Turtle Beach Ear Force XP Seven Headset - A New Era Of Tournament-Level Gaming Audio (Part 2)

7/3/2013 9:20:19 AM

The top plate has a physical volume dial that has another function of a mute switch when pressed, surrounded by a round LED cluster (to denote the level clockwise) and a second outer ring of capacitive buttons and an LED indicator. The 1-o’clock position shows that the mic is mute, while in 3-o’clock position it is now the status Dolby Digital (stereo or surround). The 4-o’clock position is the Master \ button (to save the settings and return quickly to the center of the disk volume control key) and the 6-o'clock position with 6 blocks that correspond to your virtual surround speakers. At 8-o'clock position there is a 5.1 button for on / off volume between front, rear, center and subwoofers, and the 9-o'clock position is the switch stereo / surround. Finally, the 10-hour position is a switch to adjust the angle of the left and right speakers, front or back. Some features were available to a lesser extent on the TB headset before, but just like the presets. This is the first time you will have real-time controls like this for audio headphones.

This is the first time you will have real-time controls like this for audio headphones.

This is the first time you will have real-time controls like this for audio headphones.

Along the left side, you will find a power button, a jog dial that can be programmed and another to set the volume of the external source such as an MP3 player. On the bottom edge are 3 audio inputs: a 3.5mm jack for external sources, one for your headphones to the 2.5mm jack, and to connect the Xbox 360 controller for voice chat on Live. On the right side, you will see a jog dial for volume and audio chat and a backlit button to switch between speaker and headphone modes. Finally, there is a 3.5mm speaker output at the front of the unit.

Below are three rubber feet that keep the ACU firmly in place on a table and a belt clip (a humorous supplement based on its large size). As you can imagine, there are many drivers here - so many, in fact. We had to take a few hours to learn how to adjust the sound to how we want to, and partly because the documentation that came with it was pretty thick. Fortunately, after several attempts with some errors, we liked the control unit that had been put into our hands, as promised by TB. Basically, if you are not willing to spend a few hours finding out how to really control this thing and understand the sounds produced in each game, then it is better you should use the simpler options.

In addition, these units are specially made to work with the TM1 tournament mixer. Basically, it is a $200 mixing console for LAN and MLG tournament settings, meaning you can easily set up a multi-headset sound solution of your own preference. It even has a public channel to report, and a separate chat system so you will not be of any delay in consultation with your teammates. We cannot test it for this review, but we hope to give you a closer look in the future.


The ACU has a long cable that ends in a USB jack and a 9-pin connector. When used with a PC or Mac, the USB connection is all that you will have to worry about getting started (in addition to ensuring that your surround setup goes properly). With the PS3 or Xbox 360, you need a small Console Interface. Two USB connectors and 9-pin connectors are located on the front, while the rear has one Toslink input (with 1 pass-through in case you have other devices plugged into the Toslink) input and a 3.5mm other side. An overhead light indicates that you are operating. From there, just plug in any headphones you want to use the ACU - any other settings occur with software and presets.

Software, presets and audio

Similar to the PX5, it supports the Advanced Sound Editor software (ASE) and Preset Manager (PM) of Turtle Beach

Similar to the PX5, it supports the Advanced Sound Editor software (ASE) and Preset Manager (PM) of Turtle Beach.

Similar to the PX5, it supports the Advanced Sound Editor software (ASE) and Preset Manager (PM) of Turtle Beach. Using your computer, you will be able to create its own EQ presets, and assigning them, or the preset you downloaded from Turtle Beach, the ACU. Mac users now are abandoned with ASE, but the company is actively working for software publishers. It should be as soon as possible, as there are less than 20 presets available for download, and they are aimed at Dead Space 3 and Black Ops 2. Interestingly, the entire website experience is similar to your normal forum, in which the download link is spread across multiple threads. Indeed, one application store will be more reasonable. Fortunately, for our purposes, the people at Turtle Beach sent us some of their own EQ preset to check.

On the audio side, the whole package performed very well, although the volume was slightly lower when taken out of the box. The headphone has thick tone, with the smooth sounds that are good enough to work well with any EQ and surround settings that we chose from the ACU. While talking Turtle Beach headset reacted decisively, we noticed an increase in midrange clarity while using headphones that did not have any EQ. The ACU does not create too much hiss in the signal, and an active role satisfied with the sound card. While the Seven XP and ACU are made for each other, of course you can connect your own headphones with the unit - something we know the sound-addicted gamers will appreciate. With the ACU, let’s say: you can create one EQ preset just focus on one player to fit your ear, or a mix and give emphasis to the specific frequency which is an unfair advantage. This is the interesting part: even though you can load any preset ACU with this, gamers will have the preset by MLG tournament fiduciary capacity and higher overall volume.

On the audio side, the whole package performed very well

On the audio side, the whole package performed very well.


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