Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital ReviewIndybird - August 31, 2010
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Audio plays a key part in the gaming experience, if most people know it or not. In single player, the audio immerses you into the scene, enhancing the story and game play. In multiplayer the audio works to your tactical advantage; hear the footsteps and gunshots of enemies. Most gamers settle for the stereo speakers on their TV or computer, or go for a basic headset. All of these options leave much to be desired when it comes to taking full advantage of audio in games.
Some users will go the extra step and buy a higher-end stereo gaming headset or surround sound speakers. Even still, they both have their negatives. The stereo headset may provide high quality audio, but it gives you no sense of 3D audio. The surround sound system on the other hand, may provide good audio quality and positional audio, but they are not only expensive but take up a lot of space. Only somewhat recently (as in the last three or four years), have we started to see surround sound headsets. Early models were somewhat lackluster, providing no real upgrade in 3D audio and were therefore considered a gimmick. However, like any other piece of technology, surround headset performance has come a long way in four years, and become a legitimate piece of hardware in gaming setups.
One of the most recent examples of these is the Sharkoon X-Tatic 5.1 Digital Headset. The major features introduced in this headset are an included sound processor, built in amplifier, eight individual speakers (four in each ear) and even Xbox 360 and PS3 microphone compatibility. Based solely on the features, this headset should appeal not only to gamers, but music and movie enthusiasts also. Let's see if the X-Tatic Digital is the perfect addition to a gamer’s audio setup.
The Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital comes in very attractive packaging. The front has a black and green theme overall and is dominated by a large picture of the side of the headset. From here you can partially see the headset inside the inner plastic packaging. Around the back you find more detailed specifications and features listed in nine different languages. The side lists a few features and doesn’t show anything new from the front or back. Opening up the front of the box you get a full view of the headset, the SCU and more detailed features and awards.
Opening up the packaging for the X-Tatic Digital is interesting, because Sharkoon had to pack a lot of accessories and components into a very small area. You find yourself with a handful of cables and small accessory boxes. As you can see, there are quite a few pieces to the headset system, so we’ll go through them individually.
The first thing you might want to check out are the manual and quick start guide. Both were very clear and easy to read (in nine different languages of course), but for the most part were not needed. In the power department you’ll find the AC adapter and three different region plugs (North America, England and Europe are included). Next are the console microphone connectors; an XBOX 360 controller adapter, and a standard USB A to B plug for the PS3. In the input/output department, you’ll find the detachable microphone, a single optical audio cable and an adapter to use the headset without the Sound Control Unit.
Now with the accessories out of the way, let’s take a look at the headset itself.