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Turtle Beach Ear Force X1 Review

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Turtle Beach Ear Force X1 Review

Turtle Beach Ear Force X1 Review
Published by jay2k3 on Sunday, October 15, 2006
Tagged: Gaming, Hardware, Xbox 360,
A few weeks ago I drew your attention to Turtle Beach’s Ear Force X1 Headphones. Well this week I’m here to offer up a full review of these headphones.

Overview:
Ear Force X1 amplified headphones give serious gamers the ultimate competitive edge by combining Xbox Live chat and stereo game audio into an immersive sound experience.


Click to Enlarge the Image

X1's integrated design overcomes the limitation of communicator headsets that block game sound from one ear and eliminates voice chat interference caused by the headset microphone picking up sound from external speakers.

  • High-quality, comfortable, amplified headphones with a built-in microphone for game audio the way it was meant to be heard.
  • Boosts the sound level for a spectacular gaming experience. Features a game audio volume control and microphone mute.
  • The included 'puck' lets you connect the amplifier unit to the Xbox controller, so you can communicate with friends and foes during your gaming session. Xbox Live chat volume is also adjusted from here.
  • The included splitter cable lets you keep your existing speakers (or TV) plugged in, so you can easily switch between speakers and headphones.

    What I used to test this item with:
    Burnout Revenge,
    Call of Duty 2.
    Built-in Music Player:
    Jazz, Techno, 80’s Ska & Standard Chart Music.

    Installation:
    This is pretty easy, just a matter of putting the splitter cable between your red and white phono jacks, connecting the headphone cable to the splitter cable; then you need to plug the USB cable from the headphones into the extension lead and slip it into your Xbox. Now all you need to do is plug the ‘puck’ into your controller and into the amp.

    The thing that really hits you at this moment is the number of cables that these headphone require. However once setup the only cable seen is the headphones cable depending how you set them up.


    Click to Enlarge the Image

    The Headphones:
    The headphones themselves have a very long cable and feature a very comfortable sponge head bar which is continued onto the ear pieces and is made of a light grey PCV material and surprisingly do not make your ears sweat after a long periods of playing.

    Now for the sound quality of the headphones themselves. I first hit the music player and played some Jazz through them and was quite impressed with the depth of sound, although the midrange could have been better.

    Next up was some Techno and I have to say this is where these headphones really excel. They pickup the bass levels extremely well giving you a truly ‘head in a bass bin effect’. I then went onto the 80’s and Chart stuff and the headphones sounded pretty good, but some background hiss can be heard when a lot of vocals and not much actual music is playing.

    Onto the game testing and first up is Burnout Revenge and right from the off these headphones performed very well even on the intro cut scene. Once in-game they truly blew me away, using the provided amplifier to tweak the volume up every minute.

    You hear every single sound in perfect clarity and the way these headphones pickup the surround sound is mind blowing. As I said a little earlier these headphones pickup bass very well and in Burnout they really do excel. By the time I had the amplifier at 3/4's I could feel the air around my ears throbbing and pulsing with every explosion or impact.

    So onto Call of Duty 2, again they sound pretty good watching the start cut scene. Now this is a great game to test for surround sound and I have to say these headphones performed very well indeed, even making me nervous once inside buildings as you hear footsteps above you.. NOO, beside you to the left, to the right.. Ahhhhhhh…. Dead! : /

    I found myself getting a little trigger happy and nervous at first as every sound is so close and clear. But this is a good thing and once you get use to it certainly gives you the edge.


    Click to Enlarge the Image

    The Mic:
    Now is the time to test the microphone, I was testing this with a few friends and they said I sounded clearer than normal. But when you have the amp cranked up quite high it can be a little hard to hear what people are saying due to loud music, game sounds and voices in Burnout.

    When testing the microphone with Call of Duty 2 online it performed much better with no problems hearing other players, this is pretty much due to the fact there is no in-game music and the in-game sounds tend to come and go rather than be constant.


    Click to Enlarge the Image

    The Puck:
    The ‘Puck’ is the widget that plugs into the back of your controller and these feature a volume control for the mic only as the mute button is located on the amp. Unfortunately the ‘Puck’ does not come across as good quality and although I have had no problems with it at all it does not seat itself on the controller that well. (See the picture below) And I really would like to have the mute button on the ‘Puck’.


    Click to Enlarge the Image

    The Amplifier:
    The amplifier is located about a foot below the headphones on the cable and is not only small and lightweight it also looks and feels of good quality. The mute button is located here for the mic along with an LED to indicate whether the mic is muted or live. Personally I feel the mute button could stand out a little more making it easier to switch on and off, especially considering its located on a cable hanging from your ears. For the size of this little amp it really does kick out some amazing sound, very impressive.


    Click to Enlarge the Image

    Summary:
    The Ear Force X1 headphone are among some of the best sounding headphones I’ve used for gaming and no matter how loud I tuned up the amp they kept feeding me with crisp, loud and snappy sounds that not only heightened game play but also had an amazing effect on the air inside the headphones. Midrange could do with a tweak for general music playback though.

    The Mic is of a high quality, much better than Microsoft's and I really could not find fault with them. The ‘Puck’ on the other hand was the biggest let down in this package, the quality leaves a lot to be desired and it really needs to be redesigned a little to fit the controller a lot more snugly. But having said this I had no problems with the ‘Pucks’ function at all.

    I feel the quality of the speakers in the headphones makes this package as they really do knock out some very impressive sound with the included amp, especially for the shear size of it and left me and several friends quite amazed. The only thing I would like to see improved here is to either move the mute button onto the ‘Puck’ or make it easer to switch the mute on and off.

    Retailing at only $59.95(us) these headphones offer very good value for money, unfortunately they are currently only available in the U.S or Canada. But overall I would recommend the Ear Force X1’s for all you hardcore gamers, they have comfort, sound quality and can be used anytime of the day or night. The only thing to consider is whether you are happy with a set of headphones that are very much wired.

    Overall Review Score:
    Value for money: 9/10
    Sound Quality: 8/10
    Build Quality: 7/10
    Mic Quality: 8/10
    Ease of Use: 7/10
    Style: 8/10

    Positive Points:
    High comfort levels,
    Excellent in-game sound quality,
    Very good quality mic,
    Perfect for midnight gamers,
    Value for money.

    Negative points:
    Far to much cabling,
    Mic playback volume could be better,
    ‘Puck’ quality could be better.

    Product Link: www.turtlebeach.com
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