It was a morning like all others, a Monday and I arrived at the office unsuspecting of what was waiting for me at my desk. I saw the box from Apex Interactive and I assumed it was a headset for review. One of the Razer headsets to be precise, which I was very excited to try as I had not yet had the privilege to test one. But what greeted me when I opened the box simply blew my mind. Ruan Kraft had been singing the praises of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset since we mentioned competitive gaming scenes and shoutcasting, little did I know that he had taken it upon himself to send me one for review!
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro is considered one of the best wired headsets around, and for good reason! Turtle Beach is well-known as arguably the best headset and peripheral creator around. I say arguably because I am an Astro fanboy. I personally use the Astro A40 TR as my everyday headset and this is the direct competition to the Turtle Beach Elite Pro so for that simple reason this is going to be a rather lengthy and in-depth review.
Currently the Turtle Beach Elite Pro is not sold by retailers in South Africa, yes you can find them online but at a totally ridiculous price of around the R8 000 mark with the T.A.C. amp. With a little inside info I can tell you that once they are brought to SA the bundle will cost you around R5 500.
In the premium wired headset class where the Turtle Beach Elite Pro and the A40 TR reside, it is very difficult to find anything "bad" with any of these headsets. With the amount of money you pay you would expect this. So when I mention a aspect of the headset that is "not so nice" do not think it is terrible, because it isn't! It is still extraordinarily good. With this said, lets get straight to it.
UNBOXING, AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
You know you are dealing with quality when even the outside of the box feels like good quality. Upon opening the box I was met with a very interesting facts and stats leaflet. Upon reading it you realize all the research, time and effort that Turtle Beach has put into their headsets! It really is magnificent! A thin layer of velt covers the headset where they sit snugly in their holder. Again, you know you are dealing with quality when things are covered in velt, the only time I have ever owned anything covered in velt is when I bought my fiance's engagement ring. Would I place this headset in that category? Most definitely!
Carefully taking the headset out the box the first thing I noticed was the weight. Although not heavy enough to be uncomfortable you do realize you have something in your hand, or on your head.
The more you look at the Elite Pro the more you notice all the really fine intricacies that they have put into this headset. To start, Turtle Beach really did think of everyone, whether you have a bigger or smaller head this headset will work for you. By adding a nifty head adjuster slider on either side of the top of the headset, you can simply slide the sliders to adjust the tension at which the headset will sit against your head. This will be a welcome relief to the gamers with larger heads. I did not need to play with this function too much.
The earcups, which I will get to soon as they deserve a mention of their own, are also adjustable in two separate ways. If you have a "higher' head and you need the earcups to move further down, Turtle Beach has once again got you covered. They have three defined positions that have visible markings for you to be able to check that no one has adjusted your perfect setup. The earcups can also swivel around which helps a lot when you want to get the perfect snug fit.
The earcups on the Elite Pro's are extremely well made, the outsides are covered in black leather. The cushioning used is simply exquisite! The memory foam is thick and very soft. Pressing down on the foam for long periods of time didn't cause it to not instantly bounce back to its original position. I do not wear spectacles but I did give it a try. Turtle Beach are big on creating headsets that are comfortable for spectacle-wearers and this headset takes the comfort level to the next level, the foam is so soft it simply moulds around the spectacles without leaving even the slightest of gaps for external sound to sneak through.
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro's are made with such quality, the comfort is almost expected! This is what I expected, but I possibly bought into the hype and the excitement and I was left slightly underwhelmed.
Don't get me wrong, like I said earlier, in this price range nothing is bad. As I have grown accustomed to doing when I receive a new headset for review, I give it at least 2 days to find the perfect "fit", fiddle with all the movers and sliders. Move it forwards, backwards, up and down until you find a comfortable position. During this time I did find the earcups to be simply mesmerizing! Never in my life have I had something this soft and comfortable over my ears. Not even the pillow I sleep on at night provides this comfort. I did note the earcups sealing off very tightly against my head which, at the time, felt and sounded like a good thing.
During many, and I mean many hours of playing a variety of titles consisting of the vast openness and bustling streets and cities of Assassins Creed: Origins, the frustrations and profanities of PuBG and the heart pounding pressure and intense stand-offs of Rainbow 6 Siege, the TB Elite Pro's did their job spectacularly. Over this time I did start to feel a slight ache in my ears which I thought could be a common old ear infection or something that would go away with time, but it persisted. After taking a quick change back to my regular headset I found this ache to have disappeared . This had me perplexed. After consulting a few people in the know I found that it could be cause of the extremely good seal that the Turtle Beach Elite Pro earcups create! Don't get me wrong, the good seal is definitely not a drawback of these headsets, it is just one that I personally have. The seal is amazing I don't hear anything, the noise cancelling is superb I have not come across anything quite like it.
To put my experience into a simple sentence: The comfort is so terrific that it literally hurt my ear...
SETUP AND EASE OF USE
Upon unpacking the Elite Pro I was met with many cables, which I thought I knew where they went. I was mistaken. I rummaged through the cables to find some help via a diagram or even some instructions. What I did find was a Turtle Beach sticker, who isn't a sucker for a sticker? There is no form of instruction on how to setup your headset and TAC amp except to resort to good old faithful, Youtube. Turtle Beach has a very informative video on how to do the setup for either PC, Xbox or PS4. I will admit after watching the video, I realized that I would never have figured it out myself.
I will start with the PC setup, which is very easy. Simply slide the slider at the back of the TAC amp to pc, plug the micro USB into the amp, and the USB into the PC. Plug corresponding cable from headset to amp and you are done... Yes that simple. If you are running Windows 10 you should have the Windows Sonic option if you right-click on the audio settings on your task bar and you are ready to go and slay monsters or drive to your hearts content!
