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Xbox Stereo Headset Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Oct 20, 2021 at 09:52 am
Xbox Stereo Headset Picture
6.1
Neutral Sound
4.8
Commute/Travel
5.6
Sports/Fitness
5.9
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
6.7
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
Type Over-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless No
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Xbox Stereo Headset is the wired and more budget-friendly counterpart of the Xbox Wireless Headset. While both headsets share the same well-built and comfortable design, this wired headset has notably fewer features, and you won't be able to customize its sound to your liking. Still, its boom mic has a great recording quality, ensuring that your teammates hear you clearly. Fans of action-packed gameplay can also enjoy this headset's very boomy and warm sound profile, which helps bring out sound effects. However, the mic struggles to separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you. Not everyone can appreciate the dark treble range either, as it veils vocals and lead instruments.

Our Verdict

6.1 Neutral Sound

The Xbox Stereo Headset is mediocre for neutral sound. This headset has a very boomy sound profile, which adds intense body and warmth to mixes. However, this can sound very muddy, and since the treble range is also very underemphasized, vocals and lead instruments are dark, while sibilants like cymbals are dull. It's prone to inconsistencies in its audio delivery, too, so you may need to adjust its fit, positioning, and seal each time you use it to get a more consistent sound.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • Closed-off and small passive soundstage.
4.8 Commute/Travel

The Xbox Stereo Headset is poor for commute and travel. Although it has a comfortable and well-built design, it's also bulky and doesn't come with a carrying case to help protect it when you're on the go. Also, it struggles to block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines, and since it has a gamer-centric design, it lacks controls such as play/pause or answer/end calls.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • Non-detachable cable design.
5.6 Sports/Fitness

The Xbox Stereo Headset is disappointing for sports and fitness. This headset isn't designed for this use as it has a bulky design and its wired cable isn't detachable, so it can get snagged on something and pull the headset off your ears. Also, the headset can move around on your head with more intense movement, and it lacks an IP certification for water resistance.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Can fall off your head with intense movement.
  • Non-detachable cable design.
5.9 Office

The Xbox Stereo Headset is sub-par for office use. This headset has a bulky, gamer-centric frame, and it struggles to block out background noise such as ambient chatter. It also lacks more robust controls such as play and pause audio as well as answer and end calls, which can be frustrating if you take calls for work. However, it has a well-built and comfortable design, so you shouldn't feel too much fatigue if you're wearing them for multiple hours at a time.

Pros
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
4.7 Wireless Gaming

The Xbox Stereo Headset is a wired headset, and you can't use it wirelessly.

6.7 Wired Gaming

The Xbox Stereo Headset is adequate for wired gaming. This headset has a comfortable and well-built design that shouldn't be too tiring to wear throughout a long gaming marathon. It has a boom mic that's able to record your voice clearly, although it has trouble separating speech from moderate ambient noise, which can be an issue if you're gaming near an open window with a lot of traffic. Unfortunately, it lacks sound customization features like an EQ to help adjust its sound to your liking.

Pros
  • Mic has great recording quality.
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • Closed-off and small passive soundstage.
6.3 Phone Calls

The Xbox Stereo Headset is passable for phone calls. If you don't mind its gamer-centric design, it has a boom mic that offers a great recording quality, ensuring you're heard clearly. However, the mic struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise, which could be a problem if you're taking a call from a busy street. The headset doesn't block out ambient noise well either, so you may struggle to hear whoever's on the other end of the line clearly.

Pros
  • Mic has great recording quality.
  • Comfortable and well-built design.
Cons
  • Prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery.
  • Poor noise isolation performance.
  • 6.1 Neutral Sound
  • 4.8 Commute/Travel
  • 5.6 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.9 Office
  • 4.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 6.7 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Oct 20, 2021: Review published.
  2. Updated Oct 15, 2021: Early access published.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The Xbox Stereo Headset looks nearly identical to the Xbox Wireless Headset. Instead of green accents around the ear cups, the cable is neon green. Otherwise, the headset is mostly made of black plastic. The mic can't retract, but you can wrap it around the ear cup when you're not using it.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.61 lbs
Clamping Force
1.1 lbs

The Xbox Stereo Headset has a comfortable fit. The ear cups are spacious, and the faux leather padding feels nice on the skin. The headband doesn't clamp too tightly either, so you shouldn't experience too much fatigue if you're wearing them for long periods. However, the ear cups have no range of motion. We also noticed that our unit's hinges are hard to move, so you may have to remove them from your head to adjust their fit. This issue may be limited to our unit, though.

