by Rob Williams on February 27, 2006 in Audio & Media
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.
5.1 Movie DVD’s
For movie testing, I chose to use 8 Mile and Gone In Sixty Seconds, a couple of my favorites. In 8 Mile, I played the “The Final Battle” chapter, which has B Rabbit free styling against a Free World member. The reason this is a great chapter for testing, is because it takes place in an echoey basement, where the voices bounce off the walls. For Gone in Sixty Seconds, I played through the various chapters where Nicholas Cage is escaping with Eleanor (1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500). Obviously, any great car chase scene makes for good sound testing.
In 8 Mile, the 6 Channel sound was great, except for one small problem. With B Rabbit up on the stage, it’s easily evident the sound is directional. The problem is that when he starts rapping, his voice is not loud, so you must turn up the volume to hear him properly. Playing the movie in 2 channel sound worked great and sounded as good, if not better than the other headsets I have used. I would have loved to hear certain channels at a louder volume during the battle though.
The same goes for Gone In Sixty Seconds. Playing the movie in 6 Channel was a no go. At the beginning of the scene, two men walking who are talking are completely inaudible. Playing the movie in 4 Channel works swimmingly though. Even in 2 channel though, these headphones sounded *great*, and I prefer them over anything else I have. These *are* 5.1 headphones though, so I would expect to be able to watch movies properly. Whether or not this is due to my exact configuration, I’m not sure. I will be checking with Turtle Beach to see if I can resolve the problem, if there is one.
Without a doubt, this is a great headset. From the minute I started using them, I immediately loved them and prefer them more than previous headsets I have used. The overall quality of the set is great and they are extremely comfortable. I literally wore these for a span of 10 hours (working and testing, with breaks of course!) and they did not bother me whatsoever. Since I wear glasses, some headsets can bother me after some time due to them pushing the glasses frames into my skull. These are just plain out comfortable.
As with most headsets, this one has it’s good’s and bad’s. One thing I really like about the amp is that it does not require any batteries since it’s plugged into the wall. This saves in the long run and are more reliable. The amp works superbly also. With it, you can really get that volume loud, but it will be far louder than anyone would possibly need. One bad side about the amp is that I didn’t find the Center and Subwoofer dials to do that much good overall. Turned from the bottom to the top, there was not that much of a noticeable difference, just a minor treble boost maybe.
I would love to figure out my issues with the 5.1 movies I was viewing to see if it’s a problem with the headset itself or my configuration. I will be looking into it with Turtle Beach to see if this problem can be resolved. One thing that impressed me quite a bit was with the microphone and it’s quality. It’s superb in terms of recording quality, and it’s insanely flexible. It doesn’t clip in very tight, so if you need it out of your face you can just push it to the side. Having a detachable mic was a wise choice.. it’s definitely the way to go nowadays.
Despite the odd 5.1 issues, which I hope to be temporary, I wholeheartedly believe that this headset is worth the $100 asking price. They sound superb, are the most comfortable I have used, include an amp and even include a splitter so you can use your headset without unhooking your speakers. That being said, I am awarding the Turtle Beach HPA headset an 8 out of 10.
If you wish to discuss this review, please feel free to comment in our related thread. If you think you know the answer to my 5.1 movie problem, let me know!
Feb 27 Edit: The problem has been solved! There was a small option under the Subwoofer tab called “Magic 5.1″. Disabling it fixed most of the problem and the movies sounded good. Enabling Center/LFE Swap under the Center options made the voices stand out even more. After hearing the difference, I wholeheartedly recommend these headphones.