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Gaming/Gaming Headsets


Hi, i was wondering if you know what gaming headsets can be used for more than 1 audio input at the same time, e.g listening to my itunes through my laptop whilst hearing game volume from my xbox, i would like it to be able to hear both overlapping rather than switching from xbox to pc as i talk to friends on xbox.

Hello there - sorry for the very late reply (and this reply is likely not coming from the expert you originally asked); I located this question in the question pool today (3/23) and can provide an answer. Hopefully this information is of some assistance:

What you want, at least in a headset by itself, is not generally going to exist - most headsets are pretty simple when it comes to input handling: they're generally just a collection of passive drivers (the speaker part), and a microphone, and rely on whatever they're plugging into (like your laptop) to provide all of the processing/control. Some have in-line volume controls, which are fairly simple passive attenuators (they restrict how much of the signal can pass through them). More complex USB models would allow you to mix the volume level on the computer they're plugged into (using the computer's mixer), but not plug into multiple devices directly. This would be a problem for your application because there would be no way to "separate" the mic for use by the Xbox.

This leaves you with a couple of options to address what you'd like to do:

The easiest way would be to connect the headphones to your computer directly, and then feed the Xbox into the computer and adjust the volume from iTunes and the Line-In to get the right "blend" for your tastes (using the computer's mixer). You would need to provide an additional microphone for the Xbox, and the computer would have to be powered on to use the Xbox with the headset as well.

Alternately, you could get some form of a mixer device and connect both the Xbox and computer to that, and use that to feed the headphones. This would give you maximum control over each input, not require the computer (or Xbox) to be powered on to use the other, but would mean another component sitting in your room/office (wherever you've got things setup). You would still need to provide an additional microphone.

Regarding the "additional microphone" - the issue here is that the microphone will need to connect to the Xbox audio-input (that's where you want to use voice-chat), while the headphones need to be connected to something routing both signals. If you purchase a headset with separate connectors for the mic and audio (usually this will mean green and pink plugs) you could use that, alternately just add a mic to a normal pair of headphones.

You could use something like this as an external mic:

Or buy a headset that connects like this: (notice the separate green and pink connectors - one is for audio, one is for the mic)

As far as an external mixer, something like this:

You would connect the Xbox to one of the stereo pairs (like In 3/4) and the computer to another stereo pair (like In 5/6) and then adjust their levels individually, as well as the output level for the headphones (you could also connect speakers via the main-out level). This would give much more flexibility, and the ability to add more devices. You would basically be ignoring the mic and FX sections for your usage scenario.



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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner. I have a personal interest in PC gaming, and can apply my experience to such an end. Questions related to 3D games on OS X or other platforms are less likely to get answered.


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