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Making Noise For Two

January 18th, 2005 · No Comments · Gaming, Xbox

Many Xbox Live games allow you to let a friend or three join in on the fun. The game will split the screen for 2 (or sometimes 3 or 4) people, and you can all share one Xbox Live account and join in other games.

One drawback to doing this, besides having to share a television, is that only one person gets to wear the Xbox Live communicator. That means the other three people can’t communicate with other Xbox Live players. It also means, for some games which don’t support communicator output to the television (like Crimson Skies, which has as setting for it, but it never works), these players are completely in the dark.

There is a rather well-priced product to solve this: Team Talk, which basically provides a four way splitter and three basic headsets, all for $20. And people who have reviewed it said it works great.

My wife is considering joining me on some coop Ghost Recon 2 missions, so we were confronted with the communication issue. I hit a few local stores looking for Team Talk, but none of them carried it. I knew I could order it, but as a true impatient New Yorker, I wanted it now. (I was also hoping we might play that night, truth be told.) So after leaving a GameStop empty handed, I stood on the street and used my Sidekick to make a few Google searches.

Turns out you can simply get a 3/32″ sub mini plug splitter from Radio Shack to use two headsets from one controller. Xbox Live headsets use a standard 3/32″ sub mini plug for the communicator, which is what many cell phone headsets use. (So if you break the crappy headset that comes with Xbox Live, you probably have a headset around that came with a cell phone that will work. I’m currently using a rather comfortable and small $20 Jabra headset that I am very happy with..)

While Radio Shack does have a 3/32″ sub mini plug splitter, I realized I would want a bit of an extension cord for the second headset. Because of what my local Radio Shack had in stock, here’s what I ended up with:

  • One 3/32″ to 1/8″ splitter
  • One 1/8″ six foot headphone extension cable.
  • Two 1/8″ to 3/32″ stereo adapters.

The only monkey business is having to nip the plastic surrounding the jack on the splitter so it can fit into the Xbox communicator port, which is ridiculously recessed. Trimming it was simple, though, because the splitter is made of a waxy plastic that you can cut with a screwdriver blade. Once that was done, I just plugged the splitter into the Xbox Communicator port, plugged the extension into the splitter, and then used the two adapters on each of our headsets to plug into either the splitter directly or the extension.

It probably looks a little goofier than the Team Talk device, and in the end, it cost as much and didn’t come with any headsets (which we didn’t need anyway.) But I got it to work, and one additional bonus for us is the ability to send the communicator output to external speakers, much like I sometimes do with my iPod when I play Xbox. So now even if a game doesn’t support external audio for the communicator, I have an option.

And it also occurred to me that with another patch cord and two more adapters, I can use my iPod as an alternate output to Xbox Live. So now I’ve put a bunch of short (and hopefully amusing) movie quotes into a play list which I can use to create some mischief during matches. Quotes like Hicks from Aliens saying “I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up on current events, but we just got our asses kicked, pal!”

Any ideas for other quotes (I’ve already plundered the obvious, like any Arnold movies, Full Metal Jacket, and Aliens) let me know.

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