Posted on August 7, 2012 AT 01:11pm
Being able to hear enemies sneaking up on you in a multiplayer game is so important and many gamers turn to fancy headsets to help them hear all the ambient noises in FPS games just to give them that edge. Competition amongst companies is fierce and the choices can be a little overwhelming. Hopefully I can make it just a little easier on you.
I had the honor, no the pleasure, of getting a pair of Tritton’s Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Sound headsets to review. If you are in the market for a stellar piece of hardware, this is definitely one you need to consider. Aside from looking sleek and sexy, it’s a solid piece of audio technology and so easy to use and everything you need to hook it up to any Xbox 360 is included in the box. No need to buy extra adapters or cables.
Warhead 7.1 is truly wireless. No really. There isn’t even a wire going to the controller like some surround sound headsets. There is a transmitter that hooks into the back of your Xbox 360 through an optical cable (and adapter if you don’t own a Slim). The transmitter also acts as a stand for your headset when you aren’t using it and as a charging station for the two rechargeable battery packs that come with the set. It’s compact and stylish though getting the headset to sit on it properly took a minute. The stand supports the ear pieces and you have to fit them in the trays. Having one that used the head band as a support would have made “docking” it a little simpler. The stand will also keep you informed of battery life and which mode you are currently. The readout on the front of the stand has easy to read lights and symbols. I loved having the battery life readout right there for me to see.
The headset themselves fit snugly around the ears and on the head. They are adjustable not only over the top of your head but the ear pieces swivel so you can get the best fit possible. The ear pieces are well padded with a faux leather and so is the head band. My ears didn’t feel like they were being mashed against my head. The ear cups did have air flow and didn’t leave my ears feeling hot and sweaty. They felt a little weighty at first but I quickly got used to them and I no longer noticed. Granted, I was going from wearing a standard Microsoft wireless Xbox 360 headset to these so noticing a weight difference wasn’t a big surprise.
Now I have played with so many friends that own various brands of surround sound headsets and I don’t know if it’s them or if the headsets themselves are overly complicated to set up, but I have run across echoing and assorted interference from their headsets over the years. Everyone I tested the Warhead 7.1 on said they didn’t get any feedback from me and no echo. No one complained about anything coming from me nor my headset. I was able to turn the volume on my television all the way off and just use the headset, so maybe that makes the difference. No noise from the television to be picked up by my mic.
The controls are so simple. There is a volume control on the left for chat and one on the right for game sounds. You just move the switch up or down to increase or decrease volume. The mute button for the mic is on the left at the center of the ear piece. When your muted a little red light goes on so you won’t ever get confused about whether or not you are muted. The sync button is on the inside about the left earpiece and the power button is on the inside about the right. It will shut itself off after 15 minutes of silence so you won’t have to worry about killing your battery if you forget to shut them off. The Warheads have the option of Selective Voice Monitoring. Basically, you decide if you want to hear yourself talking through the headset or not just by clicking in the chat volume switch on the right earpiece. I chose not to because I found listening to myself distracting and annoying plus sometimes the mic would pick up background noise and I would hear it. It’s that sensitive. The mic is also detachable and extremely flexible. You can easily adjust placement or just remove it if you don’t want to use it. It is easy to attach and detach.
This headset also has a built in equalizer that you can adjust for what you are doing. There is a sliver button on the right you can push to change the modes. You will have to hold it in for a few seconds so you won’t accidentally change it. There is a game mode, music mode, movie mode, and a standard stereo mode if you just want stereo sound. On the right is a similar button and this one toggles between analog and digital (optical) inputs. Basically, everything is at your fingertips. Heck, you can even change the batteries on the fly. The pack you are using is in the headset itself, and rather than fighting with a clip in style of battery cover, this one has a magnetic one. The pack you aren’t using will be stored in the transmitter base, charging, and it covered with a similar magnetic cover. Changing them out only takes a few seconds and you will always have a fully charged battery at the ready. Battery life is pretty impressive too. I estimate I got between 16-18 hours of use before swapping out battery packs. My one complaint is that the battery pack in the stand is supposed to “eject” out for you to grab it and sometimes it doesn’t eject far enough to grasp. I would have to shove it back in and eject it again to get to the point I could grab it.
Sound quality is great but I wouldn’t say it was the best ever invented. It does a great job of creating an experience whether you are in game, watching a move, or listening to music but I have heard some crisper audio from some Turtle Beach headsets. However, it’s not a deal breaker. It does work and work well. The first time I put them on I found myself distracted by background game noises I could never hear before. I used them to play Fable 3 and when my dog got out of the water and shook himself off, I could hear his ears slapping the side of his head. The sounds of the tarps smacking against a chain link fence in Modern Warfare 3 startled me when I was sneaking around looking for an enemy. It was pretty amazing. The Warhead 7.1 offers a 5.8GHz frequency so you should not get interference from other wireless devices in your home. Tritton states these have a range of 33ft so moving around the room you are in shouldn’t be a problem but running into another part of your home will probably cause you to lose signal.
So are the Tritton Warhead 7.1s worth the $300 price tag? I think so. The only hesitation I would have is if you want to be able to personalize your headset more, since some brands offer the ability to swap out pieces for different colors, or maybe if you’d rather have a little higher fidelity sound but you will not find a better battery life in any headset out there. This is a solid, all-around headset and it definitely offers the best overall experience when taken as a complete package.
The Good: Amazing battery life, totally wireless, different listening modes
The Bad: Stand is a bit fiddly, shiny finish could scuff easy, select competitors offer slightly better audio
The Ugly: Nothing ugly about these beauties
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