Manufacturer: Tritton
MSRP: $179.99
Sound Produced: 7.1 (Virtual)
Type: Wired
Primary Systems: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
Connection Method: Digital Optical, USB (power, chat for PS3),  Xbox 360 chat cable

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Basic Description

The Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 is a powerful, mid-priced option for console gamers looking to step up from television speakers or a stereo headset to something with a deeper range. While you don’t get the presets of some other models in the buyer’s guide and you are tethered to your console via a 14 ft. braided cable, the sound produced by this unit hangs with some of the more expensive models.

The Dolby Digital decoder box features basic settings that maximize the audio for music, movies and games. It’s one of the easier units to use, and fans of the Ghost Recon series will love the light-up deco.

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What’s in the box?

  • Headset with in-line volume control
  • Removable microphone
  • Dolby Digital decoder box
  • Xbox Live communication cable
  • Digital audio adapter
  • Optical cable
  • USB cable
  • Decoder stand
  • Velour earcup and headband replacements with tool

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Aesthetics and Durability

The first thing you’ll notice about this model is the black and blue deco with the large, square Ghost Recon Future Soldier logo. There’s no mistaking the branding tie-in with this unit, and it’s a sharp looking design. 

You’ll notice from the image that it comes out of the box with pleather ear cup covers and headband padding. Additionally, you can easily switch the padding to the velour options. The headband is affixed with adhesive, so that switch is permanent. It’s also less critical than the the material pressed up against the side of your head, so try both out and figure out how you want to wear them.

The top of the headband is branded with the Ghost Recon text logo in a heavy, matte blue plastic. This contrasts nicely with the black glossy finish of the rest of the headset. The Tritton logo appears discretely just below the solid-feeling adjustment point. The microphone is fully flexible and feels sturdy.

Despite the larger profile when compared to a number of the other units, the headset is remarkably light. Some of this can be attributed to the handy in-line control fob, which allows you to easily handle muting, game volume, chat volume and toggle the selective voice monitoring. One of the other nice aesthetic touches is that the Xbox communication cable plugs in here rather than the headset. I noticed less tangling this way.

The decoder box is nice and small, and is designed to either lay flat on a cart or shelf, or stand upright close by your console. Should you choose the latter, the included stand will help keep in stable. I noticed that the grip of the stand on the unit isn’t terribly firm, though, and I wouldn’t recommend this configuration unless you’re crunched for space.

The back of the box is reserved exclusively for digital optical and usb connections to the console, with the front reserved for headset connection, power, volume and indicator lights. The volume control may look like an analog knob, but because volume can also be adjusted using the in-line controls, it is purely digital. It’s very easy to see that you’re getting a Dolby signal, that the Pro Logic IIx is operating appropriately and, with the colored light above the clapboard logo, whether you’re in music or movie mode.

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Ease of Setup and Use

Setup of the Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 headset is largely easy. The most difficult part of the entire thing was connecting the microphone to the underside of the left ear cup. The diagram in the manual isn’t terribly helpful because of the angle. Ultimately, I figured out what position I needed to start in before rotating and locking it in. Why they opted for this method rather than a simply plug is unclear. Now that is is connected, it’s completely stable.

I was extremely grateful to see that Tritton has included an adapter for older Xbox 360 models. As you may be aware, in order to use an HDMI cable and a digital optical cable, you need a low-profile extender. On Xbox 360 Elite units, the ports are simply too close to support both. These adapters retail for only a few dollars, but in terms of convenience, it’s a huge benefit to have it included. There is nothing worse than opening a brand new piece gear only to find out you can’t use it without yet another part. Kudos, Tritton.

From there, it’s simply a matter of connecting the digital optical cable and USB cables to both the decoder box and your console, attaching the two pieces of the breakaway headset cable and plugging the whole thing into the front of the decoder. For PS3, navigate over to the accessories menu and select the headset from the list of options. For Xbox 360, you’ll also need to connect the included communication cable. Since the decoder is powered off the USB, everything is extremely portable.

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Sound Quality and Performance

The sound output from this headset is crystal clear. One of the things that was immediately apparent was how crisp everything came through. I did note that the bass didn’t pound quite as hard as with some other models. The deeper tones still sounded powerful, but I never experienced that earthshaking, eardrum shattering feeling. My aural receptors are probably better off for it. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a bass boost option for those times where you really want that kind of experience, though.

One of the highlights of the Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 headset is that it provides possibly the best Selective Voice Monitoring (SVM) of any unit we’ve tested. SVM allows you to hear your own speech through the headset to help moderate your tone. No more screaming into the mic because you don’t know how loud you are. If that isn’t your thing, you can mute it via the in-line controls. It’s probably best to keep it on, though, because Tritton has done a remarkable job of isolating the wearer from external noise.

When using the chat function, my party members reported that I sounded clear, but that the headset does suffer (as many d0) from electrical interference when the controller is charging. Using both the chat and a charge and play cable produce a slight buzz. Again, this is not exclusive to Tritton or this model. Additionally, the mix of chat and game audio is easily adjusted. Finding the right balance didn’t take long at all.

Ultimately, the sound output was consistent across titles, which is good since you have very little control over the equalization. This model is perfect for those that don’t want to fiddle with too much, preferring an easy to setup system with a pure and full tonal quality.

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Comfort

If you’re like me, and emit a lot of head from the sides of your head, you’re going to want to switch your earcups from the default pleather to the alternative velour option. I found the replacements to be significantly more comfortable, especially during longer play settings. Both options are nice and plush, providing a great deal of padding as they seal out external noise. Unfortunately, neither material breathes too well, so while the softer material might help with the sweating, it probably won’t alleviate it entirely.

The unit is significantly lighter than it appears to be, which is important given the outwardly bulky appearance. The adjustments are nice and stiff, so once you find your ideal configuration, you shouldn’t need to change it terribly often. I did note that, for me, finding the best way for these to sit on my head was important. The headband is padded, of course, but in certain positions I felt that the top of my head was bearing too much of the weight.

Given the length of the cable (14 ft.), I had no problem pulling up some slack to rest the in-line controller on my lap. This seemed to be the best position, making it easy to fiddle with the volume controls or quickly activate the mute.

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Differentiating Features

The Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 has a couple of neat form features. The first is that the outer earcups light up when the system is powered. This isn’t just a cool effect for the game logo, but also serves as a heads-up to those around you that you can’t hear them. The system overcomes being wired with a simple setup and lengthy cables included.

Also, I can’t stress enough what a great inclusion the digital audio adapter is. Tritton didn’t need to go the extra mile to make their customers’ lives easier, but they did and deserve to be commended for it.

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Accessories Required/Recommended

None

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Conclusion

The Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 is at the high end of the middle of the price range (or the low end of the high part of the range, depending on your perspective). What you get for the $179.99 is a capable, wired unit with a very cool deco and an accessible setup and use profile. You won’t get presets, or even basic equalization, but for those looking for audio without the fiddling, this is a great solution.

It’s fairly comfortable with the pleather ear pads, but more so if you take the five minutes to replace them with the velour option. I appreciate the different settings for movies and games, along with the smartly designed in-line controls. For console gamers who want to spend a little less than the top-priced gear, and can be satisfied with a wired unit, the Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7.1 is a good choice.

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