Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital Headset Review

Jkrohn1

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Choosing a good 5.1 headset is not as simple as looking at a label that says 5.1, there are hundreds of headsets on the market and finding the right one for you is no simple task. The first time you hear a great surround sound system and actually feel like you have to move your head when a bullet is fired past you, you think to yourself how did I watch films and game before this, but do your family and neighbours want to hear you playing video games all night? I know mine don't! Bring on the headset.

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Before buying my Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital Headset I had a look around. There are loads of different headsets on the market, the most common being simple stereo. This is basically what you will hear from your standard TV, a left and a right audio field. They are cheap and the sound quality isn't the best and won't improve your gaming but it will keep your neighbours and family happy. This wasn't going to cut it for me. The next are Virtual Surround Sound (VSS) which simply fools your ears into thinking you're listening to full surround sound. They are moderatly priced and the sound quality is fantastic. If you're looking at a moderate priced headset then VSS is probably for you. There is then the top end stuff, the likes of the Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital, Tritton AX. These headsets are full surround sound with multiple speakers in each ear that give you full Dolby Digital sound. They are expensive but with technology advancing and obviously getting cheaper you can get a good set for not much more then a VSS headset.

I decided to go with the Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital as they are tried and tested and top of their game. Setup is straightforward and you get all the cables needed in the box.

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The first time I put them on they felt big and bulky, they weren't uncomfortable but you knew they were there. They are well padded around the head bar and the earpieces and after a while I didn't even notice that I had them on.The only flaw I find with them is that they are wired, that said if they were wireless it would add more weight to the headset due to the battery and receiver plus no doubt the amount of power it would use it would be on charge more than it's off. The cable is just under 4 metres long and to be honest after a few times of using the headset you don't notice it.

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The main controls are inline in a small plastic pod that features a rocker volume switch on the left which when pressed will mute the main sound. On the right side is a volume wheel for Comms, a mini-jack for the Xbox 360 and a switch for mute. On the top there are four buttons, one for each sound field - Front, Rear, Center and Sub. The great thing about these buttons are they emit multi colour backlights. The lowest level is green and it moves into the different shades of blue into white and finally red at its maximum level. This is a great visual display so you know what volume each sound field is at.

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The sound control unit can also be used to adjust the volume and can also turn on or off DRC (Dynamic Range Control). As I use the headset for gaming I leave this on as it levels out all sound fields so there aren't any loud or quiet parts. This also affects movie watching and if I use my headset for this I will turn DRC off. You can also change the time delay which will add a small delay between the Centre and the surround sound fields. This may be good for some people but I have no idea what the advantages are for this so have left it alone.

The first game I played was Virtual Fighter 5 which is not in Dolby Digital so I played it in Pro Logic. The Pro Logic sound quality is fantastic, you hear everything you need to but it isn't quite as good as Dolby Digital. The first game I played in full Dolby Digital 5.1 was Warhammer 40k Space Marine. As I was playing online I was told my comms were crystal clear. The sound quality was so close to realistic I got immersed into the game. Moving on to my current favourite game, Battlefield 3, I got a real feel for the headset, working as a team and telling my squad members where the tanks are, where the footsteps are and just about every sound I can hear.

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At a price of around £100, the Sharkoon X-Tatic Digital headset will give you a lot of bang for your bucks and are a worthy investment. which is expected out of such a brand as Sharkoon.
 

Acegadgets

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Perhaps you can buy me some for christmas Jamie?
 

Martok

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I’ve had this headset for a couple of years now and it’s top notch.
 

kencanvey

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I have had my set for almost two years now as well and see no need to upgrade or change them, really good kit!!

Don’t forget that here is also a second headset port on the control box, so two people can listen together if you get a second headset.
 

The_Carpet_Frog

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I dont have the problem of annoying the neighbours, I only have them on one side and they are both stone deaf.

Even if I did I couldn't use any sort of headset like those as I find they make my ears too hot. I am lucky that I can crank up the surround sound without any worries.

Nice headset though.
 
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