Ever said to yourself, I want to play video games without distracting others? Sure, but the one problem about connecting [non-gaming] earphones to your TV (the products we use to listen to our portable radios and iPods) is you can't use the Xbox 360 microphone at the same time.
There's a niche out there for quality headphones and still able to voice chat with your team or friends while playing games. The Tritton line of products by MadCatz fills in this void against their competetor, Turtle Beach.
I just didn't want a video game headset, but also wireless capabilities so I don't have to have a long cord dragging around, so I picked Tritton's Primer Wireless Headset. It's also licensed by Microsoft for the Xbox 360, so you know it's compatible with the console, unlike Turtle Beach that is not licensed, but will still function just as fine.
Wireless Headphones: Pros and Cons
When I went shopping, I had to make a choice between the two competing brands, and after reading reviews using my smart phone, I picked Tritton Primer over a Turtle Beach wireless headset. The cost was just an extra ten dollars more, but my primary concern was the wireless frequency it uses. Tritton uses. 5.8 GHz while Turtle Beach uses 2.4 GHz, which makes a tremendous difference.
WiFi (802.11) uses the 2.4 GHz frequency and is the worldwide standard for wireless access points to connect computers, iPhones, iPod touch, and other electronic devices to access a network or internet. It's also a common standard for cordless telephones in your home. The problem with using Turtle Beach's 2.4 GHz wireless headphone products makes it very prone to interference, especially if your Xbox 360 is connected wirelessly to the internet. One of the common complaints I've read is for using a headphone product at 2.4 GHz, you have to place it away from any wireless antennas or you will hear annoying popping sounds; definitely something I don't want to mess with.
Tritton's Primer headset uses 5.8 GHz, which means different frequency, no interference. And I can attest that with numerous 2.4 GHz wireless products just within 20 feet of my TV, I experienced no interference or popping sounds.
The headphones are made mostly of plastic but very solid, except for the earcups and the section that goes over your head; those are filled in with foam padding and a black leather-ish product to provide comfort and prevent sound from leaking out of your headphones to distract others.
The microphone is very flexible and you can shape it to be closer to your mouth or further back if you have a tendency to talk loud or don't want to hit the microphone while you drink a can of your favorite beverage. You can also move the microphone out of the way by turning the microphone up so its flush with the headset and out of your way (especially when playing games that doesn't utilize the microphone). In order to use the headphones, you must connect the headphones via special cord (included in box) to your controller. While I wish it was a true wireless product so I can use my microphone without wires, I realize that if it was like that, the batteries would drain much faster running two wireless systems at once (console audio and game chat).
On the right side of headphones is the batteries. It requires two AA batteries, and will include two batteries in the box. I suggest buying rechargeable batteries as disposable ones goes to the landfill or hazardous waste dump.
All the controls are located on the left ear side of the headset. There is the power/sync button that turns on the product and if held for two seconds, will synchronize the headset with the wireless base. There is a mute button to mute the microphone when you don't need to talk during an online game. There is also two dials on that controls the sound of the game being played and to raise or lower the sound of people on voice chat. While the controls function well, the dials for sound are are too easy to adjust, so even an accidental swipe of your hand may raise the volume too loud, it should have a little more resistance on the dials so you can have confidence in adjusting the sound.
Since this product is wireless, it requires a base station to transmit signals. It's a small box, about no bigger than the palm of your hand and has connections on the back for power and audio connections. It is powered by USB, so you just need to find an available USB port on the front of your 360 to connect it to. For audio, you have multiple choices depending on how your console is connected. I'll talk about it below.
Setup can be easy or a little bit challenging to install, so always make sure to read the instructions first before attempting to set-up.
If you use a HDMI connection, you are provided with a audio connector with RGA audio (red and white) that connects to the back of your console. Just connect the grey part into the back of the console, use the separate audio wires (included in box) to the red and white parts, and connect to the base station. Lastly, connect the USB to the front of the console to the base station and it's done. As HDMI is one single cable that feeds video and audio, this setup is perfect for those who have displays that is bolted the wall and cables running behind the wall. There's no need to run the Tritton base station/audio cables behind the wall.
If you use component cables, your task is more challenging. You can't use the HDMI audio hookup, so you are given special cables to attach to the back of the TV. Component has five pins, three for colors and two for audio which is connected from the console to TV. To set-up the audio, you need to pull out the audio connection, attach the splitter to each matching color, and reinsert into the TV. Setup for power to the base station is the same. This is a problem for those of you connecting a console to a TV wall mount as there will be cables running from the wall TV to the 360. But if you have an old tube TV on a table, this won't be too much of a problem.
Once that's done, it's time to use the headphones. Install the batteries, turn-on the headset, TV, and console. The base station will power up automatically when the console is turned-on and will try to locate your headset. If it can't, use the sync button on the back of the base station and press the power button on the headset for two seconds to force it to sync to each other. Once synced, you don't have to do it ever again.
You might think, if I use the headset, can I still hear sounds from the TV speakers? The answer is yes. The product just splits the sounds from the console to the TV and headset. To just hear sounds in the headset, turn the TV volume down to zero. If not using the headset, just raise the volume of the TV.
For the microphone connection, you need to connect it to your 360 controller. Use the included cable to first connect the headset to the cord, and connect the other end of the cord into the controller. They make it very clear in writing to do the microphone connection steps in the proper order or it won't work.
What I like about the product:
--It's comfortable and you can clearly hear everything happening in the game.
--Perfect for gamers who is trying to get an edge in online gaming, such as hearing footsteps of an approaching opponent. It's in stereo sound, so you know if they are coming to the right or left.
--Perfect for gamers that plays light to medium usage. This is due to battery life.
--The wireless connection provides a clear signal so you don't have any interference from other wireless products.
--The headphones are of solid construction.
What I dislike about the product:
--Setup is annoying because of the way its connected to the base station, but it's only a one time job.
--Audio can only feed through the 360 to your headset. Cannot be used for other uses on the TV like watching a program on cable, Blu Ray player, or another console. This means it restricts you to the 360 console products only (games, Netflix, DVD player, and other 360 console products).
--Not a surround sound product. You'll have to pay more for a different wireless Tritton product. This only does stereo sound.
--Not for hardcore gamers that can play for hours on end and multiple days a week. You'll burn through a lot of batteries due to the wireless connection; I'd recommend a corded one.
--As it's a wireless product, it will constantly need batteries, so always keep extra nearby if the headset dies on you.
--The sound controls on the headset are too easy to adjust therefore a simple accidental swipe of your hand will quickly raise or lower the volume; it needs more resistance to make it intentional to change volume.
--Expensive. Because it's a wireless product, you are looking at an investment of approximately $90 to $110. Corded headphones are about half the price.
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