Homemade PS4 Headset

I’ve never been particularly good at multiplayer games, partly because I don’t play them enough to get better! But I’ve joined some friends in a few games of Fortnite over the past couple of days as one of our ways to stay in touch.

To play the game properly, I needed a headset to chat with the squad. I tried to use the headsets I already had for phone/laptop, but none of them were working. I put in an order online, but I figured I could make my own with some spare parts I had lying around…

I discovered that the reason my other headsets hadn’t worked was because there are different standards for wiring phone connectors; iPhones are wired for the CTIA standard and PS4s are wired for the OMTP standard:

A 4-conductor phone connector with labels identifying the rings for two conflicting standards. From tip to base, the OMTP standard uses left audio, right audio, microphone and ground. The CTIA standard flips the microphone and ground connectors.
Conflicting standards between iPhone and PS4 headsets

I didn’t have any spare 4-conductor jacks, but I have an audio jack to 3 RCA sockets, and that was a start. All I needed was some compatible devices!

Somehow I still have an old dynamic microphone, last used to record the bands at a party nearly 20 years ago, and I knew I was on to something:

Vintage-style dynamic microphone
Vintage-style dynamic microphone

All that I needed now were some headphones. I clipped off the standard audio jack and stripped back the sleeves to reveal 2 wire pairs that I could solder to RCA plugs. In both the RCA cables and headphone cables, the standard copper is ground and the coloured cables are positive. I did a pretty OK job with a battered old soldering iron:

Soldering the RCA plugs to the headphones
Soldering the RCA plugs to the headphones

Now I should be good to go!

The end product connected to the PS4 controller
The end product connected to the PS4 controller

After a couple of tests, I found I needed the microphone in the yellow input for the PS4 to detect the microphone, then switch it to the red input to actually hear sound. I suspect it’s doing some more advanced input detection than this jury-rigged set-up is able to support!

Here’s me sporting the end product:

Me wearing the homemade headset
Fashion trend not likely to catch on.

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