Third reason to get a headset – Turtle Beach gaming headsets are pretty reasonable in price, especially the lower-end stuff. Like I said, I’ve got the X1, which ran me $60, the same price as a retail game purchase. There’s an even lower-end model, the XLC, that combines the game and chat audio into one volume control, for $30. I think it’s worth the price to bump up to the X11 and separate out the Xbox Live gamer chat when you’re not in the mood for it, or simply just turn it down when someone else is screaming (for no reason, as Live players often do). Turtle Beach makes wireless headsets too, but I wouldn’t want to use one, as I’m very bad at recharging my accessories and switching their batteries. Also, I heard that the X31 tears through batteries (it takes 2 AAAs).

Speaking of batteries, my only complaint about my X11 headset is that I basically need to run my Xbox controller off of AAs batteries now. I had 3 Play-and-Charge kits whose rechargable batteries took a dive after 3 years of hard service. I was content with using the Play-and-Charge USB cable to basically convert my wireless controller to a wired one, but there is a known interference problem that the X1 (at least, I don’t know if it was fixed for the X11) experiences. If you’ve got the X1 and an Xbox controller plugged into the console at the same time (both using USB), you will hear a low buzzing noise in-game. This is remedied by either plugging your X1 into a USB Power Adapter, which they now sell on their website, or if you’ve got one lying around from an MP3 player or cellphone…that should work too. Or, you can do what I did and just go back to AA batteries in the controller. I get a discount on them at work, so it doesn’t sting too badly.

I can’t imagine saying too much more about these gaming headsets except to mention that Turtle Beach also offers PlayStation 3 and Wii headsets – and most of them are also PC-compatible. I know there’s other gaming headsets on the market – Astro’s series, for example – but they’re far more pricey for an entry-level set. Tritton also makes gaming headsets, but their entry-level set is $70. Turtle Beach really nailed quality and price, in my opinion. I’m not a hardcore, MLG-level gamer, so I don’t really need to go ape over 7.1 surround sound.

So, I guess at this point, it goes without saying that I highly recommend the Turtle Beach X11.

If you’ve tried a headset from Tritton or Astro, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.