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Turtle Beach Ear Force HPA
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by Rob Williams on February 27, 2006 in Speakers/Headphones

Can’t set up a 5.1 speaker setup, but want true surround sound? Maybe you want surround sound to have late at night when your families in bed?! We are taking a look at a new 5.1 headset from Turtle Beach, and throw many tests at it to see just how good it’s 5.1 capabilities are.

Introduction

There’s no doubt that there are many headsets available, which makes it very difficult to choose one to buy. In the past year, I have become attached to the IceMat Siberia’s, because they are very lightweight, have great sound and are very comfortable. Today, I will be taking a look at the Turtle Beach HPA headset, which is part of their Earforce family. These are 5.1 headphones, meaning that are are capable of pure Surround Sound. These are the first 5.1 headphones I have used, so I am looking forward to seeing just how cool the 5.1 ‘emulation’ is.

Before we get into the performance, let’s check out what the HPA’s have to offer and see how easy they are to set up. Here is a quick look at the official description and features of the headset:

  • Same multi-speaker surround sound technology found in home theaters – now in headphones!
  • Each ear cup contains discrete front, center, rear, and subwoofer speakers.
  • Detachable microphone for online chat
  • Eight amplifiers contained inside the volume control unit assure adequate playback levels on sound card and motherboard 5.1 outputs.
  • 6-channel analog inputs are compatible with PC sound card outputs.
  • Comfortable, cushioned ear cups for long gaming sessions.
  • Individual channel volume control, plus master amplified volume
  • Makes DVD movies sound amazing on your PC

The headset arrived in a huge package that’s designed to protect the contents incase they are dropped. I had to cut along the backside of the package in order to take the contents out, which is usually the same way I have to open most things like this. It would be great if companies, not just Turtle Beach, could invent a better packaging system that doesn’t require extra tools to open. At any rate, once open, there were more contents than I originally expected.

First thing I took out was the headset itself, which uses similar styling to the IceMat. At first look they look like they’d be very comfortable. They share the open air design as the Siberia, and the gray felt band is very soft. When worn, the two plastic pieces at each end of the band will just barely touch your head. The ear pieces are well cushioned also, but don’t seem to allow much airflow, so I will see what wearing them for hours at a time will feel like.

The exterior on each earpiece has a honeycomb shape which I assume is to allow cool air in, or warm air out, I’m not really sure. The speakers are hidden directly behind this, so if you do wear the headphones for a long period of time then they could potentially get warm. Instead of that in turn warming your head up, the honeycomb shape allows the air to escape. Heck, it could be just for looks, but either way it does look nice. Each of the earpieces also can swivel up to 180° to allow for better comfort.

The cable attached to the headset is about 3 and a half feet long, which should prove plenty enough to make sure the amp will stay on your desk. If you plan to sit on your couch and use these from across the room, the amp will not be far from you. The cable that’s connected to the amp includes much more than just an amp. You must first plug the cable from the headset into the respective cable coming from the amp. On the opposite end of that cable is four sound card cables in addition to a power cable.