work. However if you reverse the power wires, you may let the magical smoke escape and fry your USB port or the puck.

Step 2: OPTIONAL: Modifying the case for use with a 360 headset

cutting2.jpg
completed.jpg
The 360 headset is different than the original headset because it has its own little 'pod' with a volume control and mute switch. Unfortunately, you cannot just plug it in because of all of this extra plastic. Since the 360 Headset probably has more worth to you, we will modify the communicator puck instead, that way you can still use your headset with your 360.

Note: The 360 controller has a volume on it. So does the communicator puck. :) Set one to max and use the other for volume adjustment, it doesn't matter which. I prefer the orange dial on the puck since it's large.

To modify the case, try to cut the plastic as I did in the pictures below. I accidentally dremeled the front a bit too much and now theres a gap.. try not to make the same mistake if you want it to look nice. Test fit the 360 part with the PCB inside of the case to make sure its plugging in all the way into the 2.5mm jack.

Step 3: Installing the drivers

drivers3.jpg
teamspeak.jpg
This is easy, just find RedCl0uds XBAudio driver installer (currently xbaudio02.exe) and run it. It will install the drivers and the next time you plug the unit in, it will be detected as an audio device. One thing, when you install a new audio device in Windows, it assumes you want that device to be the default for all sound output. You don't want that! (We'll I guess you might in some cases like a laptop or something..)

To fix this situation after you have plugged it in, open up Control Panel and go to Sounds and Audio Devices. On the Audio tab, you will see the top two dropdown boxes have changed to the Xbox Headset. Change the top dropdown back to your sound card instead. On the next tab called Voice, make sure both dropdown boxes are set to the XBox Headset. I leave mine plugged in all the time so I never have to adjust the Sound settings again.

Configuring your VOIP or Chat programs, you are on your own there... In most cases they allow you to select the device you want to talk on, and another device you want to hear the alerts on. (like ringing)
Remember to choose Headset for anything talking, and normal soundcard for everything else.

If you are using Teamspeak, I have included a screenshot on how it should be set up. Make sure its on 'Wave' instead of 'Directsound' otherwise it will sound scratchy.
Good Luck and thanks for reading!
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gir6 years ago
how would i do this with windows vista? it has a different and confusing setup heh
oktane (author)  gir6 years ago
Sorry, I do not think the drivers are compatible with vista. I don't use it yet so I cannot verify. If you have a wired 360 controller and headset you can use that in vista though..
That's pretty unlucky for me, I have windows 7 64bit and I have the same problem as gir but I'm using an xbox original controller and a communicator puck set up to fit with an xbox360 headset. I can't get the drivers and I don't have a wired 360 controller and there's no way I'm buying anything from Microsoft. However the benefits of windows 7, in my opinion far outweigh the the problems I'm having. just for the record it comes down to whether or not Redcloud makes xbaudio drivers for windows vista and 7 64bit. I'm doubting it though.
before you load the drivers right click the installation program and click settings. go to the combatablity tab and click run in xp combatablity mode. once that is done, save changes and right click the the installation program again and this tie click run as administrator. that should work. you may also need to resign the driver itself. the program i use for doing it is called Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider. you can get it from here
http://www.ngohq.com/home.php?page=dseo
to use it you must disable uac inside of win 7. when you run the program you must do as administrator. right click run as admin.
i hope this works for you. I am about to try myself to to see if it works. I am also using windows 7 64 bit. I know your pain about finding things with full support. i will let you know if it works.
Its not working. I already had UAC turned off and I am already using dseo. I've tried the run as admin and the compatibility settings but nothing.
you must also enable test mode. when the program install the driver it put the driver in the the driver folder under the system 32 folder which is found inside the windows folder.
I already know where everything is in the windows 7 filesystem. I've had test mode enabled since March because I use the xbox 1 controller still on it. Where do I get or where is a copy of the driver installed from xbaudiov02.exe? Its not in my driver folders(64bit or 32bit) and its not in my program files. I only have xbaudiov02.exe that is supposed to install in windows xp and older.
oktane (author)  nobody3944 years ago
Hey guys, the drivers were made for 32 bit XP. I doubt they are going to work for Vista or 7 32 bit, but you can try. I have in the past used old XP drivers for laptops and windows 7, sometimes it works and sometimes not. (32 bit only)

But this device has no chance of working in a 64 bit OS with 32 bit drivers.

You'll notice that DustSeven7 gave you instructions but said at the end that he hasn't verified they work. I would not waste your time trying to get 32 bit drivers to work if you have a 64 bit OS, it is just impossible for that to work. :(

See here if you don't believe me: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-vista/32-bit-and-64-bit-windows-frequently-asked-questions

