Maybe you’re a new father, and now that you’ve got a 24-7 responsibility, you’ve kind of made peace with the idea that you just can’t play video games anymore. Maybe you’re a not-recently new father whose family needs to be up early, so your nights usually die at 8:30pm. Either way, you already miss your video games. Why was it that when your wife had her baby, you had to lose yours? Ooh, burn. Just kidding. But the fact is that it has become increasingly harder for you to play your favorite game now that there’s a little one sleeping on the other side of the wall. Evidently, the sounds of war and violence don’t mix well with a sleeping family.
That’s where Turtle Beach’s Ear Force X11 becomes your knight in shining plastic.
I actually don’t own a Turtle Beach Ear Force X11. *queue Price Is Right loser horns* But, I do own the Ear Force X1, which the X11 replaced, probably no more than 38 days after I bought them. Anyway, their stats are identical, and really, the X11 just looks more elite, replacing my sissy gray faux leather and plastic with black faux leather and plastic.
So why get a Turtle Beach headset? I’m going to apologize right now since this article is going to sound like a commercial for these headsets, but I love mine so much that my completely unpaid and uncoerced endorsement is kind of the least I can do. And I apologize, but most of the console gaming I do is in the FPS genre, so if you’re into racing games, just imagine cars on a road instead of army dudes in a desert.
Anyway…the answer is three-fold. First, the difference you experience. Chances are that you’re not hearing the full aural detail of your video games, and that’s fine for some people. But when you’re playing a cinematic game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, or the new Halo: Reach, you’re actually missing details that the games’ producers are intending for you to hear. Sure, you can mentally fill in the holes – but once you watch a cut-scene while wearing a gaming headset, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the game, and probably unable to play without them. And not to mention that when you’re playing multiplayer online games, you can actually hear directional sound in-game, and depending on the headset or accessory you’ve got, you’ll be experiencing stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 sound. It’s incredible to hear a helicopter fly overhead and actually hear it fly left-to-right over you. You’ll hear teammates firing their weapons all around you, and as you get used to the immersion, you’ll be able to react to the audible direction of the action before you actually see it happening. I truly can’t play a game of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 without my headset now. I mean, I guess I can, but whenever I try, it’s like I’ve lost one of my senses (that I never knew existed before I bought my X1).
The second reason to get a headset is the difference your family experiences. That is, your family isn’t jarred awake, thinking they’re under attack. Every one of Turtle Beach’s Xbox 360 headsets lets you hear both the game audio and your Xbox Live chat within the headset – meaning that your television can now be turned all the way down. No longer will your wife come out in the middle of a night-time gaming session to tell you that she can hear gunshots through the walls. No longer will it sound like you’re engaging in a racially-charged conversation through the air conditioning vent and into your nursery. This means you can pump the volume up as loud as you need it – which is a great benefit for gamer-dads whose only spare time is after the family goes to bed. This also means that any time you want to squeeze in some gaming (maybe during your kid’s daytime nap), and your wife doesn’t want to hear the commotion, you can slap these things over your ears and you’re in another world; this is great for two reasons – if she’s on the phone, no longer are you bothered by her conversation, and no longer is she bothered by your gaming. Holy crap, it’s like these headsets just saved your marriage. Now, I’ve been presuming that you’re also not screaming into the mic. Unfortunately, there’s still no technology that allows you to hurl max-volume insults and have all the sound sucked exclusively through the mic. So…though I’m talking about the X11s like they’re magic, you’ve still got to exercise logic and coolheadedness when speaking. But it’s a hell of a lot quieter having your family only have to deal with you dropping midnight F-bombs and not having to hear the rest of the world noobtubing you while screaming them back.