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Great Gaming Headset: Turtle Beach Earforce 5.1 Surround Sound

written by: Jesma•edited by: J. F. Amprimoz•updated: 3/26/2009

Finding the right headset is about as hard for gamers as finding the right pair of jeans is for most women. Comfort and performance are the key features for headsets, but you also need to know that your investment will last. With this headset I found great quality, comfort, and durability.

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    turtle About a year ago, while strolling through the ultimate nerd-heaven, Microcenter Mall, I happened upon an eyecatching gaming headset. I've always had headset issues; not being able to find a comfortable set, sets breaking shortly after purchase, bad sound and voice quality - the list goes on. Needless to say, I was on the market for a new headset, and my shiny new credit card told me not to skimp on quality expressed in dollar amounts (for once).

    An hour later, I was excitedly tearing away packaging and testing out my new purchase. After a over a year of extensive use, I'm as happy with them as I was on day one. They haven't broken, lost quality, given me discomfort, or caused any problems whatsoever, yet - knock on wood.

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    Appearance and Function

    Rating Average

    This is a big headset, and as such probably doesn't have the most attractive curves ever, nor does it make ample use of fancy decorations that serve no real purpose. The large block font "Turtle Beach" pasted across the band is probably about as pompous as this headset gets.

    Regardless of lacking any up-front flash, this headset serves its purpose incredibly well. The tension design of the band allows the headset to rest on top of your head firmly, yet comfortably, without putting pressure on your ears or causing any discomfort. The earphones are made of a porous cloth covered foam that is very comfortable and won't make your ears or head feel hot. The microphone is fully adjustable in all directions, or can be easily removed if not required. An incredibly long cord is broken up by a multi-channel volume adjuster, with dials to control all sound channels.

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    Quality and Performance

    Rating Average

    The Turtle Beach Earforce 5.1 surround sound headset, along with my HD audio sound card really does offer an immersive audio experience. The headphones deliver stunningly clear surround sound while still managing to allow you to hear important things, like the pizza timer, yet plausibly pretend not to hear others, like a nagging spouse! After a full year of intensive use I have yet to detect any buzzing or imbalance of sound, the microphone still conveys a clear and accurate message, and there is no visible wear or flaws on the headset.

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    Minor Complaints

    I have two extremely tiny complaints about this headset that constantly stick in my mind.

    The first has to do with the cord. For some unknown reason, the cord on this headset is always getting twisted up, to the point that it loops back on itself making it not only annoying, but a good deal shorter. Every month or so I have to disconnect it, hold the headset by the cord, and wait 2 minutes while it unwinds. Is this a big deal? No. Will it happen to everyone? Probably not - I just use my headset a lot more than most people.

    The second minor complaint has to do with the foam cover on the microphone. The whole purpose of these foam covers is to avoid popping and static typically caused by hard consonants spoken directly into it. The problem with mine I've had practically from day one. It mysteriously falls off and disappears, only to be discovered weeks later covered with dust, lint, and god only knows what else. This has happened countless times, and for the last few months I've been using it without the foam thing at all, simply because this time I think it is lost for good. They could have at least designed a snugger fit, or glued it on in my opinion.

    Other than that, I love my Turtle Beach Earforce 5.1 surround sound headset, which can be found for $100 retail.