By Leo Stevenson
Over the last month or so, I have had the privilege of doing my gaming whilst using a set of Turtle Beach Ear Force PX5s. I don't think I can go back to my normal setup now. Where I used to use a home stereo 5-point-nothing surround setup, I've now indulged in a fully customisable and programmable 7.1 surround sound experience with crystal clarity.
Upon unboxing the headset, you're greeted with a handy quick setup card for both the PS3 and Xbox 360. As the PX5s are designed for the PS3, setting them up with Sony's console is a very straightforward affair. Hooking them up to your Xbox 360 will require a little more effort, but nothing too taxing. I used the PX5s exclusively with my PS3, and the setup couldn't have been easier. All that's required is to plug the included optical cable from the PS3's optical-out into the PX5's receiver optical-in; then, the connect the PX5's USB cable into a USB port on the PS3 and the hardware setup is complete. Helpful instructions and diagrams included with the headset mean that even if you are not tech savvy in the slightest, you still should have no issue setting a pair up.
On the software front, you'll simply need to navigate to the PS3's audio settings and activate the optical-out setting. The PS3 should default to the correct output -- being 7.1 -- but if it doesn't for whatever reason, there is a handy troubleshooting guide included. Then, pop in two AA batteries into the right hand side earpieces, press the power button, and pair the headset its base. Then, it's time to game.
I think it's safe to say that at this point I've established that the PX5s are incredibly easy to set up. Thankfully, using the headset is an even more pleasant experience. They are really comfortable to wear and have a nice squishy feel to the earpieces. The headset is easily adjustable for your head size and the headband portion sits comfortably across your crown. Despite the weightiness of the PX5s, I never once felt like it was a chore to wear them or that my head was being weighed down; aI often forgot they were there at all. Volume is adjustable via a dial on the left earpiece, and a variety of buttons allow for chat muting, sound presets and Bluetooth functions.
I tested the PX5s with a variety of games, television, movies and music of the past month, and they performed exceptionally well in all cases. I played Dead Space 3, Tomb Raider and Darksiders II while using the headset, and found that in general they performed much better than my home stereo system. It's quite difficult to accurately and effectively set-up a surround system in your home, as it requires a lot of space and precision locating of each speaker. With the PX5s, the hard work has already been done for you ad they've been designed to create a sublime 7.1 surround sound experience.
While playing Dead Space 3, I found that I was more intently engrossed in the game than I would be if I was using a standard stereo set-up. The sound was crisp and clear and the surround actually assisted my gameplay as I could determine what direction enemies were coming from just by listening. I had a similar experience with Tomb Raider. The environments are one of the stars of the new Tomb Raider and listening to the game through the PX5s truly helped to bring them to life. Sounds I would never normally hear or pay attention to were suddenly audible through the headset which made for an even greater immersive experience. Listening to music and watching movies/television is every bit as good as when playing games although games do sound the best of all due to their nature.
The PX5s have some great additional features including the ability to program the headset how you see fit, and in some cases download settings designed specifically for certain games. The level of customisation is excellent and allows those users with better knowledge of sound or audio engineering to truly tailor their own experience. The in-game chat function works perfectly and the microphone is of decent quality. In game chat isn't the only function of the headset's Bluetooth as you are able to pair them with your mobile phone to enable convenient chatting while you play.
If I have any issues with the PX5s at all, it's the fact that they require two AA batteries rather than a rechargeable one. The AAs tend to run out of charge a little too soon for my liking, no matter the brand. It really is only a very minor issue though because as long as you are prepared and have batteries on hand you should only ever suffer minimal interruption.
I've had a great experience with the PX5 headset over the past month and highly recommend them to any gamer looking to invest in a headset. The in game cheat features and ability to pair with your mobile are great and the 7.1 surround will blow you away. Now that I've played games with the PX5s, I'm not sure I can go back to a time without them. If you give them a shot, I'm willing to bet you won't be able to either.