Category Archives: Gaming Gear reviews

This section is devoted to reviews of all the latest game periphials

Review:Tritton Detonator Gaming Headset

Before I start this review I want to give you some background on myself as far as my audio experience goes. I started my professional career at an early age back in 1991 working at a local stereo shop. I then spent the next 9 years of my life selling stereos and Tv’s at a variety of different companies; increasing my knowledge base as I went. I was exposed to many different products and technology and even continued to follow the industry for several years afterwards. My ability to assess quality levels in audio and video product stays with me to this day.

Having said that I also am cursed with being a picky consumer when it comes to things like video displays and audio equipment and now extending into my purchase of gaming gear ; so when my trusty Turtle Beach X12’s malfunctioned on me I was forced to march into the local vendor of all things gaming and replace them.

Enter the Tritton Detonators.

I’ll start by sating that this headset is very sexy. The entire design is a smooth and clean design with a minimal but effective use of color. A matt black band is used to secure two Glossy finished ear cups. The interior fabric of the enclosures are ” Tritton Orange” and the exterior of the cups are embossed with the Tritton logo in silver. The entire package is very eye-catching. This headset is also officially endorsed by Microsoft themselves even to the point of them slapping an official branding label on the box and engraving it into the Tritton’s headband for all to see . While doing nothing for the quality of the headset overall , knowing that MS approves it gives you a little feeling of comfort that you havent wasted your hard-earned dollar on a second-rate product.

Setting up the Tritton Detonator’s are a snap as well and if your like me you wont even look at the manual ( who in the heck reads a book on how to plug-in a set of headphones!?!??!). After diving in and selecting the appropriate cables to use I had them installed and ready to use.
They come with a few two different ways to install depending on your configuration of TV/Monitor and audio system. The standard way of hooking them up is to plug the two audio cables directly into the back of your television set’s audio outputs ( the red and white plugs on the back of your TV).

included cables cover all the bases for installation

Depending on your configuration you may need the included adaptor that allows you to plug the Tritton’s into your Xbox directly for sound. This is especially welcome if like me you use HDMI out of your XBOX into a display that does not have the aforementioned audio outputs. In my case I use a HD monitor with only a 3.5mm audio output so the included adaptor was a welcome addition.Brownie points for Tritton!
The connection cable itself is 14 feet long so no one should have any problem hooking them up regardless of your distance from your equipment.

Next was the comfort test. The biggest concern I had was the change in cup fabric from the Turtle beach series. I had grown used to the cloth mesh used in most of the newer designs from Turtle Beach and was curious to see how my ears would react to the vinyl material Tritton used for the Detonators.

As it turns out the material serves to keep your ears enclosed which enables the 50mm drivers inside the cup to deliver crisp clean bass frequencies; something that the X12’s struggled with. It also creates a barrier for outside noises when you are gaming ( both good and bad if you have people trying to talk to you while  you are in the middle of a game)
The headset was comfortable over the course of a 2 hour gaming session and became transparent as they thundered away on my head.

Now  here comes the real reason you are reading this review. How do these babies sound? I did not tread lightly here I can tell you that. I will say this…You will not be disappointed in any way!
The Detonators produce a clear sound through all frequency ranges all the way from the thunderous booms of an A-1 Abrams tank pounding shells into your cover in Battlefield 3 right up to the all to familiar sounds of transforming robots and whirring servo parts in Transformers: War for Cybertron; these babies handle it all!

At the core of this technology are some very well designed speakers that are capable of handling anything a game throws at it. I was very pleased with the fact that I didn’t need to fiddle with a bass adjuster to have a tuned sound quality. The Trittons settings have been internally tested and fine tuned to a happy level. High volume levels result in an overwhelming experience without cracking under pressure and giving off minor speaker clipping that other low-level models are prone to do ( I do not recommend listening to games at maximum volume for long periods as it will probably result in brain damage )

Voice quality is solid and no one in my party complained that they couldn’t hear me or that my voice wasnt coming through in a crisp manner. Rather than a standard permanently attached mic boom the Trittons have a detachable boom that allows for better placement and less distraction in front of your face.

I did have to take some time fine tuning the chat volume in comparison to the game volume because at times the in-game effects and soundtrack overpowered my team mates talking . With a little experimenting you will find the sweet spot and this no longer becomes a problem. Just remember that the sound quality on these headsets are very robust and the game effect will come alive so well that your friends bickering will take a back seat to it.

