Manufactuer: Turtle Beach
MSRP: $79.95
Sound Produced: Stereo
Type: Wired
Primary System: PS3
Also Compatible With: Xbox 360, PC/Mac
Connection Method: USB and 3.5mm

Basic Description

The PX21 is marketed as a wired PS3 headset, but is actually a multi-platform peripheral in disguise. Its independent game and chat volume controls paired with a lightning-fast setup make it one of the most versatile and user-friendly headsets on the market. It’s incredibly comfortable and offers killer stereo amplified game audio at a modest price point, making it Turtle Beach’s best selling headset. It also happens to be my personal favorite.

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What’s in the box?

The PX21 comes with the headset, a 16′ long connector cable (a USB and 3.5mm split)  and an additional talkback cable for players to hook up to their 360 controllers to enable voice chat. It also comes with an analog adapter for your television. HDMI adapters are sold separately.

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Aesthetics and Durability

This headset is incredibly light and very well cushioned along the headband and ear cups with mesh padding. The Turtle Beach logo is printed on the sides of the cups in a bright red (in the past, it was blue), and white text is printed on the plastic ends of the headband.

I acquired my PX21 secondhand and didn’t have any problems with my set until after about a year and a half of use. As with any wired headset device, you need to be mindful of the cable if you plan on keeping it around for a while. It transports well, but rough handling can end in broken plastic inside the ear cup. Considering how light the PX21 is, I’m very impressed by how much of a beating it can take.

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Ease of Setup and Use

The PX21 needs to connect to your television via composite cables, regardless if whether your console is connected to an HDMI cable or not. You can use the two in tandem, the PX21 simply needs a way to get to your game audio. The composite adapter that comes with the Px21 is a one-time set up deal. Simply replace the RCA cables with Turtle Beach’s adapter, connect the 3.5mm to the end of it, connect the USB, and add the controller cable. The RCA adapter is the only time-consuming step, but once you’ve got it plugged in, you can leave it in. Unplugging the 3.5mm and USB cables is all it takes to switch from console to console.

Connecting to a PC or Mac is simpler, as there’s no need for an adapter. You’ll find that independent chat and game audio might be obsolete here unless you tinker with your settings. I had to go into my device manager to select the Turtle Beach when I plugged it in, as the USB seemed to confused my computer. Once you select it, it’s smooth sailing. I preferred using my Px21 on PC, but found that the giant cable coil at my feet a little annoying. Turtle Beach included a velcro strap though, so the cable can easily be gathered and bound together.

Game and chat audio have separate dials on your control panel, in additional to a chat boost, bass boost, and the standard mic/audio mute switches. Lights on the panel let you know when your expanded is on or if you’ve muted yourself, so troubleshooting takes mere seconds. Note that the bass boost, chat boost, and independent audio channels will not

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Sound Quality and Performance Notes

The PX21 provides high quality stereo audio and a good sense of directional noise. While the 40mm speakers with in are fairly standard, the sound quality is far above average. You’ll pick up on subtle noises you might not have noticed before putting this headset on. You may get some noise interference if you’ve got other peripherals plugged in, but for the most part, little interrupts this sound. It’s about as good as you can get if you’re not ready to upgrade to 5.1 or 7.1 surround. There’s an audio expander switch that will improve broad ambient game sounds such as rain, or blowing wind, and will allow chat audio to automatically adjust itself as your game volume increases. You can still adjust your chat and game audio independently via the dials, but this expander will try to compensate for the sound changes so you don’t have to.

Because of its separate audio and chat cables, balancing the game and chat audio is incredibly easy. What’s more, the PX21 is a great device to record audio with. It’s my preferred method of podcasting if I don’t have any dedicated audio recording equipment available. You’ll get a clean, clear sound of out of this when you set your tracks up properly.

Recording Sample

Turtle Beach PX21 Sample

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Comfort

Its lightweight build and adequate padding will help you forget you’re even wearing a headset. The headband is wrapped in mesh and a kind of faux leather, creating a thick buffer between skull and plastic. I never noticed and tension under the headband like I did with the Z11. After about four hours, I began to notice a bit of irritation over my ears, but that was it – and I’ll admit that I’m on the sensitive side of the spectrum. I’ve put the PX21 on friends and they never complained about discomfort. Overall, the PX21 feels really good considering it’s not as heavily padded as other headsets.

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Differentiating Features

Independent chat/game audio is a must-have for those looking to play online in team or party chat. The remarkable recording quality at such a low price point adds to its versatility.

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Recommended/Required Accessories

None.

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Conclusion

The PX21 is the perfect headset for someone looking to get serious about online gaming, but isn’t looking for the frills of 5.1 or 7.1. This is a workhorse and it’ll treat you well as long as you do the same. If you own multiple consoles and are on a modest budget, this is a very worthy investment.

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