6.0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Great
Feedback Great
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control Mute/Unmute
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The Xbox Stereo Headset has mediocre controls. It's very similar to the Xbox Wireless Headset and is easy to use, although now it lacks channel mixing, which some users may find disappointing. The mute button is clicky, and there's a red sticker to indicate when you're muted. There are also stops when you've reached min and max volume.

On the left ear cup:

  • Button: Mutes and unmutes the mic.

On the right ear cup:

  • Dial: Adjusts the volume.

6.5
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 5.8 °C

The Xbox Stereo Headset has okay breathability. It has an over-ear design, so it traps in some heat, which could make you sweat more than normal. However, it shouldn't be too problematic if you're gaming on your couch.

5.5
Design
Portability
L 7.7" (19.6 cm)
W 6.4" (16.2 cm)
H 3.5" (9.0 cm)
Volume 174.41 in³ (2,858.00 cm³)
Transmitter Required No

This headset has disappointing portability, which is to be expected from most gaming headphones. It's bulky and can't fold into a more compact shape. It also doesn't come with a carrying case to help protect it when you're on the go.

0
Design
Case
Type No case
L N/A
W N/A
H N/A
Volume N/A
7.5
Design
Build Quality

The Xbox Stereo Headset has a good build quality. The headband has faux leather padding with a metal band inside to help reinforce the frame. The hinges and yokes also feel solid, while the padding feels good against your skin. Like most gaming headphones, it lacks an IP rating for dust or water resistance, though. However, it should survive a couple of accidental falls or impacts without taking too much damage. Unlike the Xbox Wireless Headset, we also didn't notice any creaking or grinding noises around both ear cups.

7.0
Design
Stability

The Xbox Stereo Headset has decent stability. This headset should stay put on your head while you're gaming from your couch. However, it can fall off your head with more intense movements since it isn't designed for sports.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Xbox Stereo Headset
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
3.71 dB
Treble Amount
-4.83 dB

This headset has a very bass-heavy sound profile. While it's not as overwhelming as the Xbox Wireless Headset, it still delivers intense boom, which some users may find muddies their mixes. Vocals and lead instruments are also veiled and dark. Unfortunately, it lacks an EQ to help you customize its sound to your liking.

5.3
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
1.39 dB

The Xbox Stereo Headset's frequency response consistency performance is disappointing. Bass and treble delivery can vary greatly and is sensitive to the fit, seal, and positioning of the headset. If you have thick hair or wear glasses, you may be especially prone to hearing a drop in bass.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
6.7
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
5.36 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
13.94 Hz
Low-Bass
1.19 dB
Mid-Bass
5.28 dB
High-Bass
8.24 dB

The bass accuracy of the Xbox Stereo Headset is okay. It's overemphasized across the range, so your mixes have extra thump, rumble, and boom. However, some users may find this sounds overly boomy and muddy.

Note: Bass delivery can vary depending on fit, seal, and positioning. Our results represent the average bass response, and your experience may differ.

7.3
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.54 dB
Low-Mid
2.99 dB
Mid-Mid
-0.02 dB
High-Mid
-4.23 dB

The mid accuracy of this headset is decent. There's some overemphasis that extends from the bass range into the low-mid, which can make your mixes sound cluttered and muddy. The mid-mid is fairly flat and neutral in comparison, so vocals and lead instruments are present. However, the dip in the high-mid weakens these sounds and can make them sound distant.

4.2
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.97 dB
Mid-Treble
-0.78 dB
Low-Treble
-9.1 dB
High-Treble
-6.98 dB

The Xbox Stereo Headset has poor treble accuracy. It's underemphasized across the range, so vocals and lead instruments sound very veiled and lacking in detail. Sibilants like S and T sounds are slightly dulled.

Note: Treble delivery can vary across users depending on the headset's fit, seal, and positioning. Our results represent the average treble response, and your experience may vary.

6.3
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.47 dB
Dips
1.98 dB

The Xbox Stereo Headset's peaks and dips performance is acceptable. A small dip in the low-bass affects the left driver more than the right, which lessens thump and rumble. However, both drivers experience a peak in the high-bass, adding extra boom to mixes. A dip in the low-mid slightly thins out vocals and lead instruments, while a peak between the mid to high-mid pushes them forward and slightly harshens them. A large dip in the low-treble veils and darkens the upper harmonics of vocals and lead instruments, and a steep peak in the mid-treble turns sibilants like cymbals piercing.