The coolest feature of the Detonators is that it is equipped with a ” control dongle” that allows for some minor customization of your experience. This dongle has buttons for ” Audio Mute” , ” Chat Mute” and ” Selectable Voice Monitoring”
I found the ” complete audio mute”  button came in handy when you needed to quickly turn the volume down of off because someone was trying to talk to you out of game rather than fumbling with your wires trying to turn one of 2 sliders down to acceptable levels.Likewise handy is the “Chat Mute” button.

Of particular note is the ” SVM” button. This is something that I thought was genius! Essentially it allows you to hear your own voice with a touch of a button so that you can monitor how loud you are speaking once the bullets and sound effects start flying inside your head. This saves you some embarrassment from onlookers while your screaming your head off because you can’t tell how loud your voice is. The fact that this is accomplished through an on device button is outstanding. The turtle beach headsets tackle this issue by using a fabric that allows the wearer to hear outside the enclosure but this design also compromises the headsets ability to deliver a solid bass frequency( hence the inclusion of a Bass Boost slider on the X12’s).

The Tritton Detonator headset retails for $89.99 at most retailers and while not delivering the EPIC level of sound that a $200 gaming headset pumps out it is far from an entry-level product . In a world where opinions of gaming gear reigns supreme you are bound to get some naysayers out there all of which are telling you to endorse their chosen headset because “it’s the best” ; stand firm in your choice and know that you will not go wrong with the Tritton Detonators strapped to your head.

Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash

 

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Product Review: One PRO deserves another

This one has been a long time coming. I have had my Tritton PRO+ gaming headset for over a year now and it was a gift/review product from none other than Tritton themselves. Perhaps timing was to blame but it has taken me this long to get around to putting fingers to keys and pound out my thoughts about this amazing gaming headset.

Gaming headsets have become increasingly the norm these days, yet I can remember when I was launching EVO Games LAN center and I couldnt find a pair of Turtle Beach headsets in store to save my life ( the now extinct TB X1’s). I guess they just hadn’t hit mainstream enough to find them sitting in Wal-Mart on a shelf

In the years that followed I managed to stay ahead of the mid level curve by outfitting all of our stations with each yearly successor that Turtle Beach rolled out. Mid level headsets get the job done and serve to keep your explosions and bullet fire contained within your cranium but they don’t really throw you into the game like a top-tier gaming headset does.

That all changed when I strapped my PRO+ Dolby Digital surround sound headset on!

If you have read my previous review on the Tritton Detonnators and Turtle Beach X12’s you know my background from an acoustic point of view so I wont stand on my soapbox and tell you how qualified I am to grade audio products. What I will tell you is that this gaming headset deserves to be in your home strapped on your head every time you play !

In the Box: Lets start with unboxing. The PRO+ is a big box fulled with a lot of tech; and if you don’t read the instructions you may find yourself hooking them up wrong.  Take time to get acquainted with each cord and part and know what to do with them. Tritton was nice enough to include everything you could possible need in the box so you wont be heading out to your local audio shop looking for little widgets etc.

The brains of the operation is the Mix amp . This little white box is the brains of your Headset and will also be the hub that has all your various cables interconnected to. It requires a dedicated power source and should remain close to you in case you need to make any on the fly adjustments while your gaming. YOur surround channel volume as well as master volume is toggled here.

Build Quality:The actual headset itself is beautifully crafted and has a very weighty feel. The design  looks carved and intentional rather than assembled from left over plastic ruminants like some lower grade headsets. Pin striping and glowing ” Double T” Tritton logos round out the simply delicious looking headset. The cups are solid and fit ever so comfy on your head; even after extended play sessions. You are literally isolated inside your oasis of sound.1_big

One cool feature I liked was the ability to ” cradle” the headset around your neck with the cups turning face down against your chest.I have a problem where after a few sessions my ears get sweaty and itchy; so taking breaks with the headset off my head has been a necessity. Using the PRO’s in a ” cradle position allows me to take a break while still hearing the audio as the rest around my neck .
As is the norm with Tritton these days it seems ; is the detachable boom mic. I actually like this feature a lot. sometimes I am gaming without talking to anyone and having a nice paid of headphones without a distracting mic in front of my mouth is a little perk.

