Sound Produced: 5.1 Dolby Surround
Primary System: Xbox 360
Also Compatible With: Playstation 3
Connection Method: Digital Optical (TOSLINK), USB (PS3 Chat)
The Tritton AX Pro 5.1 is a monster of a headset, packing a massive punch with eight in-ear 40mm speakers, four independent directional volume controls, selectable voice monitoring, a master surround base, and a sleek design with an ample helping of LEDs. It may be a wired headset, but it’s definitely a contender in the wireless headset ring.
What’s in the box?
Headset, in-line audio control, removable microphone, Dolby Digital Decoder box, Xbox 360 controller cable, digital audio adapter, optical cable, USB cable, decoder stand, power adapter, replacement ear pads.
Aesthetics and Durability:
The AX Pro is a glossy silver headset, illuminated by glowing orange Tritton logos on the ear cups. The padding is a plush cushion material covered with black faux leather. The in-line audio control panel is an oblong-shaped silver panel with four buttons that indicate the direction volume levels. These buttons are backlit and change color depending on how high or low the volume is for that section. The decoder box is also backlit, allowing users to see from a distance what audio settings are in place.
This headset is very nice to look at, but seems a little out of sorts without a proper means to dock on the decoder box. The mic doesn’t fold up due to the fact that it attaches via a pronged connector, and the 13′ long cable seems to be the only odd thing in the picture, as the AX Pro feels like it’s just one step away from being wireless. Each individual part looks great and feels very well-made. The headset itself is incredibly sturdy with flexible ear cups that contour to your face. Every piece of this ensemble looks high end and the glowing Tritton logo is a particularly nice touch. It also makes it much easier to see in low light, which comes in very handy during late night gaming sessions.
Ease of setup and use:
There are a lot of cables packed into this box, but most of them are optional. Tritton does an excellent job of providing buyers with any and all cables they could ever need. All the adapters are there, so regardless of your connection method (HDMI, component, etc.), you’re ready to go right out of the box. The bulk of the setup process revolves around the decoder box. You’ll need to connect the digital optical cable to your Xbox 360 by whatever means you prefer, then connect the AC adapter to the box. The headset and microphone are packaged separately, so you’ll need to plug that in as well before you get going. It’s not much of a struggle, but getting the mic to curve correctly can be a bit of a chore.
Once you turn the system on, you’ll want to make sure your Xbox 360 is actually producing 5.1 Dolby Surround through your preferences tab. Once that’s confirmed, the Pro should automatically set itself to 5.1 surround. Then it’s up to you to balance your audio levels. The in-line volume control device has a whole lot going on. Your chat volume, mute buttons, and game audio are all on there in addition to the directional controls. This headset has four speakers in each ear, so there’s a lot going on behind the scenes and you’re free to customize each direction as you see fit. If you just want everything on the same level, all you have to do is turn game volume all the way down to reset it. This is probably the most time consuming process, especially if you’re a stickler for getting just the right sound. The decoder box is where you’re going to have to configure true 5.1. You’ll need to make sure Pro Logic is on in order for you to experience Dolby Surround.
Setting this headset up is the easiest part. Getting it to deliver the kind of sound you want is the true challenge.
Sound Quality and Performance Notes:
The AX Pro simply booms once you find the audio sweet spot. Having total control of the directional speakers adds a whole other dimension to customization, giving you a truly 3D audio experience. While playing Mass Effect 3, I spun 360 degrees around a party member while he was speaking and felt the source of the voice change as I moved. Though I sat still, it seemed as though the sound was moving around me. It took some effort getting to that point though, and I never was truly 100% happy with my levels. I’d feel the bass vibrate my teeth, but certain characters’ words seemed muffled and distant. It seemed to improve as I progressed through the story, and I became more fixated on the directional sound quality as time progressed.
Adjusting the game audio isn’t the smoothest process either. Rather than standard dials, they are more akin to switches. You have to flick them in the right direction in order to adjust your volume. If you don’t apply enough pressure, nothing is going to change. You’ll hear some feedback in your ear cups when you’ve successfully affected the levels (there’s a soft clicking sound), but it felt like a very slow process.
The selectable voice monitoring is a nice feature that allows you to hear yourself in your ear cups as you speak, helping you work on your inside voice and avoid the shouting so many of us tend to resort too when we have giant fuzzy cushions over our ears. It’s easily turned on or off by pushing in the button on the in-line control panel.
The AX Pro is a large piece of equipment, but it never looks that way while at work. The padding paired with the faux leather creates a very comfortable cushion inside the circumaural cups. Overall, this is a very comfortable headset that performs admirably during long bouts of gaming.
Selective voice monitoring, four different volume controls for corresponding speakers, and fancy LED lights make the AX Pro stand out against other wired headsets. It’s price point is also very reasonable for the 5.1 Dolby experience.
The AX Pro isn’t a beginner’s headset, but seasoned audiophiles should enjoy the level of customization offered with the independent directional speaker controls. The only thing off about this whole package is its wired status, but the Pro holds its own. Compared to the Razer Chimaera 5.1, the AX Pro succeeds it in comfort level and easy of set up. The price difference between wired and wireless headsets in the 5.1 range may also have potential buyers looking in the AX Pro’s direction. It does what the Chimaera does, minus a few bells and whistles, and costs much less. If you want 5.1 Dolby Surround, but aren’t ready to explore the unusual world of wireless headsets, the Pro might be exactly what you need.
Products to Compare
- Astro Gaming Wired Mixamp with A30 or A40 Headset
- Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1
- Turtle Beach Ear Force XP300