I know, the title sounds a little similar to my initial Onza article that spawned immediate interest in the upcoming Razer Xbox 360 controller. I am not claiming to be a psychic or anything but let’s, for uncanny intuition’s sake, say that I have a hunch about this Turtle Beach headset. There is one feature in particular that will be the bread and butter for the competitive gaming community — the customizable presets. All the other features and specs are fine and dandy, but the custom presets has me the most excited and will add a new on-the-fly dynamic to your listening experience. Here’s why…
Game Specific Presets
Each game developer may have an optimal listening experience for their respective games. Imagine having Call of Duty or Gran Turismo specific audio presets directly from the developers themselves. That means that from a user standpoint, we would be able to listen to high-quality, high-fidelity audio on our favorite games.
Player Specific Presets
Imagine, if you will, that Sundance DiGiovanni has a special audio-specific setting for those rare nights of domination on Halo: Reach. Let’s say he wants to drown out all other frequency levels except those created by footsteps. He creates that as a preset initially, but follows up with his bass-booming, Gears of War explosions preset as his second option. After he creates those presets, he shares them with the MLG community as downloads and everyone is able to have the “Sundance Guerrilla Warfare” audio experience. That is the direction that Turtle Beach wants to take custom presets and if I create the “Perfect Gears of War Audio Preset,” I expect you all to download it.
In all seriousness, this is exactly the kind of forward thinking and customization that we need in the competitive gaming scene. I want to be able to create such a superb listening experience that others want to know exactly what headset I am using and the presets that I create. Imagine an MLG or Global Pro Player Preset List:
- Mike Ross
The possibilities are fascinating and the competitive community would eat it up!
Situational Specifc Presets
You are in a game of Call of Duty, Search and Destroy gametype, 1-on-1 and you want to quickly change it so that you can hear distinct movements to defeat your opponent. Change to that specific preset and that specific moment could be the difference between winning and losing for your team. I have thought about so many applications that it really is mind-boggling that this has not be done before by previous console headset manufacturers.
I have a couple major concerns regarding presets specifically, but I should clear one up for the competitive MLG gamers. There will be a wired version released eventually. From speaking with some of the Turtle Beach staff, it seemed that they were aware of some of the concerns of wireless headsets and Major League Gaming — you know the fact that they aren’t allowed.
On to my main two concerns, the first being how are presets stored? Are they stored on the headset or on the audio transmitter dock? The latter means that it would be difficult to utilize at an MLG event, regardless of the headset being wired or not in the future. The events are littered with Astro mixamps and from what I am guessing, it will hinder some early adoption if the presets aren’t stored in the headset. At the local LAN scene, there will not be an issue and I know most players have multiple headsets for different occasions, but this has worried for the MLG crew.
My other concern involves the preset UI and and general interface. The early version I saw seemed too complex for most headset owners that predominately turn a knob or button to increase their volume. There is so much potential with the presets that I would hate to see it not “take off” because the interface is too difficult to understand. Turtle Beach reps assured me that the interface will be significantly scaled back for beginners, but will eventually open up for the more advanced users.
I want to conclude with you all knowing that Turtle Beach has never been my favorite headset designer. They have always been like the MadCatz of the headset-side of the gaming industry. Creating quantity for the masses and not necessarily up to standards on quality. From personal experience and on the business side of things via eBash, some of their previous products I would consider “junk.” The audio experience in most of their products has always been okay, but the design and build quality never lasted more than a couple months. I’ve used everything from the HPX’s (MLGers rave over sound quality) to the cheap ones. The story has always been about how well they hold up and by my standards not-so-good.
I am hoping to see the PX5 deliver ten-fold for the competitive gaming community. We need to see something different and original in regards to our listening experience. The main factor to the growth and sustainability of products is customization. Astro Gaming has definitely taken a foothold within the minds of most of the Pro Gaming community out there specifically because their presentation is impeccable. Turtle Beach not only has the opportunity to create true Audiophiles but the thought of sharing specific, customizable listening experiences to gamers and their friends is exhilarating. This could be one headset that will change how we interpret sound.
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