The Turtle Beach Elite Pro range is a clever set of products. It features the headset itself, a Tactical Audio Controller (T.A.C.) and an alternative ‘tournament’ class microphone. There are also a bunch of other accessories to allow greater compatibility with the various consoles. The device officially supports PS4, PC and Xbox One, but you can use it on any device with a 3.5mm jack.
Turtle Beach has taken an interesting approach as they’re allowing gamers dip their toe in the water at a lower price point by purchasing the headset on it’s own, and then expanding on that base to gain further functionality (at an increased cost) if they wish to do so. It also allows hardcore gamers, streamers and e-sports players to go all-in by purchasing the entire set.
This headset also does away with the need for an ‘Xbox only’ or ‘PC and PS4 only’ branded device and I really appreciate the fact that we have a choice here, it’s flexible.
But are this headset and accessories really worth the hype? Will the headset on it’s own be enough to cut it for the casual gamer? Will the serious gamer be happy with the full pack? We’ve taken a look, read on to find out how we got on!
As usual with a Turtle Beach product the packaging is very slick indeed. Your initial instincts tell you that you’ve bought a premium product, it’s very elegant and certainly on par with, if not better than what other high-end manufacturers are offering.
When you eagerly rip open the headset packaging you’re greeted with a nice glossy sheet introducing you to the product, which is topped with a nice black cloth protector.
Underneath the plastic housing you’ll find your cables and setup guide. I found the little package of literature to be extremely clear. The text itself was short and to the point, and the guide clearly separated the various instructions for PC, PlayStation and Xbox. I’m using it with PC and Xbox One so found this useful. This feeling was consistent across the headset and accessories that I tested. A free sticker and Elite Membership are also included in the box.
Everything going well so far!
I lifted the headset out by its headband and the first thing you feel is lovely cold, bare metal in your hand. The Elite Pro is also relatively heavy at 390g, almost equal to a tin of spaghetti (but this isn’t really noticeable when it’s on your head – more on that later). This combination actually gives the headset a premium look and feel. A lightweight, plastic product generally feels cheap in the hand, this on the other hand screams quality.
A ComforTec™ Fit System allows you to adjust sliders to find the perfect fit (and yes, they go all the way to eleven!). I found myself using it on the most loose setting and it does still feel a little tight, but not enough to be uncomfortable, even during long gaming sessions. The stars of the show are the Aerofit™ Ear Cushions, as soon as the cups cover your ears you feel pure comfort, I can’t emphasise this enough – the Elite Pro feels ridiculously cosy on the ears. My ears also stayed cool after extended periods of use.
It doesn’t stop there either, the ProSpecs™ Glasses Relief System allows you to remove the cups and with a few tweaks you can create a small indent in the cushioning to allow space for your glasses to pass through. I wear Gunnar Optiks eyewear while gaming and found this feature useful, it feels like Turtle Beach has listened to feedback from gamers and designed accordingly.
The headset features 50mm Nanoclear™ Speakers and I like the fact that you can see the large drivers through the material. Turtle Beach says they’re designed with eSports in mind and “deliver crisper sound with less distortion and the clearest team chat for a completely immersive audio experience.”.
Both microphones are detachable and highly adjustable which is great, but I did have some trouble with it slipping down.
I’m happy to report that the T.A.C. unit is of similar quality, it’s black housing is topped with a large silver volume knob and various sliders to control things like mic boost and background noise. Every button also has its own set of LED lights which looks great, although I would like if there was some backlit labelling on each slider; if you haven’t memorised what each slider does it’s quite difficult to read in a dim room.
The arrangement of the preset and surround mode buttons were also a little confusing. To operate the headset, you first select a surround mode and then there are a number of audio presets within each mode, however on the device these two buttons are reversed, the presets button is located on the left and the surround mode is on the right which isn’t the most intuitive placement. It’s also impossible to tell which preset you are using unless you’ve memorised them. A small LED screen or some audio feedback in the headset (similar to other Turtle Beach products) would alleviate this. When connected to a PC there also doesn’t seem to be a way to power off the T.A.C. meaning the lights are always on – these are only minor annoyances though.
