Turtle Beach Wireless Headset Ear Force X41
I’m not an audiophile by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know when something sounds better then it did before. I review a few games and DVDs, and as such, over the last year or so, I’ve undergone a few upgrades to my audio output. The first was a pair of Alto studio monitors, which gave an incredible improvement over the built in speakers on my 32in Samsung LCD. However, as nice as these were, they weren’t always the most suitable way to be immersed in my gaming experiences, especially not when my wife started complaining that she couldn’t get to sleep with it sounding like she was in the middle of a war zone (I must have been playing a little too much Call of Duty).
Fortunately I was able to get myself a pair of Audio Technica DJ Headphones, with a green camo design no less, which quite frankly gave a better immersive experience than the Altos. The downside was that I could no longer use my XBox communicator to talk to my team mates.
Recently however, a range of gaming specific audio products arrived in the New Zealand market; Turtle Beach. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test drive a pair of their top of the line, Ear Force X41 wireless headsets.
The first thing you notice with the X41 (other that not being connected by a long cable) is that rather than sitting on your ears, the ear cups envelope your ears, cutting out pretty much all of the background noise. The second thing you’ll notice is the sheer audio overload – especially if you’re in the middle of a Headquarters battle in Call of Duty. It’s about this time that you’ll appreciate the volume control located on the headset.
The sound itself is impressive, but that’s not the game changer. It’s the surround sound that gives you the edge when playing a game like COD. I’ve had my best two weeks of COD since playing with the X41. It’s not that they’ve improved my aim, or given me super vision to spot the campers, rather the heightened audio awareness means that I can often tell if someone is trying to sneak up on me and turn to face them before they can get a shot off.
Being able to rely on audio clues has given me a tactical advantage that I never had before, and for someone like me, it’s made the world of difference and has seen me place at the top of my team in far more games than usual.
The other major thing with the X41 is the mic. The standard XBox communicator is shit. Communication has always been haphazard with them. With the X41 however, I’ve been told that my voice comes through clearly and I don’t have to yell anymore. Well, I can still yell if I come up against an obnoxious yank who wants to question my mothers sex life.
Of course there are a couple of downsides to the X41. being a wireless headset means you’re going to need batteries, though to be honest the pair of triple A’s that it came with lasted me a lot longer than expected – though if I was going to get myself an X41 I would also invest in a battery charger. The other downside is the cost. Burdened with a recommended retail of $349.99 it’s not cheap. If you’re serious about your online gaming however, it’s a solid investment.
And then we come to the set up. You’re going to want to read the manual. Not because it’s difficult to set up, but because it comes with so many cords to cover pretty much any set up you might have. For me it was a case of plugging one cord into the back of my Xbox and then plugging the power cable into the front USB port. It’s a nice touch that it runs off your XBox rather than requiring your to find somewhere to pug it into!