Turtle Beach hits the shelves this week with another offering in their line of wireless specialty gaming headphones with the EarForce PX5. As an existing EarForce customer (I own the X41) I was excited to get my hands on this revamped model.
As an owner of both an Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 I’ve always left my X41 hooked up to my 360, because the X41 simply doesn’t cut it as a PS3 model. All that has changed with the PX5; it’s the single best wireless headphone set I’ve ever used with my PS3.
Turtle Beach has stepped up their game, offering a ton of new features on the PX5. Let’s start with surround sound; I’ve got my 60GB PS3 Phat hooked up in my living room with TV-only sound. Swapping out to the PX5 made a huge difference – 7.1 surround sound from this model sounds great. I ran a few tests with my home theatre setup Blu-ray disk; the channel separation is quite good. Both games and movies really show off what the PX5 can do – if you don’t have a surround speaker set, or you’re looking to watch your favourite flick or play a game quietly in the evening hours, the PX5 is perfect.
I ran the PX5 with a tone generator on my PC to see how well it could reproduce sound across the frequency range. Clearly I’m getting older as I was unable to hear anything above 19kHz. I had a second set of ears verify that yes, indeed, there was sound being produced at that frequency range. Maybe I was just having a bad hearing day. I’ll keep telling myself that.
The EarForce PX5 uses digital RF transmission; at 2.4Ghz I found that there wasn’t any problem with interference from my Wi-Fi (nor did my Wi-Fi slow down or drop signal at all) and I couldn’t produce any noticeable distortion from my household appliances–so yes, if you live in a small space, you can go ahead and microwave that slice of pizza while still chatting on your PX5s.
The PX5 connects to the base station via 2.4GHz wireless as mentioned above, but will connect to your PS3 or mobile phone via Bluetooth®. Here’s the cool thing; you don’t have to pick one or the other any more, the PX5 has dual Bluetooth pairing, so you can quickly swap from PS3 voice chat to taking a call with your mobile phone at the touch of a button.
Voice Quality is good. Really good. I’ve used my old SOCOM USB headset, the Official PlayStation Bluetooth® set, the horrid Jabra 125 that came with Warhawk, and a Jawbone with Noise Assassin, and nothing was quite as good as what I’ve experience with the PX5. It knocked out background noise, delivered better voice quality for me (there’s a setting that boosts voice chat, handy when you’ve got someone in your clan that’s a low-talker), and the headset dynamically softens ultra-loud noises (you can turn this off) so you’re not deafened by explosions. You can also enhance certain sounds, which is great for listening for footfalls in FPS games.
The PX5s are comfortable; they ear cushions breath, just like my X41s, making them great for longer gaming sessions (I played through a few of the origins in Dragon Age: Origins that I hadn’t hit yet, those are three to six hours each, and I didn’t have a problem.)
When you pop them off, you can hang them ‘round your neck and they flip flat, so you’re not taking earcups in the chin. Finally, the mic is removable, so if you’re playing a single player game and not taking any Bluetooth® calls, you can chill out without it hanging around.
So there’s all of this great technology in the PX5… for those that want to customize their headset, the PX5 delivers. You can set up presets on your computer, and upload them to your PX5 easily. It’s Windows-only right now, so I’m running it through my gaming PC, but I did give it a shot on my Mac through Parallels and Boot Camp and it worked fine in both cases. You can also download Presets that Turtle Beach has created, something I found very cool. One game-specific pre-set available is for DeadSpace 2, when you’re playing in Multiplayer as a Necromorph or as a Human; the vocal overlay gives you a neat character specific sound, adding a little something fun to the game.
Some of the Game Sub-Presets could actually offer you an advantage online. The Sonic Lens functionality I mentioned above can be fine-tuned for certain games. Some folks might think this is an unfair advantage; I say if something gives you an edge you should take it!
The upgrades that Turtle Beach has made to the EarForce line makes the PX5 a must-buy for those interested in high-quality wireless headphones, and a good upgrade for those who own older Turtle Beach EarForce products who want a better PS3 experience. If you’re rockin’ an Xbox 360 all of this good stuff applies (minus the Bluetooth® for voice chat, there’s a cable) just like the old X41s.
I’ve got to say I’m really impressed with this set. If you want high quality sound, high quality voice chat, wireless convenience, and real comfort, the Turtle Beach PX5s are it.