Review

Review: Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 Headset

There are a whole range of Dolby Digital Surround Sound headsets released on the PlayStation 3, but the PX4 was the first one to state that it was PlayStation 4 compatible from launch. Everyone has differing opinions on virtual surround sound, but high quality headsets can produce some fantastic audio effects which really enhance your gaming.

The Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 Headset that we are reviewing today works on not just the advertised PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 though, I have tested it across the Xbox One, 360 and the PC and it works just as well on all of them, it is very versatile for those of us who have multiple gaming systems.

  • 100% wireless game audio and chat when used with PS3. Enjoy wireless game audio and wired (to the controller) chat when used with PS4
  • Dolby Digital Surround Sound - Pinpoint the direction of every sound in all your games and movies in Dolby Digital Surround Sound
  • Dual-Band Wi-Fi Wireless Technology - Interference-free, dual-band wireless means clearer chat and game audio
  • Dual-Pairing Bluetooth Brings Calls & Gaming Together - Take advantage of Bluetooth to answer mobile phone calls without ever leaving the game
  • Thickly padded, adjustable headband with breathable mesh ear cushions for marathon game sessions; Customizable Audio Advantage - With multiple EQ presets including bass and treble boost combinations, separate game and chat volume controls

Bearing in mind that the Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 comes with a wireless transmitter, the setup isn’t as simple as say the Sony Wireless Headset 2.0 on the PlayStation 4. You connect the transmitter via USB to one of your free ports on your game console and then run the included optical cable to the optical out port on your Xbox One, 360, PS4/PS3 or PC. Depending on how you run sound from your console, you may need to adjust some settings on your machine to get the audio to come out. This isn’t difficult and is explained in the instruction manual in very good detail.

Once you have sound coming out of your headset you can setup chat, the mic is included and can be attached or removed at any time. For the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, you will need to run a cable from the headset to the game pads, so once again, due to the way Microsoft and Sony have done things, it isn’t truly wireless when attaching a mic. If you have a PlayStation 3, then you will be fully wireless as the headset transmits voice chat via Bluetooth to the console and it worked perfectly during my tests.

The headset is very comfortable to use for long periods and is easy to adjust for head height and the like. The only real issue I have had with the design of the PX4 is that it lets a lot of sound leak out to everyone around you, compared to say the Turtle Beach XO Seven and Sony’s own Gold 7.1 headset; my wife complained that she could clearly hear a lot of noise when I was playing games nearby. Although this isn’t a major issue to me, for some people it may mean you have to reduce the headset volume to keep noise isolated.

Charging up the headset the first time didn’t take very long and a couple of hours charging meant I got around 13/14 hours of audio from the headset most of the time, whether the mic was connected or not.

The Dolby Surround Sound effects on the headset work really well, I know that many people are skeptical about how a headset can produce surround sound, but I sometimes prefer headset surround sound over a home theater setup simply because I can block out all other noise around me. I tested the surround sound in the following games.

  • Titanfall (Xbox One)
  • Infamous Second Son (PS4)
  • Killzone Mercenary (PS4)
  • Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare (Xbox One)
  • Battlefield 4 (PS4)
  • Thief (PS4 and PC)
  • Bound By Flame (PC – Not yet released)

Overall I thought the effect was great but there were a few occasions when it didn’t feel right, though this was mostly in Infamous Second Son which seems to have a number of audio issues anyway. The audio from the Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 was also much clearer than the Sony Wireless Headset 2.0 which produces 7.1 surround sound effects. I tested both headsets with the same games on the PS4 and each time I preferred the audio quality that was coming out of the PX4, although the Sony headset was no slouch and is completely wire-free.

The PX4 has a number of adjustable settings which let you change the way surround sound is aimed. It lets you angle the virtual front and rear speakers, this is to try and let you find the best surround sound settings for your ears, personally, I just preferred the default setting most of the time, though I’m sure other people will love to tweak this to their preference.

When it comes to the chat mic, the quality varies across all consoles. The PlayStation 4 has the best chat audio quality by far, thanks to a higher bit-rate and the simple fact you just have to plug the chat cable directly into the Dual Shock controller. On the Xbox One, you have good quality audio via the mic, but you have to buy the Microsoft Xbox One Stereo Headset adapter, which adds to the cost of the overall package; this isn’t Turtle Beach’s problem though, it was a Microsoft decision. The PlayStation 3 uses Bluetooth audio for the Mic which means we are completely wire-free, but this comes at a cost of poor audio quality.

The EarForce PX4 also states that it has “Interference-free, Dual-Band Wi-Fi technology” thanks to using both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz range. While I didn’t get any interference at all during my time gaming across any of the consoles I used, I did notice very slight digital hum/hiss from the headset. This happened whether I was using with and without the mic, so it seems like the norm for the headset itself. At first I was a little concerned, but during any game session I didn’t notice the hiss, it was only during times when audio was very low or during silent periods in games.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I have found the Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 headset to be quite a step-up from the cheaper Sony Headset 2.0 which I own, the sound quality is much better in both quality and surround feel. The battery lasts a long time too, getting very close to the 15 hours that Turtle Beach have been advertising. The PX4 also has a lot of flexibility for those of us with multiple gaming devices, you can use it on just about anything and get Virtual Surround sound out of it.

Pricing isn’t bad either, you can get the PX4 headset from £100 ($150) right now on various websites, sometimes even cheaper depending on where you look. Not everything is perfect though, the hiss that I picked up on can be annoying to those people that pick up on that kind of thing and I would be interested in hearing Turtle Beach’s real top-end headsets to hear If they do the same.

So in the end, if you can ignore the white noise hiss that I picked up on, then you have a great Dolby Virtual Surround Sound headset which sounds great in the latest games on next gen consoles and PC.

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