Our First Take On Turtle Beach Headsets

Posted by at 10:56 pm on June 14, 2011

During our visit to the Turtle Beach booth at E3 2011, we here at ToT were given a demo of a couple of new headsets that Turtle Beach will be bringing to market in the next few months. Both are aimed at gamers with a few extra dollars in their pockets, but we thought they were pretty impressive between the extra features that they offer and the high quality sound that they give.

Ear Force XP500

First up was the Ear Force XP500 Programmable Wireless Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset with Wireless XBOX Live Chat.The XP500 brings all the features, performance and technology found in the Turtle Beach’s PX5 to Xbox 360 gamers, along with the first wireless chat solution for XBOX Live.

Built for the Xbox 360, the XP500 includes a Bluetooth Chat Adapter (XBA) that eliminates the chat wire connecting the headset and controller; making it the first Xbox 360 headset with wireless chat capability.  The XP500 also includes dual-paring Bluetooth technology that enables the wearer to answer mobile phone calls and stream music from Bluetooth enabled digital audio players while enjoying the freedom of wireless chat.  The XBA wireless chat adapter will also be available for purchase on the Turtle Beach website for current PX5 owners looking to upgrade to full wireless Xbox Live chat.

Like the PX5, the new XP500 incorporates a programmable digital signal processor and custom audio presets to allow independent customization of the chat, game and microphone signals.  These custom presets are stored in the headset and can be selected on the fly during gameplay to emphasize specific sounds that might otherwise be difficult to hear.

What all that means is that you can tweak the levels on this headset so that you can hear every shot, splat and reload in you favorite game. You can have a profile that empasizes high treble, low bass or anything in between.  It will sync with your blue tooth enabled phone, so that you can take any important calls that come in while you’re fragging.

The headset seems like it would be comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions, you can also get great sound for movie and TV watching, good if you have close neighbors who don’t like hearing the soundtrack of your games or movie watching.  And as a bonus, even with all of the possible wireless interference you would find at a huge show like E3, there were no noticeable disruptions in sound.

At around 250 dollars or a bit more, this headset may be most appealing to the hard core gamer audience but the customizability and other features, help to justify that outlay.

Key features of the Ear Force XP500 include:

  • Customizable Presets: Configure up to 18 personalized presets to optimize game, chat, and microphone audio for different gaming situations.  Download the Advanced Sound Editor software and make your own presets, or simply upload any of the numerous custom files posted on the Turtle Beach website
  • Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound: Immersive 360 degree audio lets you hear the direction of every sound as if you were playing with speakers all around you
  • Digital RF Wireless Game Sound: Uncompressed wireless digital audio signal delivers CD-quality game sound that rivals professional grade wired headphones
  • Wireless Xbox Chat : For the first time, play Xbox 360 games untethered and chat without any wires using Bluetooth technology .
  • Bluetooth Radio: Dual-pairing Bluetooth technology answers phone calls and streams stereo music to the headset while playing games
  • Dynamic Chat Boost: Chat level increases automatically as the game volume gets louder, so you can always hear the voices of other players
  • Microphone Monitoring: Lets you hear your voice in the headset, so you won’t need to shout to hear yourself
  • Sonic Silencers: Enjoy total silence by eliminating ambient noise pickup on your mic and cutting background noise from PSN or Xbox LIVE chat sound
  • Sonic Lens with Sound Field Expander: Widen or narrow the sound field to focus on difficult to hear audio cues like footsteps sneaking up on you or the clicks of someone reloading in the distance
  • Intuitive Voice Prompts: A real voice announces critical headset status conditions, such a low battery, preset numbers and more
  • Ear Guard with Blast Limiter: Limit the intensity of deafening games sounds such as explosions and gunfire to reduce ear fatigue during long gaming sessions
  • PS3 and Xbox 360 Compatible: Delivers the ultimate gaming experience with PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles

Price and Availability

The MSRP of the XP500 is$269.95. It is expeceted to ship in Fall 2011.

Ear Force PX3

The next headset Turtle Beach showed us was the PX3. It is a lower priced headset, but it did not lack for sound quality. The PX3 is engineered primarily with the PlayStation 3 in mind, but is also fully compatible with Xbox 360 and PC/Mac gaming. It inherits many key traits from the PX5, with 18 interchangeable audio presets, pre-loaded to step up your play in a diverse variety of gaming scenarios. Additional audio presets will also be made available for download from the Turtle Beach website for installation into the PX3.

We were impressed by the fact that even though this headset was stereo and not surround sound, the quality compared well to the more expensive XP500. Comfort on this model was also about equal.

The PX3 is also Turtle Beach’s first headset to feature a rechargeable battery pack; designed to provide more than 10 hours of uninterrupted game play and an auxiliary input so you can listen to your favorite music while gaming. In addition, the PX3 has other audio features, including Sonic Lens with Sound Field Expander that widens or narrows the sound field to focus on specific frequencies and Ear Guard with Blast Limiter technology, which is made to limit the intensity of deafening sounds.

Key features of the PX3 include:

  • Programmable Game and Chat Sound – Includes 18 interchangeable audio presets for different gaming situations
  • Wireless Game and Chat Audio on PS3 and PC– Experience wireless digital CD-quality game sound and wireless chat with PS3 and PC gaming (Xbox Live requires included chat cable)
  • Rechargeable Battery – Provides more than 10 hours of uninterrupted gameplay
  • Sonic Lens with Sound Field Expander – Widen or narrow the sound field and focus in on specific frequencies
  • Sonic Silencers – Eliminate background noise on your mic and online chat
  • Ear Guard with Blast Limiter – Limit the intensity of deafening sounds such as explosions and gunfire
  • Dynamic Chat Boost – Chat volume automatically increases as the game volume gets louder
  • Microphone Monitor – Lets you hear what you’re saying over online chat
  • Auxiliary Input – Listen to your favorite songs while gaming

Price and Availability

The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX3 Headset will be available in Summer 2011 at an MSRP of $149.95 at gaming and major retailers or TurtleBeach.com.


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