Turtle Beach makes a pretty bold claim: “#1 in gaming audio.” It’s also hard to refute. The guys over at Turtle Beach make some gorgeous looking headsets, with clear and crisp audio. These headsets deliver an immersive gaming audio experience with robust gaming features and voice communication. There aren’t many cons here. Some of their headsets in the higher price categories deliver underwhelming sound quality for what the cash your dishing out. There are PC gamers out there who have experienced sound card compatibility issues as well.
Made for Gamers
Before we say anything, its important to mention a quick disclaimer: these are gaming headsets through-and-through. Turtle Beach has prioritized accurate surround sound, quality mics, gaming features, and easy access controls over sound quality. If you’re an audiophile and looking for headphones or a headset for more than just gaming (you are passionate about your music, etc.) many of the Turtle Beach headsets will have difficulty competing with the upper echelons of the audio space such as Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser sets.
Don’t get us wrong. Turtle Beach headsets sound outstanding, but some of their premium products lack the sonic oomph of similar headphones and headsets just barely above their price range. We think where Turtle Beach really shines is in the mid-range and lower price categories where you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck.
The Way of the Turtle
There’s no denying that Turtle Beach Systems makes some of the best headsets for gamers. Their niche is the gaming audio space, exclusively manufacturing sound devices and headsets. Turtle Beach was actually founded in 1975 as a software company developing useful software for musicians and over the years evolved into what it is today. Offering a line of over 30 Ear Force headsets, it isn’t hard to find a headset to fit your particular needs. That is also A LOT of headsets, and sometimes finding the right one isn’t an easy task.
Primary Categories of Turtle Beach Headsets
Turtle Beach makes a lot of headsets. The set you purchase will depend on your platform. To resolve any compatibility upsets from the get-go, here’s a low down on their headset categories:
- PlayStation. Their “P” and “PX” lineup is designed particularly with PlayStation console users in mind, though some are cross compatible with other consoles.
- Xbox. The “X” and “XP” series aimed at Microsoft console gamers.
- PC and Mac. The “Z” series are designed for PC and Mac gamers.
Quick Reference Guide:
- X = Designed for the Xbox line
- P = Designed for the PlayStation line
- Z = Designed for the PC/Mac
- D = Dolby Surround Sound
- XP = Designed for the Xbox line, but also works on the PlayStation line
- PX = Designed for the PlayStation line, but also works on the Xbox line.
Clearly, Turtle Beach has a wide-variety of headset solutions. Beyond the main platforms, Turtle Beach offers consumers Nintendo and Mobile solutions, as well as the specially branded Call of Duty and Marvel line-up. Yes, even if you are a hardcore Wii Sports gamer they have a headset just for you. Turtle Beach designs their headsets with gamers in mind and packs each one full of features that are useful for gaming. Without a doubt, they make some gaming grade audio equipment. We have put together a list of some of Turtle Beach’s best and most popular headsets for you to take and gander and see if a Turtle Beach headset could be the “perfect match.”
These wireless Turtle Beach headsets are two of the most powerful wireless gaming headsets out there. The XP 510 and PX 51 are Turtle Beach’s top tier headsets. They deliver a compelling sound experience, from the deepest ground rumbling to the faintest footstep, the audio comes through crystal clear. The unique dual-band Wi-Fi system eliminates interference problems; so your immersive Dolby Surround Sound experience will never be interrupted in the slightest.
This headset is also programmable with Audio Presets created by Turtle Beach sound engineers, so whether you’re playing a FPS, sports, racing, or any other genre, you can customize your sound experience. It has different multimedia modes for those breaks when you’re listening to music or watching a movie.
These are both “smart” headsets. They automatically increase the volume of your voice communication chat as the game volume gets louder. Turtle Beach has dubbed this the “Dynamic Chat Boost” and it can pretty really convenient every time all hell breaks loose and you need to communicate with your squad. Never having to fiddle with the voice controls is a nice bonus too. Another perk is that the rechargeable battery lasts around 10-15 hours and if you forget to charge it you can charge while playing. The microphone is removable and can simply be popped off when your going solo and don’t feel like using voice comm. Both sets come with a snazzy headset stand and Wi-Fi sound modem.
