Turtle Beach PX5: Eargasmic Audio

A professional gaming headset doesn't come much better than Turtle Beach PX5.

By fishdalf, Posted 16 Mar 2012

Ear Force PX5 Wireless Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound

Let’s begin by expressing how weird it is for me to be reviewing a gaming headset, especially one with a £180 and $250 price tag respectively, but that’s the position I find myself in. I’m probably the furthest thing you can find from an audiophile – my TV uses its bog-standard speakers, with no surround sound – my PC comes with the cheapest set of speakers available on the market – and my car stereo is manufacturer fitted, with no sign of a bass or treble booster in sight. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy improved audio performance, but I’ve just never been prepared to pay the sorts of prices these gadgets and gizmos are sold for.

Cut to the beginning of February and I began to get lured in to upgrading my Official PS3 Bluetooth Headset - that allows to you to speak, listen and mute your voice, and, well, that’s as far as your customizability options go. That wasn’t good enough anymore; I wanted to be able to do what those YouTubers who rack up an insane amount of kills on Call of Duty have been doing for years. Those who turn around at a moment’s notice because the sound of footsteps has resonated behind them and then proceed to give them a quick blast of their sub-machine gun. The Turtle Beach PX5’s do that, but in addition they do so much more.

Upon arrival the first thing I noticed about the headset was its sleek and tidy design, with the simplicity of the red and black complimenting one another nicely. Out of the box you’ll get your headset, batteries, a base unit for wireless purposes, and four cables – an optical cable, a USB to base unit power cable, a USB to PC connectivity cable, and an extender cable with some easy-to-reach controls for Xbox 360 users. Nothing is overly complicated, and the transition from breaking the seal to being good to go is achieved in a few relatively easy steps, which are clearly detailed - albeit a little spread-out – in the instruction booklet provided.

Turtle Beach PX5, Eargasmic Audio, , Review, Latest, News, Rumor, Preview, Trailer

The headset has a solid weight to it and feels very sturdy, with none of the joints loose or flimsy. When resting on your head they’re very comfortable with a generous amount of padding and I can safely say they can take extensive play for consecutively long hours with little to no irritation. The only exception was on a ten-hour gaming session in which my left ear began to become a little red and sore, but this was more a case of me not taking enough breaks as oppose to a poorly designed cup. The boom mic is also well made and fully adjustable, and there’s even the added option of unplugging it altogether if you aren’t looking to partake in any oral activities.

Putting the gaming aspect to one side, I first tried my new toy out with some CD’s and Blu-ray’s – namely Green Day’s American Idiot and their live concert tour, Bullet in a Bible – and both sounded truly superb. It was if I was hearing them for the first time and it was a pleasure. Then came select scenes from Armageddon, Lord of the Rings and the 1978 horror classic Halloween. Each one captured the subtleties of the soundtrack, the clarity of the speech and one particular booming high of jet-fuelled tomfoolery. Of course it is a gaming headset and I’ll touch upon that next, but it’s nice to know that it can fulfill a more universal purpose.

My first gaming venture was with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – a game I’ve developed quite an affection for in recent months. Shock was the first thing that came to mind upon venturing online; the shock of each and every small detail that was being picked up and transmitted to my ears. A reload in the distance, a waft from a piece of litter that brushed by my side, and more impressively, the sound of footsteps. When I say footsteps I don’t just mean the mere sound of them, but also the direction they’re coming from, whether they’re above or below me, and even what surface they’re moving across. All of these thing’s helping me to pinpoint exactly where the enemy resides.

Turtle Beach PX5, Eargasmic Audio, , Review, Latest, News, Rumor, Preview, Trailer

Unlike most competing headsets the PX5’s are ‘smart’ with a built-in speech bank, and can store eight standard presets and eight alternatives that can cater to your every need. These can be set up in any way you like by connecting to the PC and downloading those you most desire. Before finalizing your choice you are able to tweak each one in search of perfection, or you can go the extra mile and make your own from scratch. I’d advise avoiding the latter after I attempted such a feat and lost my patience with the complexity of it. I’m sure like anything it takes time to master, but that is one bridge I’m not looking to cross anytime soon – that’s for sure.

My favourite preset and the one I use most has a nice mix of bass and treble, sounds out my clan’s voices at opportune moments, and possesses the right tone where I’m able to hear enemy footsteps from a safe distance. I don’t limit myself to that one preset though as that wouldn’t be making full use of the many options at my fingertips and depending on the situation I will switch it up from time to time. Some for example contain a blast limiter, where loud sounds are filtered out at a certain level to avoid damaging your ear drums – while others elevate your voice above the gunfire if your fellow gamers are struggling to hear you.

It’s a little tricky to get the hang of at first - adapting to a heightened sense and specific sound isolation, and if you’re playing a high-intensity game then it may trip you up at first. It was only when I stopped relying on those sounds and let them become second nature to me that I began to reap the rewards and tear up the online community. The PX5’s aren’t going to make you a better gamer, but they will certainly make you more aware of your surroundings and in a competitive gaming environment any edge you can gain over your opponent is a massive one. After several weeks of use now I wouldn’t trade them for any other gaming peripheral – barring my controller of course.

Turtle Beach PX5, Eargasmic Audio, , Review, Latest, News, Rumor, Preview, Trailer

It’s not all a bed of roses though, as with everything there are a couple of annoyances I’ve discovered with use. The AA batteries it takes only last around ten hours on average, which is longer than your standard USB charge, but at least that’s a free option. So if you’re going to plump for this headset I’d also invest in a decent set of rechargeable batteries and a docking station. You’re also greeted with an aggravating beep whilst your mic is muted. I understand the reason for it, but the option to take away the beep or lengthen the gaps between each would be far better, as it mutes the in-game audio for a moment and that can be incredibly off-putting.

There have also been murmurings of people experiencing problems with the fact that the wireless headset uses a 2.4GHz frequency – the same used by many routers and speakers, and interference plays its part, but I have yet to suffer a similar fate. I have had the occasional drop in mic performance when walking across the room to make a drink with the transmitter in a perfect line of sight and only a few meters away, but never when sitting directly facing my television, and I suppose all Bluetooth devices are susceptible to the occasional hiccup. It should take nothing away from the superb quality of this product.

A feature I’ve yet to try but thought was worth mentioning is the ability to program the headset to receive calls or listen to music whilst in-game. So if you’re the kind of person who likes to do multiple things at once or has a short attention span then this is right up your street. There are also various morphing options that I’ve yet to try and these can be obtained through downloadable presets. These allow you to transform your voice into anything from the dulcet tones of a slasher-movie stalker, to the barely audible shrieking of a banshee. These sound both useful for people with accents that are hard to understand, as well as for having a good laugh with friends.

The Final Verdict: If you’re serious about gaming and don’t have a professional headset then buy one now, and they really don’t come much better than this. Eargasmic audio.

Turtle Beach Website

Craig Bryan, NoobFeed
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