Turtle Beach recently teamed up with the audio team from Visceral Games to create five additional presets (three for traditional story mode play-throughs and two for multiplayer). Combined with the company’s Advanced Sound Editor, a piece of online software that lets you tweak sound signatures even more, it’s a nice value add. I found myself quickly overwhelmed with what were, for me, needless sonic tinkering options. Not everyone will agree of course, but creating sound signatures for individual games and gaming modes was simply too much work. I’d rather be, you know, playing games.
Don’t worry if you don’t want to jump down the feature rabbit hole though, the default mic and audio settings are more than adequate on the PX5, providing clear voice chat capabilities for the Xbox 360, the PS3 and your Bluetooth-enabled phone.
As far sound and comfort are concerned, the Ear Force PX5 is unrivaled. As you’d expect from a headset aimed at gamers, it has a bit of a bass bias, but the mids and highs are also well represented. As I mentioned previously, you won’t find it hard to find a sonic preset that suits you. For me, the “mid-boost” setting not only added some welcome vocal clarity to games, but also brought ambient sounds to the forefront.
Yet as much as the PX5 gets right, it’s still a wireless headset. That means you’ll get the occasional hissing and crackling during gameplay — especially if you place the base unit next to any 802.11 emitting devices like routers or (ahem) gaming consoles. Yes, given that the 2.4 GHz frequency is the same one that a/b/g/n run on, you may experience some interference depending the PX5’s location. After I separated mine from the offending equipment, most of those sonic distractions faded away.
I was also left underwhelmed by the simulated 7.1 surround. In fact, the difference between and the 5.1 and 7.1 wasn’t even noticeable. But you aren’t buying the PX5 for 7.1 — or at least you shouldn’t be.
Finally, be prepared to invest in some rechargeable batteries. The very thing that makes the PX5 stand out from other headsets (dual Bluetooth radios) is the same thing that makes it an unstoppable, unrepentant, battery eating machine. I got well below Turtle Beach’s 15 hours of battery life — an unsatisfying 9 hours — although I was rocking the Bluetooth stereo and making more phones calls than any sane person normally would.
To be clear, none of these faults diminish the fact that the PX5 is arguably one of the best gaming headsets currently on the market. So if you’re hunting for a pair of great sounding wireless cans that’ll augment your gaming experience, answer your calls, and let you watch those Netflix movies in silence, look not further than the PX5. Sure, it’s spendy. But can you really put a price on a gadget that (almost) eliminates the need to get off the couch?
Photos by Jon Snyder/get-gadget
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