The dongle on the PRO’s have a full suite of controls for gamers. You can toggle and adjust master volume as well as individual channels ( front, rear, center, and sub woofer). As s with all headsets now is the feature of being able to toggle your ability to hear your own voice during chat. As silly as this sounds it actually helps gauge your speaking volume and keeps your team mates on your good side.proplusremote

Turning your mic off as well as simply muting the entire headset is all at the flick of a switch on the dingle. The only thing that to this day eludes me is how to clip the dongle onto your shirt or otherwise while your gaming so I’m not reaching for it as needed.

Sound Quality:  Depending on your experience with audio equipment and headphone in particular you may or may not see value with a Top line Surround sound gaming headset and that’s okay! Not everyone’s ears can appreciate the nuances of surround sound and the benefits that Dolby Digital in particular adds.

Let me fill in some knowledge gaps as it pertains to Dolby and the term “Digital”. Dolby introduced Dolby Digital back in 1994-95 and it heralded in a new generation of audio product, ranging from amplifiers to DVD players and even computer sound cards. It was a call to arms for marketing department around the world and pretty much guaranteed that people would stand up and take notice if your product bore the logo.

I remember seeing my first Dolby Digital Movie in the theaters ( Waterworld with Kevin Costner) and leaving  going WOW!

Here’s how Dolby Digital works. The sound ” author” ; in this case the game designer digitally steers the sound of his game to specific channels for optimum effect. The channels are front ( left and right) , rear ( left and right), center, and a dedicated subwoofer  channel. This varies from the old school PRO logic system in that the rear channels are in stereo and the sub woofer exists in its own distinct channel creating a cleaner more solid bass track. This is also known as Dolby 5.1  for the 5 channels of sound .

The PRO+ accomplishes this by using multiple drivers embedded in each ears sound cup; 4 to be precise. This creates the effect of a larger environment and sound effects that travel from from to back and all around you as though you where standing in a home theater. Imagine strapping a high-end home theater to your head and playing video games through it…you wouldn’t be far off.

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Most of my play testing has been with shooters and adventure games but those types of games have some of the best spatial sound fields of any game.
Battlefeild 4 comes alive like nothing you have experienced. When I am walking in the confines of a hallway or a building you can lightly hear the echoes of my footsteps as I walk. Bullets fly by my head and make me duck and I hear crickets and livestock chirping away all around me on some maps! The extent of how the PRO+ handles surround sound needs to be heard….and then experienced.

Music is another benchmark and not something a gamer really pays attention to. I happen to love VEVO and music videos in general. I can happily say that when dealing with a pure musical audio source the Trittons don’t let you down. Plating video games with a chaotic sound mix and in consistent tones and sounds makes it hard to appreciate the headsets range but when you fire up some smooth jazz or some powerful vocals from Adelle; well lets just say that you may never want to take the Pro+ off your head!
Bass notes are tight and crisp without any warble or fluttering from the drivers . There is never a moment in game or in song where you feel the force of the bass note is outpacing the drivers ability to render the sound in perfect form.

Vocals and high range fair just as well with notes coming in clean and without any scratchiness that accompanies speakers not able to cover the frequency range.

reviewing gaming headsets are such a difficult job. On one hand you need to appreciate that not everyone has the same preferences and auditory range to experience the headphones in the same way you have. Everyone also is swayed by the powerful marketing machine that all the company’s put out there ( Turtle Beach, Razer, Astros etc..) and at the end of the day all of these headsets are light years ahead of your TV speakers.

So how do you read a review and then take the plunge and sink $200+ into a pair of high-end gaming headphones based on a single persons opinion?

Well in the case of the Tritton PRO+ 5.1 surround headset…you just do!

External Links: http://trittonaudio.com/

Dwayne” EVO Knight” Morash

Turtle Beach x12 Gaming Headset review

“Ah Turtle Beach how I love you; let me count the ways..”

This is the feeling I have everytime I slip on a new Gaming headset from this New York based company. I have been using Turtle Beach gaming headsets for almost 3 years now and specifically have been using the X1,X11 and now the X12 headsets.
These headsets occupy the entry-level point in the company’s line up and I have targeted them specifically for the fact that they are wired and have a fabulous price point.

The X12 headset is based on its predecessor the X11 and pretty much is a carbon copy of that headset save for a few noticeable improvements.

