Diving into the realm of audio is absolutely a field day and one of our favorite topics to discuss. Mostly because many of us here come from audio backgrounds of various kinds. Team that up with the topic of gaming and its heaven for us. So it’s no surprise that we had a lot of participation in the test group when breaking down this new headset to find its pros and cons.
The headset being Turtle Beach’s new Stealth 600 Gen 2 Gaming Headset. A gaming headset targeting the Xbox consoles, both modern and those about the land, including the Xbox One through the Xbox Series X (along with some PC support for systems sporting the Xbox Wireless logo or using the Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter).
So let’s start off by looking at some of it’s highlighted features and then we will dive into some of them!
- Support for Xbox One, One X, One S, Series X, and Series S
- Support for PCs with Xbox Wireless supports or adapter
- Support for Windows Sonic and Dolby Atmos
- Mic Monitoring & Flip to Mute Mic
- SuperHuman Hearing
- Audio Presets
- Independent Game & Chat Volume Control
- Upgraded build quality of materials
- 15-hour battery life
Looking at its support for the modern and upcoming Xbox consoles, the headset seems to deliver as promised. What we found was it pairs quite easily with these consoles and you are up in running quickly, just like an Xbox controller. Turning on the headset even triggers the console to come on (as long as it is already paired). We didn’t run into a single issue when it comes to console pairing.
Windows/PC support seems to be spot-on as well. Given, it is important to pay attention to the mention that your system needs Xbox Wireless support (or the adapter). This is because it isn’t a normal Bluetooth wireless headset. It uses Xbox’s own pairing method which is similar, yet not the same. We do find the method to be much more reliable than Bluetooth when it comes to the controllers, so we can assume it should be the same for audio as well. If you built your own system or your system doesn’t support it natively, the Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Adapter is only like $25 or so. If you play a lot of cross-platform Xbox games, it is worth having.
Support for Windows Sonic or Dolby Atmos brings you virtual surround sound in your games and media content. This gets a little tricky for us as it is difficult to impress us with virtual surround within headphones. Companies like Creative have impressed us with a few tricks up their sleeves, but mostly the effect within headphones leaves the experience a bit uneventful to us. This is because the sound stage is usually too close to the ears, thus there isn’t a lot of noticeable separation and things can get a bit messy.
That being said, this one would be closer to your average close to the ears experience. We spent a lot of time gaming with both Sonic and Atmos enabled to see what our impression would be. We are big fans of Atmos in actual speaker installs, but when it comes to headphones, it’s hard to justify the $15 that it costs to be able to make use of the codec on Windows or the Xbox consoles. The effect in this scenario was minimal in comparison to Windows Sonic. We also experienced odd digital clicks/blips within the audio once in a while when using Dolby Atmos. This may be the codec suddenly acting up, but it most likely the headphones as we couldn’t get it to happen with a few other headsets we attempted with.
For us, we felt that Windows Sonic on the Xbox did a better job of channel separation, audio clarity, and it’s completely free to use within settings. So if you choose to go surround with this headset, choose Sonic.
Thankfully, the overall audio performance of the headset is pretty decent. From crisp highs and bassy lows, you are able to capture them all. We have noticed that some others out there on the internet have mentioned a lack of bass, but we just couldn’t agree. Is it like a pair of Kicker headphones? Of course not. However, for a gaming headset, they can be quite bassy. You just have to play with the settings available to you. If you make use of Atmos, for example, there are various EQ choices available to you to choose from. Some of which highlight the lower frequencies. There are also presets on the headset itself, which we will get to in a moment.
Is it audiophile quality sound? No. Nowhere near that. But do they sound “fun” to the ears? Yes. That, and you aren’t paying for audiophile sound, else the price tag would easily be triple what you pay for this model.
Mic Monitoring is a good feature to have as it allows you to hear yourself along with everyone else you are chatting with. Especially good if you like to get a little too hyped during your games. You’ll know when your voice may be a little too much for everyone else listening.
