Ear Force X12 (Xbox360)

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In many of today’s games graphics always take the front seat in importance. After all, those flashy explosions in all their tessellated, anti-aliased, anisotropic glory is the first thing you notice about a game. As a result a gamer will often settle for inferior speakers or headsets since they won’t have any cash left after that overclocked graphics card sucked their wallets dry. But I tell you now, it has got to end!

The Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 is an amplified Xbox 360 and PC stereo headset with an included microphone, and it delivers sound so well that your graphics will take a back seat.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X12

The first thing you notice when you put them on your cranium is that they fit really well. I have a big head (jokes about my head in the comments), and still these can fit my head with no hassle. Even after extended periods they never hurt my ears and never get uncomfortable. The cups are not quite as soft as some other headsets I have tried recently, but I am sure this adds to the durability. They fit right over your ears and, remarkably, do not pinch any lobes!

Next up is the installation, and probably one of my few gripes with the X12’s: too many cables. The box contains a few cables and comes with very clear and simple instructions on how to connect the headset for optimal use. You can either use your TV’s audio output or headset socket, or alternatively you can use the provided cable to tap off the RCA audio cables that go into your TV. If you use HDMI from your console then the older Xbox cables that you threw away will have to be dug up. The cables are nice and long (about 5m to 6m long) allowing you to get some nice distance from the TV.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X12

A USB power source is required to provide the headset with the power to drive the lovely 50mm speakers. The Xbox or these days even the TV itself can provide this, but don’t think the USB cable does anything other than provide power. It does not. Which is fine as a stereo headset does not require any further sound processing than what the console or TV already produces.

Finally we also have a 2.5mm cable that connects directly to your Xbox controller allowing you to chat with your friends via Xbox LIVE. When co-ordinating attacks in the latest war fighter or settling disputes in Minecraft, this is particularly handy.

Connecting your X12 to your PC is a much simpler exercise. Simply connect your microphone and speaker cables, plug in the USB cable and you are a go!

Turtle Beach Ear Force X12

The X12’s volume is controlled via a handy, if somewhat heavy, in-line control panel. You can set the game volume, the chat volume, and very conveniently the Bass Boost. Allowing your chat volume to be a little louder than the game affords you the luxury of hearing your party members over any explosions in the background. And the added bass of the Bass Boost allows those explosions to have as much punch as you require.

The 2.5mm Xbox microphone pass-through cable also connects to the control panel, and since your controller is pretty close to you at all times, is short enough to never really get in the way. The quality of the microphone is also exceptional, as confirmed by many friends online. I even did a little sound check recording in Skype and even though I sound ridiculous, I do sound very clear.

If only the little control panel had a little clip to allow you to connect it to your shirt, as it often feels like it is dragging the headset down. If not that then it catches on the bottom of my desk when at my PC.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X12

Being a powered pair of headphones the X12 has one small drawback: white noise. The power from USB ports are far from perfect and when cranked all the way to 11 and there’s no actual sound from the game you can hear some white noise. Thankfully, once the action starts, there are no signs of any noise other than expected.

No complaint can get any leverage on the pure sound quality these can produce. Crystal clear treble and punchy bass will immerse you even more into games than you thought was possible, all while not even waking the rest of the household. Had I waited but a week or two before I bought my current headset I would have easily made the decision to get a set of X12’s. These are extremely good!

The Good: Great sound quality; very comfortable.

The Bad: Slight cable management.

Turtle Beach Ear Force X12

Rating Score  
Aesthetics 4/5 Nice and big, but only in green and black.
Quality 5/5 High quality plastics all around, brilliant sound.
Functionality 3/5 Does what it says on the box, but can be painful to connect to your console.
Value 4/5 Very good value for great sounding cans.