I’ve never considered myself an audiophile. I’ve never been the type who needs the the perfect stereo to listen to music with. To me music is almost the same on a cheap stereo than it is on the best surround sound system you can buy. Because that’s not who I am or what I’m about. I’ve never been a “music guy”. I’m not the type to overload my iPod or cellphone with thousands of songs. Like I said, I’m not a music guy. What I am… is a gamer.
Immersion is the key. While I have a more than competent surround sound system and a headset for gaming at night (as not to bother my girlfriend and neighbors), I was not sure what to expect from the Turtle Beach Earforce PX5. I figured it would be more of the same. I was wrong.
The Ear Force PX5 will blow your ears away. And I don’t mean damage your ear drums or anything like that – your ears are in for an unmatched auditory delight. Turtle Beach has been working hard to make the perfect wireless Surround Sound headset and with the Ear Force PX5 they have triumphantly succeeded.
Since receiving this headset, I haven’t gamed without it. It has forever changed my use of a wireless headset from something that I would use late at night when I had to be quiet, to a gaming essential. In this review I will explain why.
The PX5 features Dolby Digital 7.1 surround sound wirelessly transmitted via RF transmitter to the sleek and comfortable headset. The 7.1 game sound gives a clear digital signal which uses Dolby Digital IIx technology that sounds far cleaner, crisper than anything I had heard before without a detectable “hiss” that is often an inherent problem with headsets.
The degree of sound immersion you can achieve with the PX5 is intense. I reviewed SOCOM 4 while using the PX5, and it shined. Every sound effect including footsteps, bullets whizzing by, and melon popping headshots were an ear delight. The 360 degree audio also allowed me to hear exactly where the sounds were coming from.
To make sure it wasn’t just SOCOM’s sound quality, I also played Dead Space 2 on my 360. A different game on a different console with the same result. In fact, because of the headphones ability to isolate outside sounds Dead Space 2 was downright horrifying. Playing with the lights out in my Man-cave late one night, Issac traversed another dark and creepy hallway. I heard voices, incomprehesible in game, but they sounded as if they originated from different corners in my very own cave. After coming to the end of the corridor and anticipating a necromorph attack, my fiance’s cat jumped on my lap, I yelled like a little girl, I was terrified, it was awesome. Immersion, baby!
Design and Comfort
The headset is relatively large and sturdy, but doesn’t feel heavy. The weight is well balanced and feels just right. It’s also padded well and you can easily wear it for hours without discomfort.
Each earphone has buttons and dials strategically placed so users can eventually learn how to find them without too much feeling around. The right earphone has the “main” button, a mute button, Bluetooth function button and a bluetooth volume switch. The left earphone has plenty of function as well, including a sturdy adjustable mic, a power button, USB port, Xbox plug in, a button for presets and a game volume adjuster. The left earcup sports an adjustable and detachable boom mic complete with wind screen along with the main power button. Along the cushioned cup you’ll find a USB port, Xbox chat port, the presets button, and a game volume dial.
The base of the PX5 strikes a small profile and is designed to double as nifty stand for the headset and also includes indicator lights and a bypass button. Overall there is relatively nothing to complain about the design of the PX5. It is sleek, well designed and very functional.
You may have never thought you needed this feature, but believe me – you do. Ever been in the middle of an online multiplayer firefight and received an important phone call? Sure you have, and you probably had to take off your headset, find your phone and answer. This can be frustrating, particularly to your friends or teammates in the match. The PX5 can be paired with any Bluetooth phone thus enabling you to simply switch from the game to the phone. The audio from the game will fade out and your phone audio will fade in, and when you hang up the call, the game audio will fade right back in so you can keep playing. It’s pretty friggin’ sweet. You can also use this feature to play music through the headset wirelessly. Yup, you still may not need this feature… but you want it.
Battery life for the headset is advertised at 26 hours, although I’d argue 20, and 20 hours is plenty of time. If there was one change I’d make to the headset would be to add a rechargeable source. This is still not really a problem because AA batteries are pretty common as are rechargeable AA batteries.
Microphone Design and Function
The microphone on the PX5 is highly movable, removable and has a few key functions. One of these function includes voice morphing. With the PX5 you can change the sound of your voice from deep lows to screeching highs. While not essential it’s an entertaining function nonetheless in case you want to pretend you’re a little girl, and scream like me.
Another great feature is having the ability to hear yourself as you speak. Hearing yourself in your own ear, allows you to regulate your voice better and avoid unnecessary yelling.
The PX5 also comes with 18 programmable presets in all: nine for the PS3 and eight for the Xbox 360. Switching between these two sets of presets is as easy as pressing a button. You can plug the headset into a computer and adjust/remove the presets when you desire. They make it so you can have just the right sound mix, for just he right game. Racing and FPS players know what I’m talking about.
The PX5 far exceeds what I expected. Turtle Beach has succeeded in making one of the, if not the best gaming headsets available. The sound quality, features, and overall design is as good or better than anything out there today.
Is it perfect? Nothing is perfect. The $250 price tag will likely scare some consumers away. But, is it worth it? Every penny if you’re a gamer who values the perfect immersive experience.
Here’s the Rundown:
+Incredible Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround Sound that works wirelessly
+Immersive 360 degree audio let’s you hear sounds from all angles
+18 Programmable Presets
+Dual Bluetooth Pairing – Can use it to answer you phone while simultaneously gaming
-$250 Price tag may Scare Away some gamers
The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX5 was released in March, 2011 for the price of $249.99 USD. It was tested by Garrett in his man cave with both a PS3 and Xbox 360. The headset was provided to RipTen by Turtle Beach as a loaner for the purpose of this review. We’ll be sending it back to them shortly — though it pains us to do so. Maybe “someone” will be getting it for his birthday anyway.