2old2play gets an early look at Tritton's new flagship gaming cans: The Tritton Warhead, their new wireless 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound Headset. Read on for our take.
The neverending quest for the ultimate gaming headset continues with the latest edition from Tritton / MadCatz. It’s no secret that many of us have used Tritton Headsets in the past, and the AX 360 was the standard for myself and those whom I played Halo with on a regular basis. At that point, Tritton sound quality was the bar by which all other gaming headsets were judged.
The AX Pro was again another remarkable peripheral. It came with its annoyances though (stiff mic boom, 2 AC adapters), but still, it was the best true surround sound gaming headset on the market.
Astro Gaming upped the ante when they introduced their wireless mixamp that allowed parents to worry less about their 3-year-old crashing through the living room, tripping on a 10’ long TOS link cable and sending their console careening through the air to its unfortunate demise. Yet, we still longed for a completely wireless solution. The new Warhead fulfills that requirement. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
Appearance and Setup
As with anything you pay good money for, you want to be wow’ed when you open it. The Warhead does just that. Call me a consumer, but I love great packaging (insert Apple fanboy joke here).
The Warhead looks right at home with the rest of your gaming attire: glossy black finish, which matches my 42” Samsung TV and the original Xbox 360 slim. On the plus side, there are no cheesy glowing T’s on the earcups, just black and silver with the trademark orange on the inside of the ear cups. When not in use, the headset rests on wings that protrude from the bottom of the base station, giving it a floating appearance in line with its high end personna.
Setup was a breeze. Plug the base station into the Xbox via optical cable, plug in the AC power and away you go. A quick sync between the headset and the console was all it took to get things running. As easy as pairing the official Xbox wireless headset.
Let’s get to the important stuff. First - Sound quality. Having used Tritton cans in the past, there was a level of expectation that came with these. I was concerned about the simulated surround sound as opposed to their previous true surround sound. These do not disappoint. I’ve had the opportunity to use the Astro A40s and the Warhead performs just as well, if not better, but in a completely wireless package. The base station provides three different EQ settings to match the media: Games, Movies, Music. The differences are minute, but add to the sound quality of each mode.The headset also uses 5.8ghz wireless - what this means: no interference or sound degradation from other wireless interference. *cough* Turtle Beach *cough*
Let’s not forget completely separate volume controls for in-game volume and chat volume. The volume controls are easy to use via dials on the top/back of each ear cup. Chat on the left (same as the Mic, so easy to remember) and Game on the right (same as the EQ button). Two features I’m loving with the dials is the ability to simply press down on them: For game volume it’s an instant MUTE, and on the Chat side it enables Tritton’s SVM (Selectable Voice Monitoring). This allows you hear your own voice through the headset. No more accidental yelling into the mic from not being able to hear yourself. I also really like this in that it picks up a little bit of background noise, so I know if my dogs are fooling around or perhaps my wife is asking me a question. In asking those I play with, they don’t seem to hear anything more than my voice, so Bonus!
So how is that mic? Those with previous iterations know that Tritton has had some issues with Mic performance in the past. Their customer service has been awesome enough to replace mics without question, but no one wants to lose time waiting for a replacement mic to show up. I can say that I’ve had great feedback regarding voice communication with this set. The Mic mute button is found on the side of the flexible boom up near the earcup. While Mute is activated, a red LED light comes on at the tip of the mic - no more wondering if you are muted or not. That red light will also flash if you are out of range of the base station. Thus far I’ve found the range of the headsets to be about the same as the controller. Getting up and walking to the fridge for a beer while trash talking between games will not suffer.
There were two issues I was concerned about in considering a wireless headset: Battery life and weight. My assumption was that a wireless headset would be extremely weighted down by a heavy battery pack. Not.The.Case. This headset weighs about the same as my AX Pros. What this translates to is a comfortable fit for extended periods of gaming. Four-hour gaming sessions have been no problem.
Battery life has been phenomenal. I’ve used this battery for about four hours each night for three nights straight (that’s 12 hours of gaming) and the battery life meter shows half full. Tritton claims 12 hours of battery life, but I got 18 hours on my first charge. Even more is possible if you mute the mic the whole time (which turns off the transmission side of the wireless which is what eats up a good percentage of the juice). The great thing is you get two batteries: one in the headset, the other in the base station charging. So when one runs out, you simply make a quick swap between games and you are good to go for another 18 hours of gaming. This easily makes up for the fact that yet another peripheral’s AC plug is taking up space on my surge protector.
This is also the only truly wireless headset on the market. That means no wire from the headset to the controller. Because Tritton has partnered with Microsoft to make this an official Xbox 360 headset, they were able to score exclusive usage of the proprietary hardware for the original Xbox wireless headset. A bonus of that is the battery meter built into your xbox dashboard. Open the dashboard and to the left of your controller battery meter is the battery meter for your headset. Everyone likes knowing how much juice they’ve got left.
As with any high end peripheral these days, you are going to pay out the A$$ for them. Not only does this mean you have to come up with the $299 price tag, you’ll also need to present this item to your significant other in hopes that they don’t Veto it on the spot. Do yourself a favor, don’t tell your wife right away. Start stashing some cigarette/Starbucks/beer money now. If you are a heavy drinker like me, sacrificing a bottle or two of Macallan 12 year could get you $100 closer to your mark. A quick look through Ebay also tells me that the going rate for used, but in “near perfect” shape, Astro A40s and Tritton AX Pros is about $150. Just like that, BAM! $250 raised. Kick your Starbucks habit for a month as well, and you’re there.
Or, you could present the idea to your significant other right now, planting the seed that will eventually grow into a Christmas present. Somehow, we always find a way.
Thus far, I’ve been impressed. I’ve got the same awesome surround sound and chat abilities I’ve come accustomed to using previous gaming headsets, but completely wireless. And though I don’t have kids, I’ve got two 70lb dogs that are under two years old - not a good combo for stringing 10’ of cords from my tv to my couch.
Are they worth $300? Any wireless option at this point is going to cost that much. I’m sure Turtle Beach makes a cheaper model, but I’ve heard nothing but bad reviews about Turtle Beach’s fully wireless solutions. I’m not ok with an interference buzzing in the background. If you are like me, this isn’t your first set of gaming cans, so selling your old ones is a viable solution to offsetting some of that big price tag.
In my opinion, these are the things that put the Warhead above the competition:
- Battery life 3x longer than the competition
- Two batteries included, and one always charging = Hot-swap and you’re gaming again
- Integrated voice chat = no wires. Period.
- Tritton’s well known customer service. (I’m hoping that hasn’t been compromised with the integration under MadCatz.)
There you have it, go out and conquer while running circles in your living room, free from any restraints.