I recently watched a video online that showcased a $1000 ten-year-old Intel CPU that only costs $25 today. The question to be answered in the video was whether or not this CPU could handle today’s programs and operating systems.
Spoiler alert, the CPU actually did quite well in the user’s benchmarks. So, is newer really better? A ten-year-old CPU that can handle modern titles could mean that we’ve advanced so far that our yearly “advancements” are only slight adjustments.
While I believe upgrading something every year is meaningless, a five-year life span for technology seems to be the sweet spot when to upgrade your goods. When upgrading, you want to find something better than what you already have. Something that will knock your socks off.
Components that may constantly need updating, however, are your gaming accessories. Even light-gaming users will know how gaming accessories tend to wear out and with new technologies the new equipment seems so great.
As I have mentioned in other reviews, my gaming is all dependent on the accessories that I use. For my Xbox, I enjoy my Day One Xbox One controller and some relaxing headphones, but for PC I could not go without my mechanical keyboard, well-fitting mouse, and of course my headset that allows me to hear every sound from every direction. It’s as if I’m there in the fight.
It wasn’t too long ago that if the name “Turtle Beach” was mentioned you’d associate it with inexpensive Xbox and PlayStation headsets. Mainly, Turtle Beach items were used by children or young adults who had just begun playing video games.
In the past few years, I have been reviewing different Turtle Beach headphones and gaming accessories and what I have noticed is that the company has adjusted their brand image. Their equipment, quality, and brand image have all changed to a higher standard than before.
Every change I have seen being made for Turtle Beach has been for the better in my opinion. They’ve stuck with their traditional roots by continuing to supply the entry level gamers, but have now greatly expanded into professional console and PC gaming.
This was apparent when I reviewed the Turtle Beach X42s for the Xbox 360 and the Impact 700 and Grip 500 PC accessories. This review was even written with the Impact 700 and Grip 500. Today, we have a product that is by far one of the best gaming accessories I’ve ever reviewed.
Categorized under the Elite Pro name, this review incorporates two products. A headset that is one of the most comfortable headsets that I have ever used and an audio controller that allows the user to control volumes including voice, game, music, background, and more.
Welcome to my review of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro tournament headset and tactical audio controller. This will be a full in-depth review that covers the design, functionality, and my final thoughts on both items. I would like to thank Turtle Beach for providing me with these two products to review.
Note: Since there are two products in this review, each section will begin with the tournament headset and then transition into the tactical audio controller (TAC).
Turtle Beach’s elite pro tournament headset, or “the headset” as I will refer to it from here on in, is not your average gaming headset. This headset is a multi-platform headset that goes well beyond the design of any other Turtle Beach headsets.
Beginning with the headset’s ear cups, these ear cups are large, adjustable, and well-padded. For their size, this is the first headset of mine that easily encloses my entire ear without adding pressure to the sides of my ear or crushing it. The ear cup ear openings are large and fit several people that I tested them on. Additionally, the ear cups have great depth to them so your ears do not even touch the plastic guard that protects the driver.
Both of the ear cups can also rotate 180 degrees so that they can lie flat on your chest when you take them off your head. Normally, when headsets rotate their ear cups the mechanism that allows them to rotate is flimsy and too easily rotatable. On this headset, the mechanism that rotates is very smooth, similar to opening up a display on an Apple MacBook laptop.
As for the padding, this is unmistakably the best padding I have ever experienced on any headset that I have ever reviewed or used. The ear cups are surrounded by this wonderful gel infused memory foam pad that is soft to the touch. To make them even more appealing, the ear cups are leather; true leather, not the fake material we find on many other brands. Even for hours of usage, not once did I feel like the padding was adding pressure to my head. It was just right and I wouldn’t change it whatsoever. Moreover, the padding is a full seal around your ear, but the materials used in the padding does not make my head sweaty.
Making our way to the headband of the headset, similar padding to the ear cups is found here, but not as thick. Furthermore, the headband is on a self-retracting mechanism that automatically applies just the right amount of pressure for your head. If the headband does bottom out, the ear cups do adjust on their own which either extends or retracts the height.
Also on the headband are these two metal sliders. From what I can tell, these sliders adjust the strength of the headband. This is something I have never seen before. By adjusting the sliders, I could change how far or how tight the headset was clamping onto my head. Raising the metal tabs increased its pressure, decreasing them allowed the headset to be stretched outwards.
Found on the left ear cup is a detachable microphone that is on a rotation wheel. The length of the microphone could be seen as short in some people’s eyes, but I found it to be placed well in front of my face. The adjustment of the microphone is done by moving and bending the moldable stalk. On the end of the stalk is the microphone itself with a pop filter. What is pleasant to see is that subtle design cues like adding “Turtle Beach” in a chrome finish on the microphone.
Colors of the headset are a black design with slight orange accents placed around the headset. While orange is an off color to most setups, it is only found in slight accents.
Finally, the cable connected to the headset is a 4.75-foot detachable cable. Connecting to the headset is a mini USB connector that terminates in a four-pole 3.5mm headphone jack. Additionally, the cable has an inline volume wheel and microphone mute switch.
Moving on to the TAC, this is your elite pro audio configurator. Known as a mixer, the TAC is your method of controlling what you hear and how much of it you listen to.
The design of the TAC is pleasing to the eye and it looks like a gaming professional product. The face of the TAC contains four major sliders and a large rotatable chrome wheel. Additionally, the face also has a microphone mute button and preset and surround mode buttons.
