Article by Alyx Jones
Turtle Beach is one of the best known brands for gaming headsets, a brand that’s commonplace at events such as EGX and Insomnia, probably due to their decent noise cancelling quality, immersing the players in the game even amongst crowds and other booth sounds. Although because this headset uses a wireless bluetooth connection, it might be easy to walk off with it at events, so maybe save it for home gaming!
This new headset in the Stealth series boasts a shedload of cool features, from 7.1 surround sound, to an easy flip-up mic that is muted in its upright position. It also comes with a higher end price tag of £129.99 to match all these bonuses, it’s certainly at the top end of the range, with the Elite Pro and Elite 800 being the only headsets more expensive to buy.
For the price tag, I did expect a really comfortable experience. Although they are not bad, extended gaming sessions may feel a bit fatiguing beneath these headphones. The ear cups are pretty standard, not the most soft or padded compared to others on the market, but not the worst either. The headband is adjustable and reasonably flexible but it does feel a little stiff, and the padding could be a little thicker and wider.
Having a feature like surround sound means setup isn’t quite as simple as plug and play. In the box comes an optical cable, a USB transmitter and a charging cable. The optical cable goes in the back of your PS4 and into the USB, that plugs in at the front, using up one of the precious 2 slots available. It’s then necessary to change quite a few settings on the PS4 in order to setup the headset, but once it’s working, it recognises when the headset is disconnected and reverts back to your default audio output. This is really useful if you enjoy switching between a headset and speakers. There is the slight annoyance of when booting up the PS4 if the USB is plugged in it assumes you want to use the headphones, even if the headset itself is powered down, but not really a big deal if you don’t mind getting up to unplug it when you turn on your playstation. If you’re lucky enough to own a PS4 slim, then the setup process should be a bit faster, as you can skip the optical cable (although you still lose a USB slot), and the number of settings that need adjusting is lower. Another neat part of the setup is the headset comes paired to the USB so no faffing there.
There is a lot of detail to audio playback and the surround does sound as good as it gets with headphones rather than speakers. Sometimes with surround sound objects can sometimes feel closer than they appear in the game, but this isn’t a problem with the headphones at all. It’s really hard to fault the sound quality, maybe bass/impact is missing a little bit but not massively. Another feature is a setting called “Superhuman Hearing” that helps to pinpoint quiet audio cues like enemy footsteps and weapon reloads. I couldn’t personally notice the difference with it on and off. They also boast a feature called “Active Noise Cancellation” that listens out for external sounds and tries to cancel them out, although I’m not sure how much difference this makes, especially if you’re using a mic to play online. The headphones are pretty good at increasing your immersion and external sounds won’t be very noticeable unless they’re very close by.
The mic is really good quality, you can monitor yourself and the headphones have their own dials for game audio and chat audio so you can set your own mic levels if you feel like you’re too loud/quiet. This is such an awesome feature and so many headsets don’t offer it, which can be really annoying if your mic levels are naturally either too loud or quiet, it can make online gaming difficult! The mic can also be flipped up at any time to mute it, and equally put back down in an instant to rejoin the conversation.
Outside of Games
These headphones are pretty easy to pair with any bluetooth device such as a mobile phone or mac, sometimes the bluetooth pairing button can have the unwanted effect of opening Siri on apple devices. There’s not any noticeable lag either. The audio quality is really crisp and accurate. They don’t have the bass response that some other expensive headphones offer but all in all very little to complain about!
If you’re shelling out £129.99 for a headset, and want to step into the world of surround sound headphones, this isn’t a bad place to start. They do lack a little comfort on the headband, but also sound really good and have lots of worthwhile features that cheaper headsets just don’t offer. It’s not bad bang for your buck.
Overall – 8/10
This headset is really decent, as you would expect. The battery life is thankfully good (although if you game for longer than 10 hours at a time you might not agree), and once you’ve got past the setup, they’re not bad. They do lose a point for comfort and another for the occasional lag/glitch that comes with streaming surround sound over a bluetooth connection, but the pros far outweigh the cons.
If you’re looking for headphones to streamline your gaming experience, Turtle Beach really deliver a high quality experience with this headset, especially for online gaming!
For more info and the full specs see the following link:
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The Sound Architect