In case you haven’t heard, this time around Microsoft is being a little bit more understanding with regards to non-OEM headset users. As per this story from ITworld, a specialized headset adapter is being rolled out in March (2014) which allows a person to use whatever audio hardware they might already have. In other words, if you’re mad because you haven’t been able to use your Xbox 360 headset, after purchasing the $25 adapter you will finally be able to do so.
Having said that, this essentially means that you can use any pair of headphones that you wish to implement, but what specific models are headed our way? Perhaps a better solution for some people might be to simply purchase an entirely new unit, sparing themselves the agony of poor audio performane and applying it directly toward a new premium headset. If this sounds like your favored plan of action, consider the following choices…
The Turtle Beach namesake has long since been known as a supplier of audio accessories for gaming consoles, and with the Ear Force XO Seven they have taken things to a whole new level. These puppies not only deliver extremely high quality sound for gaming but they’re also customizable in terms of looks as well, with the speaker plates being “swappable”. Moreover, if you’re the type of person who always seems to remain glued to their mobile device, not to worry, the XO Seven is also a handy companion and is fully compatible, in fact, you can even remove the microphone assembly. Naturally, if you’re the type of person who’s always chatting via services like Skype then you’ll love the noise-canceling abilities of this headset; it’s incredibly crisp and clear.
Yet another excellent headset from Turtle Beach, the Ear Force XO Four is essentially a slightly stripped down version of the XO Seven. If you want a headset that’s at least as good as virtually any other high-quality model out there but don’t want to drop too much cash, the XO Four is probably the way to go. Lacking the sorts of customization options that you find on many pro audio devices, the XO Four still has the features you need like the ability to function with mobile devices as well as a removable microphone. As far as sound quality goes, everything is extremely nice and balanced while at the same time offering excellent isolation.
Right off the bat, Polk Audio’s 4Shot headphones are a step ahead because there’s already an adapter included which allows you to connect the unit directly to the Xbox ONE controller. Additionally, it should be mentioned that Polk actually took the time to seek out some of the video game industry’s top audio specialist for input into their new headset design. The result is the first true collaboration between these groups, resulting in the 4Shot, which seeks to offer gamers an entirely new level of immersion. Perhaps most importantly, aside from its actual performance is the included adapter, which allows for instant fingertip control over various factors (and it should be noted that it was specifically developed for the ONE as well).
The microphone itself is retractile and looks like a small trigger built into the earpiece. This basically allows you to quickly remove the microphone from the equation if you plan on using the 4Shot with other devices (extremely handy). Of course the real draw of the headset is its performance, which is delivered via Polk Optimized Electro-acoustic Tuning. What you’re left with is rich sound that’s both extremely realistic as well as capable of transporting you away to game worlds via sound. Furthermore, because this unit connects to a controller, it allows you to remain effectively mobile if you’re using a wireless model. For the discriminating gamer who’s not afraid to drop a little dough on something, the Polk Audio 4Shot Headphone is a great buy. Note* – it also comes in various colors.
Looking a little bit like something that might have fell out of a NASA space capsule, Turtle Beach’s Titanfall Ear Force Atlas headset is both technically great as well as stylish. In anticipation of the upcoming Xbox exclusive title “Titanfall”, which promises extremely detailed, fast-paced FPS action like no other, this personal audio solution delivers the goods in more ways than one. First off, the headset incorporates Full-Range 50mm Speakers which are capable of accurately recreating even the deepest most menacing sounds imaginable. At the same time however, the entire product is relatively lightweight and very mobile, which also makes it a good partner for any type of device you might have laying around your home. Like many other pro headset models the mic is fully detachable so don’t be worried that it’s only going to be useful as a gaming tool. With an onboard game and chat mix control function you can also be sure that nothing will become too muddied up or convoluted, even in the most active and tense situations. Moreover, perhaps one of the biggest selling points of all is the fact that an Xbox ONE adapter will be included with every unit, so you can effectively kill two birds with one stone if you buy this headset. Lastly there’s the look of the thing – with all the specific TitanFall graphics it truly is a perfect companion for the game (in more ways than one).
Last but not least we come to the Ear Force XL1 Gaming Headset with amplified stereo sound. Sometimes you need a bit more control or volume, which is where it becomes necessary to add amplification systems. If you are familiar with how pro surround systems work then you’ll already have the basic idea behind the features of this headset. In short, you can really pump up the volume and/or increase bass responsiveness as well, which is something that gamers as well as music aficionados might find to be quite useful. Armed with fairly large 50mm speakers, the Ear Force XL1 is a monster when it comes to replicating the full frequency range, your games will never sound bigger or clearer. While this particular model was designed for use with the Xbox 360, once you are able to get your hands on an adapter all will be well. Additionally, since these phones carry a very low price tag you can afford to splurge a bit more on other accessories while not having sacrificed very much in terms of sound quality (if anything at all).