Over the past couple of weeks I have had the pleasure of testing out the new X-Tatic Digital Headset by Sharkoon. This is a gaming headset that provides full Dolby 5.1 surround sound straight from your PS3 or Xbox 360 console right to your hungry little ear holes. I rather liked the headset despite its large size and immense amount of wiring that comes with it. So to kick off the review, let’s start talking about hardware.
The X-Tatic Digital Headset puts out 5.1 surround sound from 8 speakers (4 in each earpiece). It comes accompanied by an amp box, which is self-illuminated for multi-channel volume control. It has a digital, in-line volume control, and comes with a detachable microphone with QuickOn connection. The headset is quite large, and the 360 cm cable length is tipping the charts as well.
The whole rig plugs into your console itself, so that all of the sound is funneled straight to your ears. Just as an FYI, though, the headset is compatible with your PC, DVD player, or any other HiFi device you may have. The headset is built to deliver perfect high-quality sound to players, and is geared toward providing the most realistic gaming experience.
Now on to the quality review.
The earpieces on the headset wrap around your entire ear, so much of the outside noise is canceled out. I constantly found myself being heckled by others at the office because I couldn’t hear them speaking to me, right next to my desk. The sound quality is magnificent. I heard every gunshot, every scream, every rotation of the tire, all the way down to every piece of dirt that hit the battlefield. This headset really is geared toward putting you right in the driver seat. With the surround sound compatibility I heard everything around me. I literally felt as if I were right there in the game itself.
Since the headset is also compatible with the chat functions of the PS3 and Xbox 360, I was also able to hear the voices of my comrades when in battle. The voices came from the center channel, so they were always clear and concise. At times I did need to turn the center channel up so that I could hear my friends online over the sounds of the game, but it wasn’t enough to be annoying.
The rig is wired up through a 5.1 control box that you have to plug into the console and into the wall for power. On the right side of the box, as shown above, are control buttons for power and volume. These buttons are also illuminated so you can see them in the dark. In order to turn the rig on you will need to ensure that the power button on the control box is pressed. In my glorious ignorance I forgot to make sure of this when I first plugged everything in so I, of course, thought it wasn’t working.
You will need to make sure that the settings on your console are set for digital output for sound. Once the settings are correct, and you have the rig set up correctly you’re good to go. The setup, although physically a bit stressing, is surprisingly simple. The package does include a user manual, so there isn’t much cause for worry.
The only real problems I ran into with the headset were that the dialogue for a couple games was a bit static, and the headset continuously made my ears hot. While playing Killzone 2 on the PS3, some of the dialogue was cut out due to the surround sound. I remedied this, however, by turning up the center channel. Since the headset has a box along the main wiring that allows you to choose the volume for each channel, this was not an issue for very long. The more I wore the headset, the more my ears continued to get hot. The earpieces are lined with a sort of suede that is comfortable, yet it keeps you toasty. I don’t know about you all, but when I game, I game hard. So the longer I played, the hotter I became. I had to take the headphones off for a break quite often, but as every gamer knows, frequent breaks are always good, so this sort of weighed out.
Overall I rather enjoyed this headset. It took my gaming to another level, which was exceptionally nice. The Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital Headset is a perfect gaming accessory for any hardcore gamer, and for any of those who want to make their gaming experience more in-depth. If you want to pick up a pair of these badboys for yourself, it will run you about $159.99. For that price this is what you get in the package:
- X-Tatic Digital 5.1 headset
- Cable adapter (9-pin analogue plug > 3 x 3.5 mm
- X-Tatic Sound Control Unit
- USB microphone cable for PS3 and PC
- Power adapter
- Microphone connection cable for Xbox 360 (2.5 mm jack > 2.5 mm jack)
- Optical connection cable (S/PDIF)
- Manual (11 languages)
I would definitely recommend this headset to any gamer who wants to experience the most out of his/her gaming sessions. For more information you can head on over to the Sharkoon website. For now, I gotta put these back on and get back to my game!