Turtle Beach PX3 Review
Written by Craig Will (puffkix) Thursday, 09 February 2012 12:00
Knowing that my life was about to undergo a serious recalibration with the birth of my daughter on the horizon I started looking into new sound setups optimized for gaming without waking the baby. I settled on the Turtle Beach PX3 headset.
I knew I wanted something wireless, compatible with all my systems (360, PS3, and PC), and that fit within my budget. The PX3 is all of these things -- though the cross compatibility means that it’s not truly “wireless” when playing on the 360, at least if you want to chat.
There are several reviews of this headset out there and they all review the sound and functionality of the device, which is great, but something that was equally important in my mind is the ease of use and setup.
I’ve always been a little daunted by audio setup diagrams. I know they’re not really difficult or hard to understand but every setup is unique the products used for sound delivery vary from person to person. For example, I have both my consoles running to my TV via HDMI and then my TV runs the audio into my external stereo equipment. Predictably, the Turtle Beach instructions do not list my particular setup and instead suggest that I use both A/V cables and HDMI to set up the sound. This would mean that I would lose my universal auxiliary setup on my systems and would have to change which A/V cables were plugged into the receivers’ splitter every time I changed consoles. For this reason it always takes me a minute to start to feel comfortable with “universal” setup instructions.
Fortunately, as I’m sure anybody who actually knows anything about audio is already aware, I am able to disregard the directions and just plug the A/V cord I already have running into the stereo right into the splitter. Sound comes through the headset just fine.
I did run into an issue where the mic wasn’t working -- in fact the headset didn’t even show up in the PS3 list of accessories. The solution was easy enough although it did pose a very minor annoyance: the USB cable responsible for powering the transmitter needs to be plugged into the console that will be transmitting. It makes sense but for some reason I thought that the USB cable’s only job was to power on the device.
The sound quality is great, especially for the price, and the headset itself is comfortable and lightweight. When not using the mic it can be swiveled up to an unobtrusive point above the headband where it won’t even be noticed. There are a plethora of buttons on the non-mic cup for fine tuning the sound quality -- everything from volume control to cycling through the presets (there are 9 already present plus a bunch more available for download at the Turtle Beach website). You can even adjust the volume of chat without affecting the volume of the game.
One of the coolest features about the transmitter is the auxiliary input port available. Using this it’s possible to plug in a 3.5mm input to play music or audiobooks or whatever you want while shooting down baddies on the screen, without compromising the audio of the game.
When using with a PC, the headset can be used either wirelessly (via the transmitter) or wired (using a USB Standard-A to USB Mini-B cable). There are a few drawbacks when using this headset with the PC:
- The cable used for charging the headset does not contain data lines and therefore cannot be used for the wired connection with the PC. PS3 owners can use the controller charging cable though.
- While the game volume can be adjusted from the headset, the chat volume cannot.
- The auxiliary input on the transmitter is disabled (of course using iTunes or Songbird accomplishes the same thing).
In short, this headset is great for the budget conscious gamer looking to get the most out of their purchase. Sound quality is good, both in and out, and the multitude of audio presets to choose from along with the wireless capabilities really make this worth the extra $70 compared to the PX21. Setup is relatively painless, even for multiple console owners, and while there is a cable that needs to be moved when changing consoles, that’s not a big enough drawback to really change my feelings towards this headset.