The XP510 and PX51 work with all PlayStation and Xbox consoles (PS4 and Xbox One included). Unfortunately, these headsets are not compatible with the PC. The XP510 is optimized for Xbox users and the PX51 for PlayStation users. But considering the price difference of around $50 some folks may opt to buy the PX51 and use it with their XBOX console—although you will have to use a wire to chat on the Xbox.
They also have a swanky Call of Duty Ghosts branded headset if that’s your game. It has downloaded audio presets specifically designed for CoD, and styled in white and black with Ghost branding.
This is essentially a wired PC/MAC version of the XP510/PX51. The Z Seven has all the bells and whistles of the XP510 & PX51. Additionally, it sounds even better, although you have to sacrifice the freedom of wireless for it. The build quality, comfort factor, mic quality, and control features of this set are beyond excellent. The Dynamic Chat Boost technology and Bluetooth compatibility for answering calls nicely round out this headset
One of the best features of the Z Seven is the large control panel unit that is packaged with the set. It delivers the ultimate easy-access sound customization enabling you to easily adjust chat and game sound levels, change sound profiles, adjust individual volume for each audio channel (front, rear, and middle), and even has a place to plug in your smartphone. There’s output for the mic function of the Xbox and with a special add-on it is compatible with Microsoft gaming consoles.
We do like that you can actually adjust the speaker positioning within the headset allowing the user to customize the surround sound field. It is important to note that the Z Seven has a built-in sound card that will circumvent the requirement for a sound card in your system. A lot of higher-end headsets offer this solution to synergize the efforts between the headset and audio processing “brains.” The headset does not support Dolby Digital for the PC, only PCM is supported. Still, the surround sound effect works well and you can clearly locate where gunfire and footsteps are originating from.
If you’re a PC gamer looking for a feature packed headset with comprehensive control, this could be “the one.” If you’re a console gamer and like what you saw here, the Ear Force XP SEVEN is the console equivalent.
The X42/PX4 are the new and improved versions of the popular X41/PX3 headsets. They are wireless headsets (requiring two AAA batteries, good guy Turtle Beach provides two to get you started) with massive, wireless range and good battery life. They feature Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound, over-sized breathable mesh ear cups, noise-free wireless signal (though isn’t always perfect depending on the environment), bass and chat boost technology, and independent, easy to access chat and game controls. In addition to equalizer presets for bass boost, treble boost, and the combo of the two, the headsets offer further sound customization through six different surround angle settings. The whole idea behind this feature is to allow the user to change the way the headset delivers sound in a manner similar to physically changing a surround sound speaker set up. This setting can be changed using the transmitter boxes that come with these sets.
These headsets have 50mm drivers (speakers) in each side, delivering a satisfying bass experience. Even though this is a two channel system, the processing technology does a good job making surround effects sound realistic. Not quite a full 360-degree sound field, distinguishing between front and back is more difficult then we’d like, but such is the case with most simulations—they rarely substitute for a true 5.1 home theatre surround speaker set up. Nonetheless, it is definitely a more immersive experience than you’d expect from two speakers. For wireless headsets they sound terrific, and we must admit the price isn’t too bad either.
If you’re on a budget and are looking for a solid headset look no further. The X12 is one of the best-selling gaming headsets of all time. For what you are paying, the price and sound experience of these headsets are unrivaled. You still get bass boost (controlled with dial), high quality sound, chat and game volume easy access controls, and as a bonus this is fully compatible with the PC.
They are light and comfortable. These sets are USB powered—no battery/charging headaches. They aren’t noise cancelling, but they cut external noise to a minimum when playing at a decently high volume. The big difference here is that some people get annoyed with the mic monitor (allowing you to hear your own voice) and the PX 22 allows you to disable it on the in-line amplifier while you can’t disable it on the X12. If you want an Xbox headset with the ability to disable the mic monitor the Shadow and Spectre offer this functionality. If you’re exclusively doing PC/MAC gaming we suggest checking out the Ear Force Z11.