E3 is now in full swing, and it’s no surprise that Turtle Beach, perennial maker of some of the best gaming headsets on the market, has a loaded arsenal of its latest gear to show off in LA. Among the lineup are are TB’s latest Tournament Audio Controller, and updates to its PC headsets, as well as some genre firsts, including the first Xbox One headset with wireless chat, the first noise-canceling headset for the PS4, and the first Xbox One and PS4 headsets with DTS Headphone:X 7.1, a revolutionary virtual surround sound system. So yeah, it’s a good time to be a gamer.
DTS Headphone:X 7.1 headsets
Headphone:X has been slowly creeping its way into the tech vernacular since DTS first demonstrated the system at CES 2013. The highly-anticipated virtual surround processing may have taken its sweet time to land in gear you can actually take home, but as those who’ve heard its remarkable talents can attest, it was worth the wait. The technology can do some amazing sleight of hand when it comes to tricking your brain into believing the sounds really are all around you – and now it’s landed in two high-end gaming headsets. That makes us happy.
Ear Force Stealth 500X (Xbox One)
The latest addition to Turtle Beach’s seminal wireless headset for Xbox, the all new Stealth 500X for Xbox One, is loaded with features to help keep you immersed in the action. The headset pulls digital sound from the Xbox One’s digital optical connection, and sends the signal to separate wireless channels for gameplay and chat – a first. The headset utilizes Headphone:X 7.1 virtual surround, with a suite of presets to choose from. TB says it has “completely re-imagined” its preset system to focus on different game types, such as first person shooters, racing, or sports games, as well as presets designed for movies and music.
Other highlighted features for the Stealth 500X include a 15-hour battery, a new Wi-Fi system that promises to ensure an “interference-free wireless experience,” and a mobile cable to take the 500X with you for listening on the road (or in the air – you jet setter, you). The Ear Force Stealth 500X will be available in Fall 2014 for $230.
Turtle Beach Elite 800 (PS4)
Touted as “the most technologically-advanced wireless gaming headset ever made,” Turtle Beach apparently isn’t afraid to raise expectations for its latest centerpiece for the PS4 universe. The Elite 800 incorporates a wealth of features that promise to bury you deeper into the action than ever before. To that end, the 800 not only employs Headphone:X 7.1, but also adds noise-cancellation, to nullify virtually all peripheral distractions – both firsts for the genre.
Like the Stealth 500X, the Elite 800 employs multiple presets, but in signature Turtle Beach style, the headset also allows for advanced customization of the presets. However, instead of fumbling with preset downloads, or onboard controls, all customization for the presets are done through a new mobile app. Other features for the headset include dual “invisible microphones” for clear chat without the boom mic, available snap-on speaker plates to change up the style, and a magnetic charging stand. A 15 hour rechargeable battery, and the new Wi-Fi connection for playback are also part of the package, as well as Bluetooth connection for your mobile device.
The Elite 800 are priced at $300 and will be out this fall.
Ear Force XO One (Xbox One)
For those on a budget (and if you’ve recently picked up one of the next-gen consoles that may be you), the $80 XO One makes an enticing choice. The stereo headset is pretty bare bones, but does offer a few options, including multi-step bass boost, Microphone Monitor, which allows you to hear your own voice from within the headset for better chat communication, and a removable mic boom. Like its brethren above, the XO One is available this fall.
Ear Force Stealth 400 (PS4, PS3)
If you’re looking for a wireless companion for your PS4 or PS3, the $100 Ear Force Stealth 400 is a very affordable way to get the job done. The headset sports a new design that cuts down on weight for better comfort in longer sessions. Other features include onboard controls for game and chat volume, as well as controls to switch presets for the headset’s virtual surround sound. Like its premium counterparts, the 400 incorporates Wi-Fi for audio connection, and boasts a 15 hour battery. The removable mic can also be switched out for a cable with an inline mic to use with your mobile device, all of which could make the 400 a great budget buy when it premieres this fall.
Ear Force P12 (PS4)
At $60, the P12 is about as low as you can go in the Turtle Beach family. The headset employs an inline amplifier for controlling volume and mic mute, powered through a USB connection to the PS4. Features include adjustable bass boost and Microphone Monitor, and a separate cable that allows for connection to a PS Vita or mobile device for gaming on the go. The P12 will hit stores earlier than the rest of the lineup, landing July 10th. (note: since PS Vita utilizes a 3.5mm headphone input, virtually all of the spotlighted headsets are compatible with the device.)
Ear Force Recon 320
Those who’ve raised their heads outside the console world know that PC gaming can offer a lot of spoils at a very affordable price. The Recon 320 seems to embody that trend. For $80, the headset offers a nice pack of features, including Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound, a “high-sensitivity” flexible boom mic that is removable, and dual removable cables for USB connection to your PC, or 3.5mm connection to your mobile device with an inline mic/control piece. The Recon 320 will be available this fall.
Heroes of the Storm Stereo PC Gaming Headset
Those who are crazy about Blizzard gaming – and want to show it off to any who enter their living room – will want to check out the new Heroes of the Storm headset from Turtle Beach. Like the game itself, the headphones draw from characters through the Blizzard universe with removable speaker plates that allow you to dawn characters from Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft. Players can also download in-game skins when they register with Turtle Beach. As for gaming features, the $80 stereo headset comes with breathable cushions “optimized for noise isolation,” a removable mic boom, and inline controls for volume and mute. The headset will be available, you guessed it, this fall.
Tournament Audio Controller
Finally, Turtle Beach has unveiled its all new audio controller, designed to optimize tournament game play for your gaming platoon. The system is compatible with PS4, PS3, PCs, Macs, and Xbox 360, though Xbox One is still out of the loop. The new system includes Dolby AC3 decoding to DTS Headphone:X 7.1, to allow use of the vivid surround sound feature across the system. Other features for the system includes master volume control, both a game and chat mixer slider, and what Turtle Beach calls “groundbreaking mic controls,” whatever that means.
The controller is fully posed for pro-grade audio output for professional tournaments, as well as recording of full gameplay and chat audio – you know, for that gameplay Christmas album your team has been pondering. The TACs can be daisy-chained for live tournaments, or LAN play, and even allows for an aux input to connect a mobile device for cranking tunes, or even taking calls. The new Tournament Audio Controller comes out this winter.
Pricing and availability for all of Turtle Beach’s new toys are listed below.
|Ear Force Stealth 500X||Xbox One||Fall 2014||$230|
|Turtle Beach Elite 800||PS4||Fall 2014||$300|
|Ear Force XO One||Xbox One||Fall 2014||$80|
|Ear Force Stealth 400||PS4, PS3||Fall 2014||$100|
|Ear Force P12||PS4||July 2014||$60|
|Ear Force Recon 320||PC||Fall 2014||$80|
|Heroes of the Storm Headset||PC||Fall 2014||$80|
|Tournament Audio Controller||PS4, PS3, PC, Mac, Xbox 360||Winter 2014||unavailable|
As you can see, there’s a ton of new gear to explore. We’ll be pulling in some of these brand new pieces for review soon, so stay tuned, and keep checking out our E3 coverage through the week.