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Review: Turtle Beach XP500 gaming headset

Written on December 26, 2011

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Turtle Beach might sound like a tropical holiday resort but it’s actually the manufacturer of some pretty fine headsets for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The XP500 is a wireless surround sound gaming headset which delivers Dolby 7.1 sound so you can hear your games like never before.

The headset is ideal for those players who want to enjoy their games in high audio quality but without disturbing others.  

Turtle Beach’s XP500 is designed for the Xbox 360 – it has a green colour scheme like all the other Xbox 360 accessories – but it will work just as good on the PlayStation 3.

We tested the XP500 with both consoles and were very impressed with the results.

On board the XP500 is programmable digital signal processing along with Bluetooth and a microphone.

Also included with the device is a transmitter which connects to your console and then sends the signal wirelessly to the headset.

The Turtle Beach XP500 will work with the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3

DESIGN

The Turtle Beach XP500 has cushioned ear cups and headband so it’s comfortable to wear even for extended gaming sessions.

Each ear cup contains a 50mm speaker with neodymium magnets. On the left ear cup is an adjustable microphone which can positioned comfortably near your mouth.

The microphone is also removable if chat isn’t required.

The left ear cup has a USB input to allow connection to a PC, an Xbox 360 controller jack for optional wired chat set up, a presets button which can store up to eight game audio set ups and a game volume control.

On the right earcup is a Bluetooth volume control, the Bluetooth multifunction button, a microphone mute button and a main preset button to toggle between the selected preset and the main default preset.

The XP500 headset is powered by two AA batteries.

The transmitter is a narrow device which sits beside the console and connects with a digital optical cable. The transmitter draws its power from one of the console’s USB ports.

FEATURES

On the audio front the Turtle Beach XP500 offers Dolby 7.1 surround sound so you’ll be able to hear every sound and every footstep – an important feature for online gamers.

And despite the wireless connection to the transmitter the headset offers uncompressed audio quality which will sound just as good as a headset attached with a cable.

It’s even possible to isolate ambient noise from the mic and eliminate background chat sounds so all you hear are the important sounds of the game.

The Sonic Lens and Sound Field Expander can narrow the sound field to hear things like footsteps, voices or a weapon reloading.

The Turtle Beach XP500 can provide Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound

There’s also an Ear Guard with Blast Limiter which can keep sudden sounds like explosions and gunfire to an acceptable level.

On the chat side dual pairing is possible so players can be wirelessly connected to the transmitter as well as being connected to a compatible mobile.

This means the XP500 can also be used to answer calls and even stream the music stored on your mobile device.

There’s also microphone monitoring so you can also hear your voice through your headset so you don’t have to raise your voice to hear what you’re saying.

Dynamic Chat Boost is a feature which increases the volume of chat as the game’s volume gets louder so you can always hear the voices of your teammates.

The Turtle Beach XP500 has controls on each ear cup

PERFORMANCE

Set up was fairly easy as was the pairing between the transmitter and the XP500 headset. This pairing has to be completed each time the headset is used in wireless mode.

The audio quality of the Turtle Beach XP500 is excellent.

There was some initial crackling sounds which was the result of some interference but all we needed to do was switch the transmitter to the other side of the console to enjoy clear sound again.

The surround sound quality is also impressive with the audio coming from various directions including behind you.

This feature was a life saver (a game life, that is) as we were easily able to pick up enemy footsteps from the side and behind us.

It also made it possible to enjoy the sound a lot more than you would hearing it from your TV’s speakers.

Hearing choppers and gunfire from different directions adds even more depth to the experience of the game.

If you don’t have a home theatre system with speakers around the room, the XP500 can sure make it sound like you do.

The Turtle Beach XP500 connects wirelessly to the Xbox 360 and PS3 console usng the included transmitter

The microphone also made it easy to communicate clearly but one of our favourite features was Voice Morphing that allowed us to adjust the pitch of our voice.

And if you’re playing your game and don’t want to miss calls then the Bluetooth comes in handy to answer your mobile as well.

It would have been nice to connect two headsets wirelessly to the transmitter but that’s not possible.

Only one XP500 headset can be connected wirelessly at a time. If there is a second headset it can be connected to the transmitter with a cable into the headphone jack.

VERDICT

The Turtle Beach XP500 is a serious headset that delivers the comfort, quality and features that serious gamers demand.

Turtle Beach XP500

Price: $329.95

Four stars (out of five)

www.turtlebeach.com

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