PS4 is also rather straight forward. For PS4 you will need to slide the slider to PS4, obviously. Add the optical cable from the TAC amp to the console. Set your audio settings on the console to use the optical cable, if you are not already using that for sound and you are golden! Simple, with no fuss.
The Xbox One is a different beast, this is where I started to not enjoy this headset as much as before. Setup is similar to the PS4. Start by sliding slider to XB1, which can be confusing as the slider markings are a little confusing. Again, use the optical cable and the USB cable like for the PS4, use the appropriate cable from headset to amp, BUT, (this is what annoyed me) use ANOTHER 3.5mm cable from your controller into the amp for your mic control. This is all fine and dandy if you have a gen 2 Xbox controller with the headphone jack built in, but if you have a Gen 1 controller on the other hand you are going to need a chat adapter... The chat adapters are so scares these days that I am pretty sure they are worth more than Bitcoin shares.
So to sum it all up, with PC you have a single cable from amp to PC, and a single cable from PC to headset. PS4 adds one extra cable from Console to Amp. XB1 takes it one step further and adds another one from controller to amp which takes away the freedom that you should have when using your controller. This was a big negative to me.
AUDIO & T.A.C. AMP
The first time I experienced the audio quality of the Turtle Beach Elite Pro was on the PC, simply jamming to some music while working. Nothing spectacular, nothing special just listening to my favorite band, when suddenly, the band made a mistake, no it can't be? I went back and listened to the part again. For the first time since I started listening to this bands' music I had heard this little extra note. Only after that happened did I sit down and really listen and suddenly a whole new spectrum of sounds opened up to me! It was like I was hearing for the first time! The Elite Pro's plays the slightest and smallest sounds so well that it redefined what music should sound like to me! So on the music part the Elite Pro's had a thumbs-up from me! Moving on to the Consoles and gaming...
After the setup and once again watching the setup video on the T.A.C. amp I finally jumped into some gaming, first I explored ancient Egypt in Assassins Creed Origins where I took a stroll through some of the cities and towns to see, or rather hear, what new sounds I could pick up. And I wasn't disappointed. While strolling through Alexandria I came across a woman sweeping, I could literally hear the broom brush sweeping the cobbled street... I was dumbstruck by how crisp and clear things sounded! The clarity of the the Elite Pro is simply amazing!
Next I moved on to Rainbow 6 Siege to test out the directional accuracy as well as the ability of the Elite Pro headset to make sounds distinguishable during a gunfight or other actions.. Once again I was not left dissapointed. After jumping through a window in one of the stages, I proceeded to step on many shards of glass, which in the past I didn't even realize was happening, I then placed a trap and waited for my victim. With some help of the handy drone camera I found an unsuspecting victim in the room adjacent to the one I was in. This was the perfect opportunity to test the Elite Pro directional ability... Without the use of the camera, I could hear the player walking around the room, hear him change from primary to secondary weapon and even hear his steps as he left the room and proceeded to walk straight into my trap. Never have I realized the extent to which a good headset is essential in a game like this.
Moving on to the T.A.C. amp options, and there are numerous.
The T.A.C. amp, or Tactical Audio Controller, serves as its own sound card when used on PC and MAC, and a sound mixer on console. Apart from the normal volume control, which has a very nice LED to show your volume level, and a press button to mute all audio, it comes with a small mic-mute button which also indicates when the mic is picking up any noise. This is great when you want to make sure your party members are not hearing anything they shouldn't be. The T.A.C. has 4 sliders, GAME - which mixes your game volume and chat volume. BACKGROUND NOISE LIMITER - this is a nice feature if you play in a very noisy environment, turning this up will eliminate all the background noise that feeds back into your ears while playing. For normal environments this slider can be left at the bottom. OUTBOUND MIC BOOST - Do you have that one member in the party whose voice is always so soft you can hardly hear him/her? This slider will make sure that person is not you. Simply sliding it up will ensure that your voice is amplified to your friends headsets. MIC MONITOR LEVEL - This one is for the streamers, this allows you to hear your own voice through your own headset, just to make sure you are speaking clearly and everyone can hear you properly.
With the T.A.C. you also get 2 buttons at the top that give you access to the audio presets, 16 presets to be exact. 4 categories, Gaming, Movies, Music and stereo with 4 presets for each category. You do have to memorize the order that you set the presets using the Turtle Beach software which you download and install on your PC and MAC. Presets range from Signature - this is a setup that Turtle Beach have created which has a good balance on all levels. For the gaming category, you also have a footsteps mode which will improve ambient sounds to help you hear the incoming targets or enemies. Music features include acoustic, live and bass boost presets.
SHOULD YOU BUY?
Turtle Beach has made a superb product with the Elite Pro and you will need to spend a significant amount of money to get better than this. Is it better than the Astro A40 TR? I would say they are like for like. If you like Turtle Beach and you are looking for a Tournament Ready wired headset, the Elite Pro is a no-brainer, if you are like me, an Astro fan, I will stick with my A40 TR.
In the premium price range in which the Elite Pro's are, quality in terms of the build, audio and features are standard. And the Elite Pro's truly show what innovative designers and engineers Turtle Beach have creating their products.
Before this headset review I had not been the biggest fan of any Turtle Beach equipment, but thanks to Apex Interactive and Turtle Beach that created the Elite Pro's, it is safe to say I will definitely consider a Turtle Beach product in the future. So to answer the question, would I buy this headset? I most certainly would!
special thanks to Apex Interactive for supplying me with the review item.