Father’s Day Gift Idea: Turtle Beach Ear Force X32
Ask a dad what he wants for Father’s Day, and he’ll tell you “oh, anything” or “nothing, I’m happy just spending time with you.” Lies. What that guy wants (and needs) is a Turtle Beach headset for his gaming pleasure. Specifically, the Turtle Beach Ear Force X32 (XBox 360) are a great gift for a gamer-dad. I mean, sure, you could just buy him a gift card to Best Buy (or Future Shop for our Canadian readers), but the dude’s just going to end up buying these for himself.
And if you’re a dad, stop playing coy and just tell your family that you want to ear-hump these headphones so bad that it’s effecting your kill-death ratio.
Now, before we get into it – Turtle Beach does indeed have many headsets – and in fact, many headsets above the X32 in quality. But if you’re looking for a good balance between price and power, the X32 is what you’re looking for.
Being a father, you don’t have much time for gaming. Most dads push their gaming time to the after-the-family-is-asleep time slot (says a personal survey of roughly 4 dad-bloggers). Therefore, dad usually huddles in the corner, playing his video game on mute.
That’s no way to play, son.
Directional sound effects are one of the most amazing things that many gamers never hear – and in fact, many gamers that have their audio fed through expensive 5.1 audio set-ups still don’t hear things as the developers intended because the sound is pumped into the room and the sound waves mash against each other before hitting the gamer’s eardrums. Using a headset isolates the right and left channels, getting the correct effects into the correct ears.
Let’s talk Call of Duty for a hot second. A player will benefit from hearing in-game cues like which direction a helicopter is coming from, which side of him gunfire is on, and most importantly, the pitter-patter of terrorist footsteps. You’d never think that hearing footsteps could be so crucial, but after cranking up the volume on those X32 headphones and listening, you can more easily get the drop on some numbnuts that’s running down a hallway near you. A headset like the X32 allows for hearing that directional sound. You might be thinking this is all poppycock gamer stuff, but it’s a proven fact: using a headset will immerse you in the game and allow you to hear things you’ve never heard before.
Pros & Cons
If you want to read all of the tech specs for the X32, you can do so on the X32 page of the Turtle Beach site. But for our purposes, there are a couple of Pros and Cons to mention:
- Uses 2.4/5GHz Dual Band WiFi, so no wires or cables connecting you to the Xbox system.
- Independent volume controls for game and chat sound.
- Crisp sound with good dynamic range.
- Comfortable ear cups/cushions.
- Not completely “wireless”; still connects to the XBox controller.
- The headset will eat batteries (AAA x2) if you game frequently.
- No Dolby audio.
Let’s get those two cons out of the way – yes, though you won’t be tethered to your XBox 360 with a wire, you will still have to plug the X32 into your controller if you want to hear the XBox Live chat. If you don’t – leave the “talkback” cable out and enjoy a full-wireless set-up.
As for the battery usage, that’s no joke; if you’re an every-night type gamer, you’ll need to keep a serious reserve of AAA batteries around. Your mileage may vary, but just be prepared. And as for the “No Dolby” complaint – I imagine that it’s a function/price thing; the X42, which are wireless and Dolby Surround-capable are $60 more expensive.
Onto the pros – one of the best things about these headphones is independent game and chat volumes. Want to hear the game volume high while minimizing chat? Or are you in a co-op game where you prefer to hear your teammates over the game volume? Either way, you can adjust the game volume up and down, then adjust the chat volume to your liking. If you’re in the zone playing Call of Duty or Halo and want to ignore the stupid 12 year olds yelling bigoted insults every time someone misses a shot, just turn them down and enjoy the game audio.
For the X32 not being one of the higher-end Turtle Beach headsets and not offering Dolby Surround, they do a surprisingly good job of separating the highs and lows, offering a really good dynamic range. The ear cups are big and well-cushioned. In short, you’ll want to use these for everything. And speaking of, why not enjoy a late-night movie on the XBox 360’s Netflix app and use the X32 headset? If you’ve been dying to watch that R-rated action movie that your wife’s vetoed and you just can’t justify showing to your 4 year old, you can kick back on your couch and let it blast while your family sleeps.
And let’s be honest – almost more importantly than you getting your kill-death ratio out of the gutter is you letting your family sleep. If you live in close quarters, it’s just not logical for you to crank up the sounds of war and destruction during nighttime hours. Problematically, you want to hear your game or movie, but gunfire isn’t something your family wants to wake up to in the middle of the night.
You, on the other hand, can blast the sound as high as your ears can take it with those 50mm speakers (upped from 40mm in the discontinued X31) slammed against your ears.
There’s not much left to say except that these are a must-buy for fathers who are XBox gaming. Turtle Beach doesn’t make a directly-comparable headset for the PlayStation 3 or PC; the PS3’s closest option retails for about $50 more and isn’t wireless, and the PC headsets don’t line up in function and price. Turtle Beach also offers some wireless universal (PS3/360/PC) options such as the PX3, but it was designed for the PlayStation 3 specifically and retails for $149.99.
The Turtle Beach X32 is a great headset for the price. Retailing $99.99, it’s inexpensive enough to justify the purchase (even with a new baby), but powerful enough that you won’t feel let down by the lack of Dolby audio.
These bad boys are ready to get you through any late-night gaming session on your XBox 360 in grand fashion. You keep your game to yourself, and your family sleeps. Win-win!