7.2
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.32
Weighted Phase Mismatch
12.58
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.65
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
3.05

The Xbox Stereo Headset has a decent imaging performance. Although there are a couple of small peaks in the group delay's bass range, they're minor, and most of the group delay otherwise falls below the audibility threshold. This results in fairly tight bass and transparent treble. However, there are a few peaks above the audibility threshold in the phase response, which you can hear in regular audio. There is also an audible difference between both drivers from the mid-bass up to the mid-range as the right driver sounds louder than the left driver. On the upside, the L/R drivers are well-matched in amplitude and frequency response, which helps the balance and stability of the stereo image. Our results are only valid for our unit, though, and yours may perform differently.

4.3
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
6.03 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
2.61 dB
PRTF Distance
8.28 dB
Openness
5.0
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.8

The Xbox Stereo Headset's passive soundstage is poor. Like other closed-back headsets such as the Xbox Wireless Headset, its soundstage seems unnatural, closed-off, and small. Audio also feels like it's coming from inside your head, rather than from speakers placed in the room around you.

2.0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
On/Off
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
Windows Sonic Spatial Audio

This headset is compatible with Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X. It's fairly easy to enable Windows Sonic Spatial Audio on an Xbox console by going into your Xbox's settings. If you want to use Window Sonic Spatial Audio on PC, you need to connect an Xbox controller to the PC and connect the controller to the headset. Then, you can go to the 'Windows Sound Settings' page and enable this feature.

The Xbox Stereo Headset is also compatible with DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. However, you need to purchase a license to use these features, and it seems to only be available on Xbox consoles. You can find the instructions on how to access these features here. While we couldn't find any information regarding whether this headset supports Dolby Atmos when connected to a PC, we're looking into this issue and will update the review if necessary.

6.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.610
WHD @ 100
0.251

The Xbox Stereo Headset's weighted harmonic distortion performance is okay. There's a peak from the high-mid to low-treble range at normal listening volumes, which may be audible with real-life content and could affect the purity of your audio. However, the rest of the frequencies fall within good levels.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
No Firmware
Power
Passive
Connection
Wired
Codec
PCM, 24-bit, 48kHz
EQ
No EQ
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Boom

These are the settings used to test this headset. Our results are only valid in this configuration.

Isolation
4.9
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-14.78 dB
Bass
-0.21 dB
Mid
-10.92 dB
Treble
-34.07 dB

The Xbox Stereo Headset has a poor noise isolation performance. It struggles to block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines. It's somewhat better at reducing office chatter, though it may not be enough if you work in a busy environment, and it can block out a lot of high-pitched noises such as the hum of an AC unit.

7.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
36.4 dB

The Xbox Stereo Headset has a good leakage performance. It leaks across the range, but it falls below the noise level of an average office. If you like to listen to audio at high volumes, it's unlikely to bother others around you unless you're in a quiet environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
No
In-Line
No
Boom
Yes
Detachable Boom
No
8.3
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
128.84 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
2.29 dB
HFE
8,736.03 Hz
Weighted THD
0.294
Gain
19.1 dB

The boom mic has a great recording quality. Your voice sounds clear, natural, and easy to understand.

5.7
Microphone
Noise Handling
SpNR
14.73 dB
Noise Gate
No
Speech + Pink Noise Handling
5.5
Speech + Pink Noise Audio Sample
Speech + Subway Noise Handling
6.0
Speech + Subway Noise Audio Sample

The boom mic has a sub-par noise handling performance. It has a lot of trouble separating your voice from moderate ambient noise around you. Your voice may be drowned out if you're gaming near an open window with noise such as traffic.

Active Features
0
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
No Battery
Continuous Battery Life
N/A
Additional Charges
N/A
Total Battery Life
N/A
Charge Time
N/A
Power-Saving Feature
No
Audio While Charging
No
Passive Playback
Passive Headphone
Charging Port None
0
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Xbox Stereo Headset is compatible with Xbox Accessories software on PC, but you can't change any of its settings, which is a little disappointing. To connect to this software, you need an Xbox controller that's connected to the headset for it to be detected. Once the controller is connected to your PC, the headset appears.

If you want to enable the virtual soundstage feature, Windows Sonic Spatial Audio, on PC, you need to connect an Xbox controller to the PC as well as connect the controller to the headset. Then, you can go to the 'Windows Sound Settings' page and enable this feature. This headset is also compatible with DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. However, you need to purchase a license to use these features, and it seems to only be available on Xbox consoles. However, we are looking into this.