I think the cables provided by Turtle Beach also deserve a shout out. Every cable included feels high quality and I had a similar experience with my Elite 800X headset. Overall the Elite Pro feels like a well designed headset and I’d even go as far as to say it beats my Elite 800X hands down in terms of build quality. I had a few minor gripes with the T.A.C. – but overall I’m very happy with that too.
Setup on PC and Xbox One was a breeze. By following the included guide, I was ready to go within 15 minutes. I did return to the manual to check the T.A.C. presets once or twice, but you do memorise your favourites fairly quickly. I didn’t have a chance to test on PS4 but I’d imagine it’s a similar story there.
The headset sounds great. I was expecting something bass-heavy with slightly muddy sound but it’s much more balanced that that. I listened to ‘Camp’ by Childish Gambino, ‘Pure Morning’ by Placebo and ’The Blower’s Daughter’ by Damien Rice. The bass was punchy, mid range was defined and top end was sharp – balance was very good overall. It’s more than I expected and comfortably beats the Microsoft stereo headset. I also firmly believe the sound quality is superior to my more expensive Elite 800X – but it’s also important to remember that has the convenience of being wireless, which may negatively affect its overall sound quality.
The microphone holds it’s own without being outstanding, but that’s not much of a surprise given you can pick up the Elite Pro Tournament Noise-cancelling Microphone for a few quid more. I was really happy with this add-on and would definitely recommend picking one up. It sounds slightly clearer than the standard mic and prevents popping. It must be noted that the tournament mic requires the T.A.C. unit – I was able to use it on both PC (left channel only) and Xbox One without it, however according to the packaging this is not officially supported and I believe you will not be able to use the noise-filtering features without the T.A.C. As mentioned previously, I also found it started to slip downward once positioned after a couple of weeks use, which is frustrating.
The T.A.C. expands the headset by offering DTS virtual surround processing, volume control, mute and various filtering options for the microphone. It’s convenient having these features right there on your desk. You can mix the volume level of the game/chat sound, enable mic monitoring and more.
For music you’ll want to disable DTS surround and stick with the ‘surround off’ option, I’d recommend the ‘bass and treble booster’ preset as this offers the most well-rounded performance. For gaming or movies, you can switch over to one of the DTS settings, but I’m not overly sold on those as it can saturate the sound stage with bass in some cases.
The back of the unit features a whole array of ports; you can even link it to other TACs via Ethernet which creates a local network for lag-free communication. Turtle Beach is clearly keeping eSports competitors in mind too.
Everything sounded fantastic while playing Battlefield 1, I could hear the footsteps of enemies around me, deep explosions and shrill shouts for help in the distance, which made the whole experience very immersive. I had no discernible lag or hiccups in performance and was very pleased by what the headset, T.A.C. and tournament mic produced in terms of sound.
The headset will set you back €199 and is worth every penny. The extras really depend on your budget and enthusiasm for gaming, but I think they’re all fantastic additions. The cost of the T.A.C. is a little hard to swallow as it equals that of the headset, however it’s definitely made my life easier and I had a smile on my face more than once as I was able to quickly balance the sound of my party chat and game audio as well as other settings, all on the fly. The standard mic is more than capable but the tournament mic will certainly benefit the Twitch streamers and eSports players out there – it would be nice if you could use it without the T.A.C. though.
I highly rate this headset and its accessories. Having owned the Elite 800X I didn’t think I could go back to a wired headset, but with the Elite Pro you forget about all that. It’s very comfortable, performs exceptionally and the accessories offer an additional layer of satisfaction.
The presentation and build quality of the device are premium. Many products aimed at gamers have a cheap, tacky appearance but this feels like a cut above the rest, which was a nice surprise. Managing the various presets can be a little frustrating and convoluted, but once you get to grips with those and find your favourite settings it’s a joy to use.
If you would like a top of the line headset that’s good enough for the pros then I’d highly recommend this. Budget is also important to take into consideration and the total price may put some off, but Turtle Beach has in part addressed this by offering the standalone headset without any accessories. Pick it up and see what you think, if you love it then pick up the accessories later! I’d rate the Turtle Beach Elite Pro headset highly on it’s own, but when combined with the accessories it really shined and surpassed my expectations.