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E3 2005: Turtle Beach Surround Sound Headphones
game: E3 2005: Turtle Beach Surround Sound Headphones
posted by: Shawn Rider
publisher: Turtle Beach
date posted: 12:00 AM Thu May 19th, 2005
last revision: 12:00 AM Thu May 19th, 2005

Turtle Beach is one of the original names in computer audio. The inventor of the 16 bit audio card, the Turtle Beach Montego card has been a mainstay for PC audiophiles and musicians for over a decade. Audio cards have become very advanced in recent years, and as Turtle Beach expands into other areas of audio hardware, it only makes sense that they would bring the same level of quality for which they are known to the table.

The Ear Force Surround Sound Headphones line brings Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound to your personal audio space. On the PC end, there are two models of headphone. The X-51 headphones are the low end, with an MSRP of $79.95. These headphones sport four speakers in each ear, providing discreet audio for rear, front, center and subwoofer channels. Included in the box are adapters to connect the headphones to standard stereo outputs, just in case you haven't yet upgraded to a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound card, as well as a snap-on microphone for internet chat or voice recognition. With a snazzy folding design, the X-51 headphones are perfect for LAN-bashes and dual-duty as portable music headphones.

The high end of the PC line is held down by the HPA headphones (MSRP $99.95), which feature the same snap-on microphone and the same front, center and rear speakers in each ear. The major difference is a subwoofer with flapper, which provides some serious kick to your eardrum. These things really, really bump. An enhanced design insures comfort and longtime wearability, which is crucial in those marathon gaming sessions. And just to put the icing on the cake, the HPA headphones come with an inline volume control and dedicated amplifier, just to make sure you can game as loud as you want to.

For console gamers, Turtle Beach provides the AXT and the DXT models. The AXT headphones (MSRP $79.95) are snazzy and comfy, and feature the same basic characteristics as the X-51 except for the folding design. The AXT also sports an extra attachment which allows you to plug the headset directly into the Xbox Live dongle for Xbox Live voice chat. These things are a pleasure to wear, cancel external noise almost completely (even in a crowded E3 hall), and, of course, bump like bad boys.

The DXT (MSRP $149.95) are the crown jewel of console gaming headphones. These headphones feature the subwoofer plus flapper design of the HPA headphones, making them some serious headbangers, but also include an extra Dolby Digital and Pro Logic decoder box which allows users to take advantage of the low cost of 5.1 PC gaming speakers. Most home theater speaker sets cost upwards of $150, while PC speakers of similar quality often sell for less than half that. The DXT decoder box allows users to connect speakers of any type to their consoles, and negate the need for an expensive Dolby Digital receiver.

All of these headphones include adapters that allow users to connect headphones and speakers to the computer at the same time, offering convenient switching of sound output without having to fiddle with the connections on your machines.

Look for the whole line of headphones to roll out this summer and fall. These are sure to become preferred headphones for many gamers, offering amazing sound quality and functions in a package that is much less than equivalent headphones from other manufacturers. We were able to demo these headphones in both Doom 3 and Burnout 2, and we are happy to report that both games took on a whole new level of depth and immersion thanks to these stellar headphones.