Reviews PlayStation

Turtle Beach Stealth 500P Headset Review - Feel the Boom

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If you’re a gamer, there’s pretty much no reason you can survive without a headset. For some, the headset determines (and apparently improves) their skill, while for others, a headset is quite literally the difference between life and death in a relationship.

The Turtle Beach Stealth 500P Headset is – to a degree – an update to the Turtle Beach EarForce PX4 but is only designed for use with the PlayStation range of consoles and mobile devices. While the headset boasts wireless connectivity to your PlayStation 4, it can connect to a variety of other devices using the supplied USB dongle, optical cable or 3.5mm jack.

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Feel the Boom

I usually complain about headsets and their lack of bass, but this Turtle Beach headset does a great job of shutting my mouth this time. In fact, some may find the bass a little much, but thanks to four sound presets (Stereo, Game, Movie and Music, each with four additional options: ‘natural sound’, ‘bass boost’, ‘bass and treble boost’ and ‘vocal boost’) on the right cup, you could adjust the sound to something that suits your personal taste (or ear). If you like your game loud, switch to the ‘Game’ preset with ‘bass boost’ and you will drown in the rumble of explosions, while keeping your relationship intact.

Alongside this, the 500P features DTS 7.1 surround sound, and that does a great job of improving your sense of awareness in games. Whether I can claim it actually improved my skills is a little debatable, but there was definitely a noticeable difference when switching to the ‘Stereo’ preset, and unless you plan to use the headset to listen to music, there is no reason to switch – at least not when playing first-person shooters. Some titles did seem to be better in ‘Movie’ mode, especially when they are cutscene heavy and don’t really require the same spatial awareness as Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty.

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One of the real concerns with the headset that I encountered was mic buzz. At first it seemed to be isolated, or game specific, but after some time testing it, it appeared to actually be an issue with the headset as muting the mic stopped the buzzing. Obviously this is a real issue in multiplayer games, but it might also be that I have sensitive ears.

The mic itself doesn’t appear to offer much in the way of noise cancelling, and while I didn’t sound like Darth Vader to others, the mic did appear to pick up my breathing when close to my mouth. Moving it further away (thanks to its flexibility) obviously meant that I had to project my voice a little more, which meant that all the good work done in cutting out the game sound in the household was almost (but only almost) undone by me wanting to shout. OK, so I have a tendency to do that anyway, so that’s not really that fair on the mic, but the truth is that the mic is not the headset's best attribute.

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Feel the Build

The headset is constructed from sturdy plastic and features leather (or pretend-leather at least) cups. It is surprisingly light and comfortable to wear, even though it is quite tight on your head, but extended periods of wear did not bring any noticeable neck pains that I have found with headsets of similar design. The cups also sit comfortably around the ears, and while they appear to be on the smaller size generally, the sponge surrounds mould nicely around the lobes.

All the necessary controls are on the right ear cup, and includes independent volume controls for overall volume and mic level. There is also the microphone mute button and the aforementioned sound presets, along with a USB point for charging the headset. Using any of the buttons or charging the headset offers you feedback by way of a female voice, ensuring you do not need to decipher the usual beeping noises usually associated with a button press. The left cup only houses the removable mic – well, the only thing other than the 50mm speakers.

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The cups are also able to rotate around 90 degrees, and while this assists with comfort levels when wearing the headset, I am concerned that this is the weak point in the construction.

A major positive feature of the headset is that it has a phenomenal battery life. The literature claims 15 hours of battery life and while I never tested it for that long in one (I managed around eight to ten hours) sitting, it certainly managed to keep going longer than any other wireless headset I have previously used. This battery life is a real winner, however the supplied USB charger cable is pretty short and is not capable of being used while playing games.

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Let’s Cut to the Chase

Let’s get down to the ‘should you’ or ‘shouldn’t you’ part of the review. The short answer is you should, but the current Rand price of the headset (around R1,900) may put you off a little. The Turtle Beach Stealth 500P Headset is a very good 7.1 surround sound headset that is wireless (up to around 10m), comfortable to wear, fantastic battery life and offers very good sound. It has – like anything in this world – issues, as well as featuring a few issues that just come down to personal preference. However, there are not that many wireless 7.1 headsets available at the price for PS4 in South Africa, making the 500P worth considering.

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The Specifications

Headset

  • Speakers 50mm with Neodymium Magnets
  • Frequency Response 20Hz - 20kHz
  • Earpad Material Perforated Leather (Black) with Foam Cushion
  • Earcup Design Over-Ear (Closed)
  • Microphone Design Removable Omni-Directional Microphone

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Transmitter

  • Game Input Digital Optical (Mini-Toslink)
  • Chat/Mic Input/Output USB
  • Surround Sound Processing DTS Headphone:X 7.1
  • Wireless Connection RF with Intelligent Channel Hopping
  • Wireless Range Up to 30ft
  • Power USB

You can read more about the headset on the Turtle Beach website. The Turtle Beach Stealth 500P Headset is available at Raru and Takealot, as well as other online and retail stores.

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