Turtle Beach led the gaming headphone market in 2014. From their modestly priced Ear Force Recon 320 and Z60 to the luxurious Elite 800, the audio veterans offered superb choices across all price ranges. The Xbox One was the only platform lacking options, but with this year’s XO Four Stealth and XO Seven Pro, Microsoft’s console is finally getting the proper audio gear. Today, we’re taking a look at the XO Seven Pro, the first Xbox One headset licensed by Major League Gaming. With its revolutionary Superhuman Hearing Mode, superb sound and remarkable built quality, the XO Seven Pro is easily the best Xbox One headset to date, even trumping Astro’s lavish A50. Most headsets of this quality typically retail for $200 or more, but the XO Seven Pro goes for only $159.95. It’s a steal.
Turtle Beach’s XO Seven Pro comes with everything needed to connect to Microsoft’s console. The package contains the Ear Force Headset Audio Controller Plus, a breakaway cable, a mobile adapter with in-line mic, a micro USB update cable and a removable mic boom. Installation is quick and effortless. Connect the Audio Controller Plus to your Xbox One gamepad, attach the breakaway cable between the headset and the Controller Plus, and download any necessary updates via the included mini USB. Once in game, players can toggle between four surround presets: Natural Sound, Bass Boost, Bass and treble Boost and Voice Enhancer. The mic has its own set of presets, including: Quiet Room, Normal Room and Loud Room.
"With its revolutionary Superhuman Hearing Mode, superb sound and remarkable built quality, the XO Seven Pro is easily the best Xbox One headset to date, even trumping Astro’s lavish A50."
The XO Seven Pro’s most exciting feature is the Superhuman Hearing Mode than can be toggled via the small Turtle Beach button on the Audio Controller Plus. Over the last few months, I’ve reviewed over a dozen high-end headsets, each offering their own version of the sound enhancing mode. While most of them did a great job of emphasizing minute sounds, the bass and treble sacrifices compromised audio quality across most models. The XO Seven Pro is the first set that preserves the audio fidelity of its surround sound presents without degrading depth. As long as the Bass and Treble Boost preset is activated when the mode is on, Superhuman Hearing provides the perfect balance between spatial awareness and resonance.
"The XO Seven Pro is the first set that preserves the audio fidelity of its surround sound presents without degrading depth."
In one of Turtle Beach’s video ads for the XO Seven Pro, Nolan North boasts about the headset’s ability to pick up impossible sounds, like a player reloading a gun or birds flying off in the distance. He wasn’t kidding. The XO Seven Pro does exactly that. It allows players to hear every microscopic detail both nearby and in the distance. It picks up sounds so accurately, it takes some getting used to. During the first few multiplayer matches in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, I found myself twitching left and right because I could hear the ground underneath my feet crumbling. It’s surreal, and incredibly immersive. It wasn’t too long before my kill/death ratio improved and I was dodging incoming bullets from all directions.
Even without the Superhuman Hearing Mode, each preset delivers excellent audio. Natural Sound is meant to replicate audio as intended by the creators, and the other presets are meant for boosting bass, treble and voice. The Voice Enhancer is the least useful as it cuts on depth too much, resulting in a slightly hollow acoustic. Both Bass and Treble Boost provide a nice punchiness to explosions and gunfire, although they muffle high frequency sounds when Superhuman Hearing Mode is deactivated.
"Considering its tournament-brand labeling, the XO Seven Pro is built for mobility and longevity. It’s constructed like a tank, but feels remarkably light when gaming for longer periods."
Mics on gaming headphones don’t typically impress, but considering the MLG sponsorship, Turtle Beach has gone above and beyond in delivering what may be the best headset mic I’ve tested in years. The removable mic boom comes close to studio quality, offering three presets that adjust according to ambient noise: Quiet Room, Normal Room and Loud Room. The Game/Chat Balance tuner allows for further tweaking, which is great for those who want the game sound to decrease when chatting, or vice versa.
Considering its tournament-brand labeling, the XO Seven Pro is built for mobility and longevity. It’s constructed like a tank, but feels remarkably light when gaming for longer periods. The XO Seven Pro is completely matte, leaving no room for fingerprints to ruin the beautiful design. Despite its density, the headset never generates any heat, and the leathery cushions wrap snugly around the ears.
"The XO Seven Pro is absolutely superb, offering a revolutionary Superhuman Hearing Mode that crushes its competition."
The XO Seven Pro is primarily an Xbox One headset, but because it uses a traditional audio jack it works on all mobile devices, as well as the Playstation 4. Omitting the Xbox One audio dongle still offers excellent sound, but the inability to switch between presets or even adjust volume is unfortunate. But even without the advanced features, the XO Seven Pro works wonderfully on the PS4 and when listening to music or chatting on mobile devices.
Microsoft’s Xbox One finally gets its definitive, dedicated headset with high-end audio performance and long lasting comfort. The XO Seven Pro is absolutely superb, offering a revolutionary Superhuman Hearing Mode that crushes its competition. You don’t have to be a professional tournament gamer to enjoy all of its state-of-the-art features. If you’re an Xbox One owner and want to further immersion in your games, the XO Seven Pro is a necessity.
Review by: Tin Salamunic