The flip to mute feature means that you simply flip it closed and it automatically mutes the microphone. Flip it back out and the mic comes back online. Useful and less distracting that fondling the headset looking for a tiny mute button somewhere.
The microphone! This is a great chance to talk about the mic. It is incredibly sensitive. The quality is just ok and it doesn’t seem to offer any environmental noise canceling. So if a fan is running, your little brother comes running in, or someone is watching TV nearby, the mic is likely going to pick it up. All of that is also going to go straight into your ears as you game. Thankfully, for you, the sidekick app on the PC they have called “Audio Hub” lets you turn this down. As for everyone else, you may find yourself lowering your mic at times.
It would have been nice to see better mic performance on a headset like this. A bit of a surprise coming from a company like Turtle Beach.
The left side of the headset contains the mic as well as all of your controls. Besides a power button, a USB-C connection for charging and PC connectivity with the app (make sure you update the firmware as soon as you take it out of the box), you also get a mode button for switching between various presets with.
You get a total of 4 presets, including the following:
- Signature Sound
- Bass Boost
- Bass + Treble Boost
- Vocal Boost
We found that we spent most of our time within the 3rd preset for the best performance, and this is a good option (either 2 or 3) for those complaining that they aren’t getting enough bass.
As for Superhuman hearing, you have to tap the power button to turn it on or off (holding the button down will turn it on or off).
There is also two separate volume wheels allowing you to control in-game volume and chat separately. They are easy to reach for and we didn’t find any difficulties using them while wearing the headset.
Finally, by the USB-C port, there is a small sync button which is used the same as you would the sync button on an Xbox controller, to get it to sync to your Xbox console or PC with.
The build quality of the headset is pretty good. They do brag that there is an improvement from the previous generation of this model. We found that the durability and flexibility of the headset is indeed well delivered. The padding on the muffs seems well comfortable enough and the gel cushioning on the inside of the headband works great.
Our only complaint was the compression you experience. It is quite tight around the head. As mentioned in our below video, we suggest using the shoe box trick to try to break them in a little. To do this, you simply stretch them open just enough to grab onto the short width of a show box (or the product box). This keeps the headset slightly stretched and then you leave it like that for a day or so. If it works out right, you should experience a looser compression around your head.
Finally, you have the 15-hours of playtime on a single charge, which should satisfy just about anyone and may provide you with many gaming sessions before having to recharge them.
The only thing we could point out from here is that the tones/beeps announcing modes and power are loud and annoying. They do not match the volume setting of the headset. So when you turn the headset on or off, make sure it isn’t on your ears. When flipping the mic up and down, there is a tone there as well which can get annoying at times. All of this could be avoided if the volume of these tones were softer or matched the volume setting.
Overall, we did like the headset’s performance. It looks really nice and it sports a lot of features. If you zero in the settings right (for the right EQ) and make use of Windows Sonic over Dolby Atmos, we feel you’ll get the most performance out of these. The microphone could use some improvement when it comes to sensitivity and quality of voice, but it seems to get the job done. Comfort could be improved on, but only within the compression around the head. Beyond that, the padding and gel support feels nice and there is a lot of flexibility to the band (in directions beyond the inward compression). The easy-access sound modes and superhuman hearing is nice, as is the ability to control volume and chat separately. Not the best headset out there, yet still a good candidate for the Xbox consoles.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Windows 10 devices with built-in Xbox wireless – Direct wireless connection (Windows devices without built-in Xbox wireless – Requires Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows, which is not included)
- Speaker Frequency Response
- 20Hz – 20kHz
- Speaker Size
- 50mm with Neodymium magnets
- Headset Power
- Rechargeable 900mAh Lithium Polymer
- Mic Design
- Flip-up Omni-Directional
- Ear-Cup Design
- Over-Ear (Closed)
- Ear Cushion Material
- Fabric with Foam Cushioning
What’s in the box?
- Turtle Beach® Stealth™ 600 GEN 2 Gaming Headset
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Turtle Beach Sticker
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.
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