For many Turtle Beach may still be best known as one of the best sound card companies in the business. Recently though, they’ve been focusing on headphones, and the Elite Pro is their latest in their attempt to corner the market on gaming headsets. Can the Elite Pro compete with the best?
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro headphones are currently available for $180 on Newegg.
Design and Comfort
The Elite Pro is all black, with little hints of orange around the earcups and headband, giving it a nice, sleek design. The frame itself is a combination of plastic and metal, weighing 390g. They’re a bit on the heavy side, but I never felt like they were dragging me down over long periods of use.
Comfort is where the Elite Pro really excels. The Elite Pro has padding for days – the earcups and headband both have a thick layer of padding on them, made from a combination of leather and memory foam. There’s a good amount of give to them, and they feel incredibly soft. These are over the ear headphones, so they rest – obviously – right over your ear to form a snug seal that feels absolutely heavenly. I wore these things for hours and never felt the need to take them off. When you do inevitably remove them, the earcups swivel to allow the headphones to rest nicely on your shoulders.
When I first picked up the Elite Pro, I couldn’t help but notice the twin sliders on the top of the headband. This is what Turtle Beach calls their “ComforTec Fit System,” and it allows you to adjust the lateral tension on the headband, giving a tighter or looser fit. To be honest I didn’t really notice much difference between the settings. I actually had to look up in the manual which direction was tighter and which was looser, it was that imperceptible. Maybe I’m the dummy here, but for me,the ComforTec Fit System is little more than two dorky sliders on the top of my head. At least they don’t get in the way.
The same is true for Turtle Beach’s ProSpecs Glasses Relief System. Essentially this is a little band you can adjust to make a slight indentation in the earcups where frames of your glasses can rest. In theory, this prevents pressure from being placed on your frames, eliminating a huge source of pain and annoyance for glasses-wearers like myself. In practice, it barely amounted to anything. You can adjust the size of the indentation, which helps for those with bigger frames, but to do that you have to take off each earcup. I won’t dock Turtle Beach any points for what’s basically a really nice gesture of goodwill toward the bespectacled, but if they took this Glasses Relief system out, I’d barely notice it was gone.
On the left earcup is a port for a removable microphone that’s included in the box. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but the removable mic is clutch for serious gamers. Not only does it make the headphones easier to travel with, but it won’t get in the way if you’re not using it.
Performance and Features
Turtle Beach designed the Elite Pro for all gamers on multiple platforms. PC users can plug the Elite Pro into a USB amp, while Xbox and PS4 gamers can use the 3.5mm cable included in the box. Each cable completely detaches from the actual headset.
The microphone itself was adequate, and nothing more. It’s about on par of other headsets mics in this price range. It’s not going to offer the same kind of vocal quality an XLR or even a dedicated USB microphone will, but it does its job. Turtle Beach also offers a separate noise-cancelling microphone for those unsatisfied with the standard mic, which is helpful if you’re stuck in a really noisy LAN party or convention center.
The audio quality on the Elite Pro is perfect for gaming, but slightly lackluster for music listening. Overall, I found the midrange to be bright and clear. Vocals especially were front and center, and the treble was sharp and nuanced. The bass was a little flat, however, especially if you’re comparing the Elite Pro to other headphones in its price range.
If you’re mostly using the Elite Pro for gaming, though, you’re not going to notice this. I found the Elite Pro to be excellent in-game, accurately conveying the power and kick of gunshots, the location of distant enemies, and whiny demands of my online teammates.
The Elite Pro also offers 7.1 virtual surround sound. While some gamers swear by this, I mostly find it gimmicky. Virtual surround sound always comes off a little too thin and distant to my ears, and in the Elite Pro it’s no different. At this stage of the game, virtual surround sound just can’t compare to the real thing. If it’s something you’re into, though, you’ll have to download a driver from Turtle Beach’s website.
Overall, I haven’t worn a gaming headset more comfortable than the Elite Pro. It’s comfortable enough that I can overlook the mediocre microphone and the wimpy bass, especially since the latter rarely affected my gaming. If you’re looking for something to last through marathon tournament sessions, and don’t really care about audiophile-level sound quality, do yourself a favor and pick up the Elite Pro.