Turtle Beach’s Ear Force range serves up some of the best headsets available for consoles and PC, and in the PX21 we have another amazing product from the manufacturer. The Ear Force PX21 is a wired, stereo headset engineered for PlayStation 3 but also compatible with Xbox 360 and PC. This USB-powered headset offers the sound quality of a premier pair of headphones along with excellent chat functionality that features such conveniences as independent volume controls for game and chat audio.
The headset has a sleek black design with very comfortable fabric mesh ear cushions that can twist to rest flat on your shoulders if you so desire. The adjustable microphone ‘arm’ seems a little oversized at first but this design is clearly to accommodate the large, high quality microphone at the end of it. The PX21 comes with a 4.87m cable that should easily reach your TV or sound system from your preferred seating spot. The headset’s control unit is located about a metre down the cable and comes with a ‘crocodile clip’ that can be used to hold it in place.
The cable can be plugged directly into a standard headphone socket or into the provided adapter that plugs into the red and white Audio Out sockets on your TV. If you want to use the PX21 to chat on your Xbox 360 you’ll need to connect an additional provided cable from the control unit to your 360’s controller.
While it’s the PX 21’s premium 40mm speakers that provide you with the kind of exceptional sound quality you expect from a Turtle Beach product, it’s the control unit that puts you in complete command of your audio experience. This unit features three wheel-based controls for game, chat and bass levels, along with a switch to mute the microphone or turn it on, and another switch that turns Stereo Expander on or off. This unique feature widens the sound field for greater directional perception so you can more accurately pinpoint where your enemies are positioned during multiplayer matches.
The downside of Stereo Expander is that it makes the audio sound slightly less crisp – as if it wasn’t being directed into the most receptive part of your ears. Another noteworthy feature of the PX21 is Dynamic Chat Boost which automatically increases chat volume as the game volume gets louder. You’ll see a small blue light displayed on the control unit when this feature is in effect.
The PX21’s control unit also acts as an in-line amplifier ensuring that the sound that reaches your ears is truly larger-than-life. If you’ve got the mic turned on then the headset’s microphone monitor allows you to hear your own voice as it would sound to the players on the other side of your connection. This is a useful feature as you can immediately judge if the microphone is too close to your mouth or too far away.
I tested out the Ear Force PX21 audio capabilities using Metal Gear Solid 4 on PS3 and the Forza Horizon demo on Xbox 360. MGS4 is renowned for being one of the few games to feature uncompressed audio so I was excited to hear how it sounded through the PX21’s premium speakers. Both games impressed from an audio perspective, with Forza Horizon’s engine noises sounding deep and booming while subtle sound effects in MGS4 like people moving off-screen during cut-scenes or the sound of Snake’s clothes rustling when he ran was remarkably clear. I was also amazed at how easy it was to tell the direction sounds were coming from based on the stereo audio cues both games served up.
The Ear Force PX21 is currently R1199 on TAKEALOT which places it on the upper end of the wired stereo headset price scale. For this amount of money you can purchase a decent surround sound headset so the PX21’s price might be a sore point for some.
The Ear Force PX21 is another quality headset from Turtle Beach offering amazing audio and chat functionality. All the cables you need to maximise its potential are included in the box and setting it up on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC is an effortless process. If you’re in the market for a premium stereo, wired headset then the PX21 will be a purchase you won’t regret.
|Aesthetics||5/5||A sleek, attractive design|
|Quality||5/5||Excellent quality with no flimsy elements|
|Functionality||5/5||Effortless to set up and easy to use|
|Value||4/5||In the same price range as some surround sound headsets|