The X11 had a very good range of sound most notable was its High frequency spectrum. The clarity that came with the X11 headsets was a noticeable improvement over the last version in the series . Talking and all the fidelity of the source was downright amazing for a headset of this price ( $59.99 at retail) but it was lacking the “punch” of some of the more expensive headsets. Keeping in mind that video game content ranges from symphonic musical scores to thunderous expolosions its important to have the best of both worlds in a gaming headset.

The X12 delivers on both! The newly designed ” cups” have been modified to provide a slightly deeper enclosure( the space between your ear and the speaker in the headset)  which gives its ability to deliver bass and have kept the high range fidelity and crystal clear sound of the X11’s.
Explosions sound awesome and conversations with your squad mates no longer sound muffled like the early generation headsets that sacrificed bass for clarity.
The headset also features a ” Bass Boost” on the standard dongle that adjusts your game and chat volume. This headset is the complete package at its level!

The cherry on  the top of this beautiful gaming assecorie cake is the new aesthetics. Turtle Beach have finally done away with their white and grey/black color scheme and adopted the Black and Green of the XBOX early days. The headset “cups” are black with green trimming and are super comfy. The whole package comes together nicely and I can’t think of any one aspect of this headset that I am unhappy about.

If you aren’t wanting to spend close to a hundred dollars to find an amazing sounding gaming headset the look no further; the Turtle Beach X12 are your best investment.

UPDATE: Keep an eye on your local box stores as I have already spotted this headset being sold for $39.95 in select locations over the holidays.

Review written by: Dwayne “EVO Knight” Morash

Razer Onza Tournament controller review

The XBOX 360 has no shortage of 3rd party game controllers and while several companies have released there own version of the Microsoft standard controller very few have maintained the overall quality level that Microsoft has adhered to.

Welcome to the Onza Razer. The latest in a well-rounded peripheral line up from the Razer Company based in ……USA. Razer typically has focused on PC gaming assecories but with this offering has thrown their hat into the console arena.

The Onza is a well built and rugged wired controller. Right off the bat you will notice that the cable is approx 24 feet long with a braided housing versus the typical rubber sealed cable.This ensures that your cable wont get accidentally eaten by small animals that you may have sharing your gaming space with ( I have heard many horror stories about little feline friends taking interest in gaming cables)

As far as the layout and configuration goes it sticks close to the standard MS wired controller with a  few additions and improvements.
The left and right thumbsticks now has tension adjusters that allow a gamer to literaly ” dial” down to a resistance level that suits their needs based on  the game they are playing.The thumbsticks themselves have notched dials attached the underside that make it quick and easy to adjust the resistance for each. This combined with the in-game sensitivity slider can really fine tune the experience.

The Razer Onza comes equipped with an extra set of bumper buttons. These buttons can be programmed to function as a face button ( A,B,X,Y) in addition to the existing ones. If reloading with a  bumper button is your thing and your game doesn’t allow for that configuration in the game menu; well you can make it happen with the Onza. The default setting of the extra bumpers is a double up of the existing primary bumpers so you wont have to worry about accidentally clicking the wrong bumper in the heat of combat.

The final and in  his reviewers opinion the best reason to own this controller are the backlit ” Hyper response action buttons”. Put simply these are the face buttons you know ( A,B,X,Y) rebuilt in a far superior manner.These buttons now have a quicker response time and come close to being full touch buttons with next to no travel distance. You lightly touch each button and it registers with the same response as a standard controller. I have actually improved my ability in FPS games due to this and no longer worry about ” sticky” buttons The fact that they are backlit and glow in a dark room is just icing on the cake.

Some negatives that affect initial usability of the controller are the rubber thumbsticks and the L and R triggers. The Thumbsticks  do not have the traditional  ” nubbies” on them which helped with grip. Instead the Onza has softer more ” tacky” rubber thumbsticks and while this at first an improvement the downside is that eventually you will get a case of ” sweaty thumbs” and your grip will diminish.Occasionally wiping them off will help with  this though.

The Left and Right triggers are also designed differently than  the standard MS controller. In this case they are more curved and have a longer arc to them. It will take some getting used to at first but eventually you will adapt. I did find that my fingers slipped off them every once in a while but again that is most likely part of the “getting used” to phase

Overall  everything about the Onza comes together in a very nice package that is well worth the $49.95 you will pay for it.I wish I could say that it is an easy choice over the standard Microsoft controller but you pretty much need to get your hands on one before you can make that call.