Turtle Beach Ear Force X-52 PC Gaming Headphones Reviewhardnrg - February 13, 2008
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At the end of this review I had my head in my hand. This headset came close to working very well in every aspect. For movies and music, the Ear Force X-52 performs extremely well, and I was surprised by its ability to produce the sound quality and levels even directly from the soundcard.
One of the quirks of the Ear Force X-52 is that it really needs a decent soundcard to unleash its potential. When driven flat (no EQ adjustments) and with no bass crossover for the sub, the headset sounds very much mediocre and uninteresting. Adjust the EQ and enable the bass crossover and the headset is transformed into a bass-shaking monster on your head!
I think the uneven sound problem stems from the center speakers, the other speakers perform at levels and frequency ranges that are the most appropriate match for the channel assignment. Because of the way the center speakers sound, and the resulting missing bass component of sounds in front of you, the headset does not deliver all the sound that is there in games, and does not sound like a 5.1 surround sound speaker system.
Maybe it's not actually possible to deliver 5.1 audio through headphones without some sort of compromise. This multi-speaker headphone design is certainly better than virtualization of surround sound through stereo headphones. The Ear Force X-52 is the best 5.1 headset I have heard to date, and comes very close to perfect, but the center channel lets it down, and the illusion of 5.1 is lost. It cannot deliver complete 5.1 audio in games, therefore not living up to the most basic of its claims, and so the Ear Force X-52 gets the Bronze award. If Turtle Beach could improve the 5.1 performance and tweak the shape of the earcup to be fully circumaural, they would have one of the best headsets in the world.
- High quality sound can be achieved through soundcard adjustment
- Performs very well for music and movies
- Folding design, carrying bag, and cables/adapters makes the headset versatile and portable
- Can be driven directly from a soundcard with plenty of volume
- Earcup size and shape means part of the earcup rests on your ear, and results in fatigue after several hours
- Center speaker really lets the whole headset down, removing elements of sound in games