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Turtle Beach Ear Force X4 Review

tacohunter52    -   January 25, 2009
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Testing:

ALL YOUR EARS ARE BELONG TO US: Can this $170 headset perform up to its price tag? I will be testing the headset's capabilities to use chat while in a game at different volume levels. I will then test the headset with different types of music, as well as watch a movie. One thing is for sure, during ALL this testing, this headset is comfy. I wasn't quite sure with what to compare these performance aspects because they are made for the Xbox 360. Because the microphone will only work with an Xbox controller these will not work as a headset on a PC, but you can still use them as normal headphones. This product obviously dominates a normal Xbox headset in every way and has features you wouldn't have dreamed a Xbox headset could include.

Setup:

  • XBOX 360
  • PC
  • Blu-Ray player

 

GAME:

Halo 3

This game deserves an award for the amount of people who play and shout at you when you grab the sniper rifle. Because of this trait, Halo is the perfect game to test the headset's chat function.

Sound:

The sound quality of this headset is amazing! You can hear everything ranging from the crackling explosion of gunshots to the subtly quiet things you never noticed before, like the footsteps of an opponent sneaking up behind you. There was some static whenever the game got quiet, but this wasn't a major problem. As soon as there is any relevant audio, the static is unnoticeable.

Chat:

I was disappointed; nothing major, but a bit disappointing. The chat is, without a doubt, way better then the original Xbox headset. However, it will sometimes detect the noise coming from your headphones. This of course happens with the normal Xbox headset much more often.

Another feature that wasn't working well was the ability to hear my own voice when the volume is turned all the way up. What can I say, I like my games LOUD! It works perfectly fine in the midrange volume levels, but as soon as you put the volume up all the way, you're having to shout to hear yourself. Needless to say, those around you who are not playing the game will think you have completely lost your mind.

That being said, Turtle Beach did an awesome job with the Chat Boost. You can have your sound as high as it will go and the chat will get louder without you doing anything. But wait, there's more! What if you get stuck in some grenade explosions right when someone tells you a secret?!? No problem! I was actually surprised at how well the EAR FORCE X4 was able to disntinguish loud sounds and raise chat volume levels accordingly (very, VERY COOL). Once again, I have to comment on the Dolby Surround Sound because it sounds like your teammates are actually right there! It's weird because even if the games deafeningly loud you can still hear them. It's like they are really there, which increases your overall immersement in whatever world you are currently playing in. This feature is definitely a PLUS.

Another plus is how well the microphone worked. You can have it all the way to the left side and people will still be able to hear your voice; great for being able to stuff your face while continuing to play. Not only that, but when it is that far away from your mouth, it still does a decent job of only detecting your voice.

MUSIC:

I used this headset (without the microphone, of course) to listen to a variety of music on Both the XBOX and PC. Although there was no noticable difference in sound between the two, all I can say is WOW! The sound quality with this headset rivals a complete Surround Sound system, and the Bass Boost only makes it greater. Listening to classical music made me feel like I was IN the orchestra, and you could clearly distinguish the nuance of every instrument. I then went on to listen to some rap, hip-hop, rock, pop, and metal; ALL sounding way better than on any headphones I've ever used. I got so into the quality of sound, it made me forget how much I actually loathed some of the tracks I was sampling. You could crank the volume all the way and the person next to you would only slightly here the bass. Turtle Beach definitely did something right with the sound quality. I even got curious enough to try the bypass switch to see what it would sound like without the Dolby processing; oops, not so good. But even then it sounded about as good as it gets with any other pair of lesser headphones.

MOVIE:

The Matrix:

Come on, you know you love it, and oh yes, with this headset you will love it even more. The sound quality is so superb you feel like you are in a movie theater. You will even hear subtle things you never noticed before; for instance the scene just before Neo gets in the car while it is raining (the one where he gets “the bug” taken out of his gut), you can actually hear a few footsteps approaching him. The only downside is that if there are any silent portions in your movie, just like in your games, you will hear some static. Nothing big, and it is certainly not irritating, but it is there, so it's worth mentioning.

Comfort:

A+, enough said. You will be hard pressed to find another headset as comfortable as this one. A combination of how light it is and the cushion on the headband make it feel like you're not wearing a headset at all. The velvet cushions on the ear pads are extremely “cushy” and do not hurt your ears like other larger headsets can do. However, it does get a little warm, so if you're prone to sweating, I'd pick up some of their replacement pads. They are removable, and this is probably why.

 




  1. Introduction and Closer Look
  2. Closer Look (Continued)
  3. Installation and Configuration
  4. Specifications and Features
  5. Testing
  6. Conclusion
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