The combination of videogame consoles and headsets has existed ever since the Sega Mega Drive landed in 1989. Bringing alongside its jaw droppingly beautiful 16-Bit graphics was full stereo sound, but only if you plugged in a set of £2.99 headphones from OurPrice.
Times have changed, and the £2.99 headset now requires you to move the decimal point 2 to the right, and replace 2-channels of noise for 8.
Until the X41’s landed on my desk 2 years ago I thought that these gaming headsets were simply a waste of money, an extravagant excess that would add little above my existing 5.1 setup, I was wrong. The Turtle Beaches that I had heard so much about offered a far more refined and immersive sound than anything I had ever heard on the expensive 5.1 surround sound system, and enabled me to play at a volume that would surely have caused complaints from the wife and neighbours before.
Games developers appear to be increasingly utilising this delivery method to fine tune and hone their games audio content to batter the hell out of the gamer, drop them right in the action, and get them looking over their shoulder to see if that sound came from the game, or the real world.
Look & Feel
Based on the PX3 series, the PX5’s have a much higher quality of build, and feel infinitely better than the flagship X41’s.
Styled in black and red with blue LED surrounds, the PX5’s feel weighty enough to hold, but are amazingly comfortable to wear, even for prolonged periods of play.
The PX5’s are the most advanced headset to be released by Turtle Beach with more features than a sonic screwdriver. Supporting both PS3 and Xbox 360 natively, the ability to select from one of 8 stock audio maps (Flat, Dynamic Bass Boost, Dynamic Treble Boost, Bass & Treble Boost, Stereo Expander, Mid-Boost, Footstep Focus & Super Human Hearing), and a further 8 fully customisable slots the PX5’s can be fine tuned to deliver superior sound across all platforms and games.
Supported by the studios and Turtle Beach via their online portal, you can either download preset maps from Turtle Beach directly, or build your own and share with your friends/the world. One thing we have found however is that the PX5 audio map software does not currently support Netbooks of any shape or colour – the resolution is too low! :(
Less useful but still fun, is the ability to use voice masks on the Xbox. Available for the PS3 and PC for some time now, the PX5’s now natively support voice changing maps, which again can be customised using the PC based software.
Thanks to the Bluetooth functionality built-in to support the PS3’s chat feature, the PX5’s can also be paired with any Bluetooth enabled devices, with up to two paired at any given time. This means you can still receive and make calls whilst gaming, and when you’ve finished, listen to your favourite music when you decided to venture out.
Dolby 7.1 !?!?!
The PX5’s have been built with the future in mind. Proudly boasting 7.1 sound, there is nothing that we currently own that we were able to use to verify this, nor do we believe there will be too many titles in the near future that will support this either, however you’re covered for when it does arrive.
The sound delivered is astonishingly clear. Having used many headsets before, the PX5’s were some of, if not the best we have used for quality, and given they are wireless, this is even more impressive. Previous wireless sets suffered massively from wireless interference and popping as a result. Although unannounced, Turtle Beach have somehow tweaked this, and although present, it’s barely noticeable compared to the last generation.
The preset maps allow you to choose the right option for you, so if you want to hear every heart beat and footstep, you can, or if bass is your friend you can spank it up to your heart’s content without disturbing anyone around you. Cheating I hear you say, yes this may well be, but the reality is that by enhancing the low range (footsteps) you lose so much of the environmental and atmospheric sound that the game becomes sterile, so it’s your choice.
Is it worth upgrading from the X41’s?
If you’ve already spent £150 in the last 2 years, I’m sure you’ve scoured the net to see if it is worth spending the money again and then some to get hold of the PX5’s. The simple answer is it depends.
Able to support all consoles, PC, Mac and deliver wireless audio from all Bluetooth enabled MP3 players (fruit based or otherwise) the PX5 is one of the best, feature rich headsets out there. Able to compete with £200+ stereo headsets from Beats By Dre, the Turtle Beach’s really could be used as the go to headset for any gadget fiend. Don’t forget, the audio maps can also be made for music too! So if you’re looking for a new set that could be used by everything you own, then yes it is worth the upgrade.
If you’re looking to get the best out of the 7.1 audio, and think that the footstep isolation is going to take you from sub-par performances to world domination then the answer would be a definite no. The best gaming headset we have tried, but these will not benefit you in a competitive way over an existing set that supports 5.1.
If you don’t have a headset, and want to get one, seriously consider buying these. They are expensive, but you are getting a hell of a lot for your money, and something that will certainly still be valid by the time the next batch of consoles are finally released.