Sorry this Ible has become pretty useless now that XP is so old and people have stopped using it. I know I stopped using it a few years ago. If I could compile new drivers for it I would, because the sound quality on this thing is much better than the newer 360 controllers.
diblu oktane4 years ago
I installed the XBAudio driver (version 02)  long time ago and I remember that I had problems making it work.... tho i finaly made it work for windows Vista, dont ask me how because I don't have any idea. But if u tell where to look I could see and reply back where the driver is installed.
nobody394 diblu4 years ago
It should be in your system disk (usually your  C:\ Drive)\Windows\System32\Drivers\xbaudio.sys
if not then it would be in windows\sysWOW64\Driver\xbaudio.sys
diblu gir4 years ago
I'm using this on windows Vista, the thing is i dont know how i did it :s
judge fudge6 years ago
You COULD destroy your 360 headset.. or you can buy a better headset for your pc off ebay for like $5
oktane (author)  judge fudge6 years ago
Hmm, this doesn't destroy anything except an old useless XBox live puck for the original Xbox. I don't think a lot of people play MP on the XBox1 anymore. (cept Halo) You can just unplug the XBox360 headset from it and use it with the 360 again. The point is to recycle things that work fine, not buy new plastic garbage off fleabay. Not everything has to be tossed in the bin just just because its unused or it's life is done. In this case it is possible to re-purpose it for PC use. I use mine all the time and made some for my friends. :) Too bad it doesn't work on Vista though.
damn.. but i HAVE vista
May be able to get it to work if you set the program to run in a compatibility mode. I dunno though. Probably worth a shot, if you really want to do this.
can you tell me how to set the program in a compatibility mode?? I dont know how i made this work on my pc (windows vista). Now im trying to make it work for my brother that has Vista too
thats why i have a quad-boot system 2000 & XP pro on one harddrive(dual boot) then XP MCE & Vista Ultimate on the other harddrive(dual boot) with a modified roto switch to switch between the drives before powering up of the computer. Windows 2000 i use for classic gaming, XP pro is mostly used for gaming, video, music, misc software, my most used OS; XP MCE for music and video for use with 360, Vista for just kicks and development. 2nd hobby: popping capacitors that come from disposable cameras! Smell the magical smoke!
I feel sorry for you. =/
Reinstall the good ol' XP =D

But, please correct me, isn't a compatibility mode on Vista?
Ever tried this?
well everyone poor that can't get a 360 well in my case my dad won't buy me 1 cuz he said u don't need 1 u have a ps2 a ds witch i don't play and i wanted a 360 or a psp plus the other xbox buy it ur self so anyway pepole still play starwars bf 1 and 2 halo 2 splinter cell pt and ct but not many play da and even 360 users still play halo 2 cuz it got a better score will i like halo 3 so wat i'm trying to say is xbox was good people shuld of saw dat till everyone got ps2 well in my book ps2 will beat ps2 anyday last of all if any body wants to play halo 2 my name is "living to die x"
You can do that OR buy a 2.5MM to 3.5MM adapter and just plug it in your Mic input..much more simple than this.
judge fudge is right so you dont have to go through all the trouble
I did't need to my moto head set fit as if it came with it but all i'm doing this for is my xbox head set broke i pulled at it thing as if it could come of well it could but didn't know how so your 360 mod of cuting the plug thing as alowed me to go out and buy a 360 head set so i can use it for the 360 pad pluged to my pc "'games for vista" and my xbox thanks this has helped a lot
jjmgryphon5 years ago
I just did this to a XB Live headset I picked up at game stop and they work great. Only issue I had was when I tried to solder the cable to the pens the solder on the board came off and I had to use a quick touch to get it all back in place but when it did it was great. This along with the modded XB controller makes me want to do a comp to XB conversion. Time to find a broken XB and start the mod. Thanks again.
bundito5 years ago
I just completed this and it worked perfectly. Great Instructable! I snipped off the plastic surrounding the "plug" that attaches to the circuit board so I could work on the board without the case. When I was done reassembling everything, I wrapped it up nice and tight with electrical tape. I also taped a binder clip to the underside so I could clip it to something and not risk pulling the solder connections apart.
OneirosGBR5 years ago
Thanks a lot for this, I'd been pondering a DIY PC headset for a while as I'm too tight to buy one, plus where's the fun in that? My soldering skills are abysmal and this is the first project like this I've ever tried and I still managed to get it done first try. I'm not using the Xbox earpiece, instead I removed the speaker altogether and mounted and wired the mic through my existing headphone casing so it's all one piece. Driver installed without a hitch. Thanks, redcl0ud!
awawawawa!!! i used a knife to open the comunicator and stabed myself in the palm! *bleeds real bad*
Williz7 years ago
Dammnit I really do need to get myself a soldering iron.
Rikasu Williz5 years ago
If there is a Horbor Freight tool store anywhere near your location you could get one for around $5.
Williz Rikasu5 years ago
Alas I live in merry ole England. So When I have money I'm going to homebase or Maplin.
flash13226 years ago
can you do it the opposite way convert the usb to a xbox 360 headset
Yeah, you would need the drivers =/
oktane (author)  flash13226 years ago
no, sorry. :( the 360 will not see it.
latino20006 years ago
my xbox headset 360 isnt like yours help me mine looks like the real one but doesnt fit as well
trembie6 years ago
Firstly thank you very much for this info. I used it and it worked great! But now my xbox headset decided to break the plastic clip (not happy). I have a Logitech stereo headset but I do not want to have to disconnect my external speaker system to use them. Is there a way of combining the two 3.5mm plugs (headphone mic and speakers) into a single 2.5mm plug and use it through this adapted xbox headset controller in place of the old xbox headset??
trembie trembie6 years ago
Thanx Oktane Looks easy enough to do. Time to give it a try.
oktane (author)  trembie6 years ago
Haw, yes that is a common problem with that poorly designed headset. If you have an old headset or earbud that came with a cell phone, you should try it.. it should work. If not, and you'd like to try to make an adapter, I've made you a diagram here, I hope I didn't make it too confusing. Thanks for the comments, and good luck!
pc_headset_to_2.5mm.png
How do I make it work with Steam?
oktane (author)  Ace_Of_Cardz6 years ago
Sorry, Valve does not support separate voice communication device like other games and programs do. :( I wish they would. You can use the mic to talk into but voice will come out of your big speakers.

See this thread for what I mean: http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37582
Lancealator6 years ago
I hooked the controller mic thing into my action replay thing and got it to work that way but now on half life 2 games I cant get the voices to go through my headset microphone instead of the speakers. Any idea what should be done.
oktane (author)  Lancealator6 years ago
Pretty sure some games like HL2 only support one audio output device. :(
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