Both the large chrome volume wheel and individual sliders have smooth movements and it feels like something you’d find in a music studio. With the exception of the Game/Mic slider, each slider is free floating and can be placed anywhere on the scale. The Game/Mic slider is similar, but the center of the slider is notched to indicate 50%. More on what these sliders do later on.
Continuing on, on the rear of the TAC are its inputs and outputs including AUX-in, mini-USB power input, audio codex changer (PC, PS4, Xbox), optical sound (in and out), and Ethernet ports for a local chat setup.
On the front, facing you, are three 3.5mm headphone jack inputs. One being for a headset (in this case the elite pro tournament headset), another for a dedicated microphone, and the last for a game controller like the Xbox One.
There aren’t any major orange accents on the TAC other than the chat slider indicator. The TAC is mainly black all around and it’s more of a stealth black rather than a matte black.
Lastly, the TAC is like a Christmas tree when turned on. There are LED lights that indicate everything. Each slider is individually lit, the presets and surround modes are lit to inform you of what is selected, and the volume wheel is lit to tell you volume levels. For the microphone button, if you mute yourself, it turns red, blue when picking up noises, and white for active. Then the volume wheel is white for low volume and transitions into orange when increasing the volume and red when muted.
Both of these products support the PlayStation 4, Xbox One + 360, and PC. As I do not own a PS4 and the Xbox is used with a full room sound system, I used both of these products exclusively with the PC.
The computer in use was a Windows 10 (Latest build, fully updated) machine that used onboard Gigabyte sound and connected to the TAC through an optical cable. These two products are made for one another, but they do not need to be together to be used. The headset can easily be used in your PC’s front audio panel and the TAC can be used with any headset you have.
Starting with the tournament headset, the functionality of it is fairly straight forward. Since it doesn’t have any special bells and whistles, its show off abilities are the large speaker drivers and the strong sound reproduction.
The nice thing about this headset is whether it was connected directly to my PC or to the TAC, the sound was nearly the same. These 50mm drivers were clear, crisp, and powerful for everything I did.
I would listen to music and hear every aspect of the song. TV shows were true sounding, as if I was standing there in the show’s hypothetical convocation. From all different types of songs to videos, lows, mids, and highs were all spot on. In fact, it was matching a $600 German headset.
Then, there were the gaming environments. This headset has surround sound capability so when playing games like World of Tanks, you can hear different environmental changes that were otherwise inaudible. The number of times I heard a tank crunching a tree behind me was amazing and I was able to survive because I heard them coming.
It wasn’t just the environmental audio effects that I enjoyed, but also how the game sounded more lifelike. I was a better gamer with these headphones.
Again, these are some of the most comfortable headphones I’ve used; other perks like the microphone are excellent as well. People could easily hear me as well as understand me. People never needed to say “What?” or thought I was talking through a microphone (there wasn’t a robotic voice).
One slight issue I did have with the headset was the volume wheel on the headset’s cable. This volume wheel is free floating and sometimes it would catch on my shirt and then lower my volume over time. I would need to raise it back to 100%, then it would happen again. It would have been nice if Turtle Beach added some resistance to this wheel to prevent this. Even though this is a minor issue, it was noticeable over time.
Next, there’s the TAC’s functionality. As I mentioned before, think of the TAC as a headset mixer that allows you to control different aspects of your sound. There are four major sliders as well as four presets and surround modes.
Beginning with the far-left slider, this allows you to control how much game or chat volume is sent to the headset. If somebody in your chat is too low, sliding the slider towards the chat will drown out the game sounds in favor of chat sounds. Vice-versa for wanting more game volume over chat.
Next is the background noise limiter. If you happen to be in a room with loud children or even a fan blowing past or near your microphone, you can change how sensitive the microphone pickup is. Increasing this slider will make the microphone less sensitive.
Then there is the outbound mic boost. Sometimes, people may have a tough time hearing what you just said. Perhaps the microphone isn’t loud enough to their liking or the game volume is too loud for them and they refuse to turn it down. With the outbound mic boost, users can increase their own voice to the person on the other end.
Lastly, for the mic monitor level, adjusting this slider changes how much of your own voice you hear in the headset. Similar to how a radio show is hosted, you can change whether or not you can hear yourself when you speak.
Diving into the surround modes, the TAC offers custom sounds for gaming, movie, music or surround sound turned off. Additionally, when the surround mode is selected, the presets can be changed for either a more signature sound, action, acoustic, or focus mode. Each surround mode has four different presets.
To finish, the TAC is also bundled with DTS headphone and Dolby Digital audio codex. No matter which you prefer or which your system uses, the TAC has you covered for the best sounding experience.
My Final Thoughts
This is by far one of my most favorite reviews I’ve ever done. These two products go so well together and yet they perform flawlessly all by themselves. Turtle Beach has really impressed me with these two products and they are quite literally flawless.
The headset was comfortable, good sounding, and performed like a charm. Furthermore, the design and build quality was excellent and as you read, there are practically zero complaints. For the TAC, having the ability to adjust your sounds and volumes makes you feel like your own DJ. Plus, it really completes this whole package.
Believe it or not, these two products are the same retail price. For $199 each, I can highly recommend both of these products individually and guarantee that there will be no regret. To buy both at $400, it’s a hefty investment, but this combo will last for years to come and supply you with the best gaming experience one can have.
I find that these two products are similar to that $1000 CPU that I spoke about in the beginning. These products will last years to come.
© 2016 Justin Vendette
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