One of the problems with Xbox Live is that there’s no simple, effective way to flip chat on and off. You either have to be off Live, shut off all player chat by going into the settings (and you have to do that again to re-enable it), or plug in a mic, turn it all the way down, and play that way… which also drains your battery.
It’s incredibly annoying and a baffling design flaw. But with a handy bit of electrical engineering, you can put a bullet in it. Or, rather, a bullet casing.
The Silencer, despite the ominous name and the bullet casing used, is actually a fairly simple tool. It’s just an 1/8th inch jack, like the ones you find on earbuds, that you plug into the 360′s jack at the bottom of the controller. This apparently fools the controller into believing you have a mic hooked up, when really you’ve just put a sock in chat. Here’s the video example the team at Tactus Gear have put together:
The tool uses 9mm bullet casings because A) it looks cool and B) it makes the device itself recyclable and Earth-friendly. This is actually a fairly common tool in audio engineering when a pre-amp is busted and you don’t have time to fix it: Plugging in a dummy jack can drain the voltage that causes hums and other problems, but it’s nice to see the idea getting a wider audience.
The appeal is largely aimed at people with children, but players who like to use audio cues in multiplayer will probably find this worth the twelve bucks as well. It’s currently running on Kickstarter.