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Old 28th December 2010, 05:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Review: Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21



PROS

  • Good Sound Quality
  • Compatible with PS3, XBOX 360 and PC
  • Voice communication and games sounds combined and balanced
  • Light weight

CONS

  • Requires USB power to operate, even if you want to use the headphones alone.
  • Wired only which may limit some usage

A while back I remember Ancient One asking about a way to combine game sounds and voice communications through the one headset for his PS3.

The Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21 has been designed with this need in mind.

Looking at the below diagrams you can see how the device can be used on your PC, PS3 and XBOX. (Although using the stereo extension cables would be more trouble than they are worth IMHO, you are better just plugging the headphones plug into an amp or TV headphone jack direct.)

Note: The Headset cord is a lot longer than the diagram suggests.



These setups show one of the limitations of this unit ... the cords.

While the cord on the headphones is very long, there are some gaming setups where this unit would not be practical.

In my computer room, where I run my PC, PS3 and XBOX on the same desk and all through my Logitech speakers the PX21's work great.

I just plug the headphone jack into the speaker control box and then plub the USB into the PS3, or XBOX or PC depending on what device I am using at the time. (Note: I still need to use a USB extension cord to achieve this, but I have no need to use the stereo extension cables shown in the console diagrams above).

This headset how ever would need a USB extension cable and a headphone extension cable in my theater room to reach the console of choice and my amp.


You will notice in the XBOX set up that you require an extra cable to connect your controller to the XBOX Output jack. Thankfully the cable comes in the packet ... but it is another cable to deal with while playing. While not annoying, it is another opportunity for a wire to get snagged on something. )


The sound quality is great and it does give a virtual surround sound experience. What really impressed me was the way the unit balances voice coms and game sounds. Chat volume varies automatically depending on the level of and quantity of game sounds coming through. So if you are in a fire fight and bombs are going off, the PX21 will automatically increase the volume of the chat level so that you can hear both clearly.

Another thing that impressed me was the improved clarity the unit gives my voice over XBOX live (not yet tested this unit on PS3 chat ... will let you know).

I was chatting to a friend over XBOX live and he noted how clear my voice was coming through. No gaps, pauses, drop outs or pops either. He told me that it was a huge improvement over how the official XBOX headset sounded.

The mic stork is long enough to have the mic sit in front of your mouth. When I tested the mic levels on the PS3, I noticed that it picked up my voice clearer than the Logitech set I usually use and for the first time ever my ceiling fan was not being picked up. This means I am not going to have to mute my mike all the time .. Happy days!

The headset is light and very comfortable. I also realized after 45min of use that my ears were not getting hot like they do when I use my old Logitech set.

All in all I am very impressed with this unit. The price is on the steep side at a RRP of $119 AUS (I got mine on sale for $95) but I would recommend them to console and PC users alike even at full RRP (but I would confirm that long cords are not an issue )

If you are looking for a way to combine gaming sound effects and voice coms into a headset so as to not make the wife (or husband) "con red" than you will love the Earforce PX21.
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Old 28th December 2010, 08:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Very nice write up and a nice headset. Would be a good addition to my gaming.
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Old 28th December 2010, 10:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancient_One View Post
Very nice write up and a nice headset. Would be a good addition to my gaming.
Me too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pure Mongrel View Post
Note: The Headset cord is a lot longer than the diagram suggests.
<snip>
All in all I am very impressed with this unit. The price is on the steep side at a RRP of $119 AUS (I got mine on sale for $95) but I would recommend them to console and PC users alike even at full RRP (but I would confirm that long cords are not an issue )
I came up with an intricate concoction of USB adaptors and a hifi amp that I use for gaming - but this would simplify the solution somewhat.
PM, may I ask Where you bought yours?

+1 for the review - if I wasn't already blue-dot-maxxed
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Old 29th December 2010, 12:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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GAME
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Old 29th December 2010, 05:29 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Nice review PM! I thought I'd add some of my thoughts about gaming headsets while we're on the subject.

I checked into these a while ago but decided to go with the X31's mainly for their wireless capabilities. I tried to talk my wife into the X41's but $100 extra for the 7.1 surround was not convincing enough for her (and to be honest, my hearing's shot anyway).

I bought these for use with Xbox, but after using them for a bit I wanted to find a way to use them with my PS3.

On the Xbox, the X31's perform beautifully. Like PM said, integrated sound/comms plus virtual surround (that does help in FPS games for sure) is excellent. It has a separate volume control for the comms so I never have a problem with hearing squad-mates over game sounds. The wireless (if you don't count the wire to the control for comms) is very liberating, and works nice for late night gaming/netflix watching without bothering my wife (aside from the occasional swearing ).

For the PS3, I've been on the search for good quality comms for a while. I started with the standard PS3 bluetooth, which I didn't like because of their monaural nature (like I said before, my hearing's shot). I moved on to a set of Nokia USA - Nokia Bluetooth Stereo Headset BH-503 which I really love. The sound quality is excellent and them being stereo really helps me hear what's being said. The problem with them is that you don't get the integrated sound and you can get that annoying echo/delay from it picking up the TV sound and then hearing it transmitted back to you over your friend's TV.

Once I found a way to use the X31's with the PS3, I haven't looked back. While it may not be the most elegant (although no less elegant than the PX21) or cheapest solution, I find it works very well for me. Basically, Turtle Beach has a separate USB soundcard called the Amigo II (which also works quite well for PC/Notebooks) that allows you to use the comms portion of the headset with your PS3 PS3/PC Chat Adapter Cable / AMIGO II, BUN The sound quality is quite good and the comms sound excellent. The wired portion is pretty generous too (approx 16 feet long I think). Just like the PX21's this can cause some issues with certain gaming setups, but in general, I found it to be pretty flexible.

So, when I don't want to disturb everyone in the house, I use the X31's with my PS3 wirelessly, and just hook up the sound card when I need to use the comms.

BTW, to anyone considering Turtle Beaches with the Xbox, be forewarned that if you use the HDMI out (at least on the older Xboxes, not sure about the slim) it can interfere with the RCA pass through (physically it won't fit both) requiring ANOTHER adapter from Microsoft. Beauty design, and nice how they don't show THAT in the setup pictures....
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Old 29th December 2010, 09:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I also just got a set of these a couple of days ago. Loving them and very keen to try the voice online. Shame I wont be online for another 3 weeks
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Old 29th December 2010, 10:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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for anyone looking at the X41's, amazon.com had them down as low as $149usd + shipping last week, worked out about $180aud landed in aus, back up to $169 again this week
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Old 30th December 2010, 11:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just ordered a set of the X21's and the 7.1 adapter from Amazon for Viper. All up landed it cost just under $200 and should be here by January 4.
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Old 1st January 2011, 08:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
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sweet, i`m going to order the 7.1 adapter soon aswell
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