Turtle Beach Earforce PX21 Headset review

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What does a beach full of turtles and the Turtle Beach headphones have in common? Probably nothing, and it seems like a pointless exercise even wondering about it, so now that I have wasted your time let’s take a look at the more interesting of the two above. A beach full of turtles would be silly, because where would you put your towel down to sleep? Those turtles would get in the way all the time. Wait, never mind, how about those headphones then?

After checking out the X32 Xbox headphones it was time to give the PX21 ‘made for PlayStation, but compatible with everything’ Turtle Beach headphones. The key phrase there is that these headphones will work with your PS3, Xbox and PC so don’t be mislead by the phrasing. The PX21’s are wired headphones which means if like me you have OCD, the sight of those wires on the floor make you want to strangle someone or something with it. Usually I want to strangle the wires but that seems inappropriate and unlikely to yield results.

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Once I got over the Wirephobia of mine (I won), it was time to set the headphones up. The wires connect from the headphones to a separate wire which ends in a two way split. On one side you have a USB plug which goes into your console, and on the other side you have the Audio Out plugs. Much like the X32’s the set up was a bit tricky on the Xbox particularly if using HDMI. It means that if your TV does not have an audio out jack (Red and White) then you were in trouble. I quickly found that of my three TVs not one had the audio out jack which was a frustration. I tried to cut holes in the TV and named them Jack and Jill but the wires refused to cooperate.

So plan 2 meant again that I had to use a VGA cable to connect to the Xbox. Alternatively you can purchase an adapter but I was not able to test this as the VGA worked well enough and I didn’t really want to purchase a new adapter. The set up with the PS3 was much easier so long as you still have your standard cables and HDMI. It was a simple matter of plugging those into the TV for sound while the video stuck to HDMI.

Once set up I was terribly disappointed with the sound quality as all I heard was a hissing noise… then I remembered to actually switch the console on and everything changed. The PX21 comes with an amp attachment down the wires. The little device has a nice clip which helps keep it out of the way and easily accessible. With the control one can manipulate the volume, bass level, chat volume level, switch the mic for chat on and off, as well as toggle the expander which changes the balance of the sound to preference.

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The ability to change all these things really made a difference compared to the X32’s which had basic preset options. The sound quality was nothing short of amazing coming out of the PX21’s. Finding the perfect setting was easy to do and soon I had the sounds of some of my favourite games serenading my ears. I fell so in love with the quality that I asked the headphones on a date, but was promptly rejected (so I strangled the wires to get back at them).

I couldn’t hold it against the headphones. Not with its delightful sound, the fully adjustable microphone and far ‘lighter than it looks’ build. The ear cups once again felt at home over my ears and even after hours of play never got uncomfortable or too tight. The great thing with the Turtle Beach headsets is that not only do they look awesome, but they are also far lighter than one would expect from the look of them. It means that you are never uncomfortable and never really bothered by having something over your head.

The highlight once more was indeed the chat function of the headphones. If you don’t know, the Turtle Beach headphones allow you to hear what you are saying which means that PEOPLE WHO SHOUT ONLINE INTO YOUR EARS AND WANT TO BLOW YOUR EARDRUMS, will realise (hopefully) that they are shouting and will no longer do so. The clarity of the chat is near perfect and really does bring a whole new type of enjoyment to online gaming.

The PX21’s were very impressive and for around R1200 are a pretty good deal, particularly considering their quality and that they will work on all platforms. They are light, comfortable, easy to function and look damn shekshi (Sean Connery says so, well I say he says so). The only complaint I have is that the wires tend to get in the way which will bother some, and not others. It is not enough to put me off the set because I have a powerful imagination and pretend the wires don’t exist. I also pretend that I can’t hear my wife when I am wearing the headphones which not only got me a slap, but also worked into a good way for me to play games all night long. The couch wasn’t that uncomfortable actually.

If you are looking for a headset to cover all or even just one of the platforms you own, look no further than the PX21’s. They provide everything your ears will ever need and truly do improve the gaming experience in more ways than one. They may appear a bit pricey but are definitely worth it in the end.

The Specs:

Headset
* 40mm diameter speakers with neodymium magnets
* Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz, >120dB SPL @ 1kHz
* Condenser Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz – 15kHz
* Cable length: 16 ft. (4.87m)
* Weight: 6.4 oz (233g)
In-Line Amplifier
* Headphone Amplifier: Stereo DC-coupled, 35mW/ch, THD <1%, Frequency Response: DC – 30kHz
* Bass Boost continuously adjustable from 0dB to +12dB @ 50Hz
* Mic mute switch
* Stereo expander switch
* Maximum analog input level with volume control on maximum setting: 2Vpp (700mV rms)
* 3.5mm plug for line output
* USB connector for power, mic connection and stereo audio
* 2.5mm mic output jack
* USB connector for power (5VDC @ <60mA max)
* Dimensions: Height .5in (1.27cm), Width 2in (5.08cm), Depth .75in (1.905cm)

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