Connectivity
0
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
No Bluetooth
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
N/A
PC Latency (SBC)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
N/A
Android Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
9.0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
Yes
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length 4.27 ft (1.30 m)
Connection
1/8" TRRS
Analog/USB Audio Latency
0 ms

This headset has a non-detachable 1/8" TRRS cable, which you can use on all devices that have an AUX port.

Connectivity
PC Compatibility
Analog
Audio + Microphone
Wired USB
No
Non-BT Wireless
No

This headset can connect to PCs using its 1/8" TRRS cable with full audio and mic compatibility. However, it can't connect to PCs in any other way.

Connectivity
PlayStation Compatibility
PS4 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS4 Wired USB
No
PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
PS5 Analog
Audio + Microphone
PS5 Wired USB
No
PS5 Non-BT Wireless
No

The Xbox Stereo Headset can only connect to PS4 and PS5 consoles when you plug their non-detachable audio cable into your PlayStation controller's AUX port. This connection allows full audio and mic compatibility.

Connectivity
Xbox Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
Xbox Series X|S Analog
Audio + Microphone
Xbox Series X|S Wired USB
No
Xbox Series X|S Non-BT Wireless
No

The Xbox Stereo Headset can only connect to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles via analog. When plugged into your controller's AUX port, you have full audio and mic compatibility.

0
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
No Base/Dock
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
No
Power Supply
No Base/Dock

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Xbox Stereo Headset comes in one color variant: Black. You can see our model's label here. If you come across another variant of these headphones, please let us know in the discussions, and we'll update our review.

Compared To Other Headphones

The Xbox Stereo Headset is the more wallet-friendly and wired counterpart of the Xbox Wireless Headset. Like the wireless variant, it has easy-to-use controls and a comfortable, well-built design. Its boom mic also does a great job of recording your voice so you sound clear to your teammates. It doesn't offer any functionality when connected to Xbox Accessories software, though, and you won't be able to adjust their boomy sound profile. Unlike the Astro A10, the audio cable isn't detachable either, which is a little disappointing.

Check out our recommendations for the best headsets for Xbox Series X/S, the best Xbox One headsets, and the best gaming headsets under $100.

Astro A10

The Astro A10 are better wired gaming headphones than the Xbox Stereo Headset. The Astro have more consistent audio delivery, a better overall mic performance, and they have a detachable audio cable, which is handy if you break or lose it. However, the Xbox headphones are more comfortable and are compatible with virtual soundstage features like Window Sonic Spatial Audio.

Xbox Wireless Headset

The Xbox Wireless Headset and the Xbox Stereo Headset are similar gaming headphones with different strengths. The Wireless support Xbox Wireless, although they have somewhat high latency. They also have a channel mixing dial, a better overall boom mic performance, and are compatible with Xbox Accessories software, which offers a graphic EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound. However, some users may prefer the Stereo's wired 1/8" TRRS design. The ear cups are also more breathable.

HyperX Cloud Alpha

The HyperX Cloud Alpha are better wired gaming headphones than the Xbox Stereo Headset. The HyperX are more comfortable, feel better built, and have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer. Their boom mic also has a better noise handling performance, and they have a detachable audio cable. However, the Xbox headphones' mic has a better recording quality.

Sony PULSE 3D Wireless

The Sony PULSE 3D Wireless are more versatile gaming headphones than the Xbox Stereo Headset. The Sony have more consistent audio delivery, their sound profile is more neutral, which some users may prefer, and they have low non-Bluetooth wireless latency. However, the Xbox Stereo are more comfortable and have a better build quality. Their boom mic also offers a significantly better overall performance.

SteelSeries Arctis 1

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 are better wired gaming headphones than the Xbox Stereo Headset. The SteelSeries have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, a better passive soundstage, and their mic offers superior overall performance. However, the Xbox headphones are more comfortable and feel better built. They also have a virtual soundstage feature.

Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P

The Turtle Beach Recon 50X/Recon 50P and the Xbox Stereo Headset are both gaming headphones with different strengths. The Turtle Beach have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and their overall mic performance is better. However, the Xbox headphones are more comfortable, better built, and have a more stable fit.

Turtle Beach Recon 70

The Turtle Beach Recon 70 and the Xbox Stereo Headset are two gaming headphones with different strengths. The Turtle Beach have a more neutral sound profile, which some users may prefer, and the boom mic has a better noise handling performance. However, the Xbox headphones are more comfortable, better built, and more stable.

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