Turtle Beach – Upcoming Product Showcase
At E3, myself and Gari got a chance to take a look at some of Turtle Beach’s current and upcoming products, and I think it’s fair to say we both came away pretty impressed with their slate!
ELITE PRO HEADSET
The crowning jewel of Turtle Beach’s lineup right now is a “tournament grade” headset that they say will remain extremely comfortable for long periods of time – something that sounded highly appealing to me, particularly given the length of time we sit with our headsets on! One particular thing that sounded interesting for me is the new “ComforTec” system, and the “ProSpecs” glasses relief system. A flick of a switch will open up a channel in the ear cup, allowing the arm of your glasses to sit nicely inside without putting too much pressure on them. It’s a problem that’s occurred for myself and a few others who wear glasses, I know, so this is a welcome addition to the product.
Alongside the Elite Pro is the Elite Pro Tournament Audio Controller (or TAC). This is Turtle Beach’s answer to the massively popular Astro Mix Amp, and this is quite possibly the product that got me most excited during our time in the booth. You see, for the longest time I used a headset with an optical input. This meant that whenever I recorded or streamed video, it meant I could use the optical port for my headset, and the audio would be simultaneously pushed out to the capture card using HDMI. When I changed my headset over, however, I started using one without an external amp, and as such I now take the audio from the Dual Shock 4 controller. The result, annoyingly, is that the audio cuts out from the HDMI feed, meaning an unsightly mess of cables is left behind if I want to record my gaming, and it’s a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I’ve had my eye on the Astro Mix Amp for a while, but I’ve always had a bit of a fondness for Turtle Beach and their products ever since I got my hands on a PX21 headset back in the day, so I’m really excited to see what this offers. It’s got a bunch of features to tailor your experience in all kinds of ways, so we’ll try and get a full review to you guys!
STEALTH 350VR HEADSET
Another headset, but this time it’s focused primarily around the VR market. After playing with an HTC Vive for a while (more on that coming soon!) The one thing I found was that the headset solution isn’t 100% ideal. Tucked into the box is a set of earbuds, which aren’t great, but the instant you use your own headset it can feel a bit heavy, and can also have a huge trailing cable.
The rep was a little surprised at how many people had asked about cable length, but it’s something that’s being taken into consideration, as it’s clearly more than a simple aesthetic choice for users. The Stealth 350VR will have on-ear volume controls and detachable cables to ensure that it’s not only comfortable but functional, and the headband even has a gap in it to allow the Vive’s cables to easily sit underneath without putting any undue pressure on them.
The Stream Mic is a USB microphone that will plug into your console using USB, and provide a dedicated microphone used for streaming directly from your console. This looks like a great product, and I’m looking forward to getting to use it. It feels weighty and has a nice hefty diaphragm inside it, which should make for good quality audio capture.
The stream mic will allow you to plug your headphones into it to not only hear your game audio, but also monitor your chat, which will hopefully mean that you can have a great quality audio output to any streams you may be doing, as well as getting the best audio to your ears.
More of an experimental tech, the Hypersound demo was very, very cool. Essentially a pane of glass, what hypersound does is deliver audio to your ears without making everyone else hear it. It does this in a way similar to the method used to deliver radio waves. It “wraps” the sound up in an ultrasonic wave, which won’t actually deliver sound until it’s broken. It’s difficult to describe, but the end result is that you can be in a room that is near-silent to everyone else, but you can hear everything that’s going on on the TV. The best way to describe it is a bit like the difference between a massive light bulb and a torch. The torch directs light in the same way Hypersound directs audio.
This technology is already being used in medical fields for people with hearing loss, and I must say it’s really impressive. There’s probably a bit of a way to go before it becomes mainstream consumer technology (There’s something slightly unsettling at first) but once it’s refined, this could be a game changer in how people listen to audio. It’s mainly for the mid-range to high frequencies though, so don’t expect chest thumping bass from these! They will work in conjunction with your main speakers though, so if you’re getting complaints from the neighbours, this might well be your solution in the future!