Xbox One Audio Review

Posted: Saturday, January 4, 2014 by Dylan Benson in Labels: , , ,

I have had some time to really mess around with the Xbox One.  Since this is not a game review blog, I’ll stick to the audio side of this.  There is more to talk about then you probably think.  So let’s dive into the expected, unexpected, and just flat out strange audio aspects of the Xbox One.

Microsoft released the Xbox One to the North American market on November 22, 2013 a few days behind Sony’s release of the PS4.  The highly anticipated console had a few unanticipated drawbacks for me.  The Xbox One only has two audio outputs: HDMI and optical.  This for me was a huge let down.

While I love audio and love audio gear, my budget doesn’t love it as much.  Therefore, my game chair and the rest of my audio setup has this wonderful thing called RCA.  Yes, I am quite aware that RCA is yesterday’s news, but it is still considered an industry standard.  For the Xbox One to limit me to just those outputs was a letdown. 

After spending over $700 on the Xbox One bundle I got, I then had purchase an HDMI video pass through and audio decoder/extractor box in order to get my audio system to work.  The little box from AGPTEK cost me an extra $50 (including shipping) on eBay (now listed as a crazy $135).  For those unfamiliar with this device, it operates just as it sounds: the HDMI video signal passes through, but the digital audio data is pulled from the cable, decoded, and sent through some RCA cables.  When I finally got the box, I did get everything set up, and now I can hear everything. 

Speaking of hearing everything, there is more to hear then I would like.  The power supply and the Xbox One itself both make noise when they are off.  The power supply hums (louder then I would expect), and the console clicks.  I have no clue what the clicking is.  Other people seem to be noticing this as well.  While it is constant, I don’t see any performance issues.  Take a listen to the audio I am talking about:

Everything I have listed is a drawback.  Right out of the box, I should have been able to play as I wanted it to.  Of course, I could have done my research ahead of time.  The power supply is unsettlingly noisy, and the clicking is concerning.  Even after all that, the Xbox One is a great system.  I would highly recommend it.  It is FAR better the four 360s I went through due to the infamous red ring of death.  I guess we’ll see how this console holds up over time.