It’s true that we all love and defend our own headset brands of choice, but when I was challenged to drop my go to brand and review Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro headset, I didn’t expect to fall so heavily in love with a new headset. Now I’m set to fall in love all over again…
The Elite Pro 2 isn’t just a .5 update; at first glance you may judge it on appearance alone, which hasn’t changed much from the original model. The adjustable headband has been upgraded to a more aesthetically pleasing metallic finish and the earcups now feature a magnetic outer shell with new look cases available this fall. The same amazing comfort delivered via cooled memory foam is simply one of the greatest things to happen to headset design and the ProSpecs relief system means my glasses aren’t pressed into my head – the pads are also magnetically attached so removing them to access this system is even easier.
The biggest change to the Elite Pro system is that the headset is no longer modular. All you need is in the box – no need to purchase an additional noise-cancelling microphone or a Pro TAC for audio control. This also means the cost is considerably less; the Elite Pro 2 is $100 cheaper. This doesn’t mean that the product quality is any less; if anything it’s far superior.
A small SuperAmp is at the heart of the system – replacing the Pro TAC –and connects to the console via USB with another cable connecting the amp to the headset. Yes, the Elite Pro 2 is still wired and while I am a big fan of wireless, the simplicity of the new setup and the slightly thicker wiring, meant I barely noticed that I was tethered to the amp. The amp delivers sound via Windows Sonic, which I understand is the reason that the Elite Pro 2 still comes in two flavours – Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Only the master volume can be adjusted directly on the amp, which didn’t offer much variance when the sound output was set to Windows Sonic – I mostly had the dial ramped up to near maximum just to deliver a good game volume.
Connecting via Bluetooth, the amp is controlled via a downloadable app, which is essentially a neatly designed set of menus that contains all the settings, sliders and buttons that you need to control all aspects of your game sound and mic volume. The only thing the app lacks is the ability to update the firmware – you have to connect the unit to a laptop/desktop.
One thing I wasn’t prepared for, although it may seem obvious, is that because the amp is joined to your phone via Bluetooth, you get all the alert tones from your phone. You can even take calls. I’m sure some gamers will love this feature, but I don’t like to be bugged when I am gaming and thankfully you can disconnect the phone from the amp without negating the ability to control it via the app.
Two 50mm speakers deliver Turtle Beach’s signature Nanoclear sound and combined with Windows Sonic, the level of clarity in the sound really did elevate my gaming. While I enjoyed the amount of options delivered by the Elite Pro’s TAC unit, the reality is that I swayed between two or three settings. The Elite Pro 2 takes things back to basics, offering several presets, each able to utilise Turtle Beach’s signature Superhuman hearing mode.
There is an EQ mode should you want to customise your sound by adjusting the treble, mid and bass via sliders, but for me the bass + treble boost mode was more than ample to deliver the sound I liked. The key though is (and always has been) Superhuman hearing. It really is the coup de grâce for Turtle Beach.
Offering a real advantage by accentuating certain highs and lows in the audio spectrum, this is much more than just a cleverly named gimmick. Accurately pinpointing enemies while playing Blackout gave me a clear advantage as I could easily differentiate between distant footsteps as opposed to those about to come round the corner. Superhuman hearing has been invaluable in me being able to grab the coveted first place prize and I need all the help I can get with ageing reflexes!
The design of the mic takes all the best bits of the Elite Pro and combines the functions of the two mics into one. While Turtle Beach’s mic monitoring has always been great, it’s been vastly improved and the app offers plenty of control to dial up (or down) the volume of your own voice inside the headset. Noise gate control has been simplified to a mere tap of a button and the new mic incorporates the shielding of the tournament edition Pro mic from the first Elite Pro to vastly improve its performance, cutting out all unwanted background noise or heavy breathing.
The quality of the mic is superb, with a streamlined design that isn’t too bulky and offers a superior clarity of sound to your teammates. One of my friends commented how it sounded like going from landline to skype – my voice sounded clearer than it had done before. The only chink in the new mic’s otherwise flawless design is that it isn’t easily stowed. When plugged in it’s super maneuverable, just not so that it can pushed up out of the way like its predecessor.
Taking away the modular nature of the Elite has vastly brought the cost of the system down and while I miss having all the controls at my fingertips on the amp, the new app makes complete sense and offers a simple and great way to quickly adjust the headset without the need for plugging it into a PC to access deep EQ settings.
I’m not a huge fan of gimmicks; I can appreciate the customisation options via the swappable headcup covers and happily admit to loving the ability to customise the LED colour of the SuperAmp.
The Elite Pro 2 is a much simpler system. One wire connects to the Xbox and one to the headset with a Bluetooth connection into a neat, easy-to-use app. Its brilliance is in its simplicity. Its beauty is in its design and its magnificence is in the sound. This is the complete package.