Turtle Beach Elite Atlas evaluate: The professional headset that drops the ball

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Turtle Beach struck best gaming headset gold with their mid-range Atlas Three, and now it’s the flip of their top-end PC headset, the Elite Atlas – and you recognize it’s the large costly one as a result of it says issues like ‘pro performance’ and ‘designed with leading esports teams’ on the entrance of the field. Indeed, at a princely £85 / $100, the Elite Atlas is likely one of the extra pricey gaming headsets I’ve checked out in a while. But is that this esports-ified headset actually value stumping up the additional money for? Here’s wot I believe.

For starters, you may undoubtedly see the place the additional cash’s gone over the Atlas Three right here. Instead of a easy plastic shell with fairly budget-looking padding, the Elite Atlas comes with a really Steelseries Arctis 7-esque metallic and suspended padded headband, in addition to bigger, comfier ear cups with a classy-looking reflective end. Made from reminiscence foam, leather-based and one thing Turtle Beach calls ‘athletic fabric’ that feels a bit like stretchy operating gear, this undoubtedly appears to be like the a part of a high-end gaming headset.

Or not less than it does while you first get it out of the field, as a result of after a few weeks on my desk it appeared a teensy bit scruffy. Dust had settled within the rubbery joints between the internal and outer ear cup, which was extremely tough to take away and clear as a consequence of it sticking like glue to the floor, and the reflective sides have been affected by fingerprints, small scuff marks, and bits of cat hair. Fortunately, the reflective bit is definitely a magnetic plate, so you may all the time swap them out for one thing a bit totally different should you fancy switching up the look of your headset additional down the road, however I used to be nonetheless dissatisfied they even obtained thus far within the first place, particularly when alternative speaker plates value one other twenty quid a pop.

The Elite Atlas may be very snug, although, and I didn’t actually expertise a lot head pinching in the course of the course of my testing. The headband isn’t fairly as versatile because the Arctis 7, all informed, because it solely has three, mounted phases of adjustment, however I discovered the center setting to be simply high-quality. This ought to hopefully give it loads of leeway for these with even smaller heads than mine, in addition to these with barely bigger heads, and it undoubtedly appears like a extra balanced little bit of design in comparison with Turtle Beach’s massively outsized Elite Pro.

The audio high quality was additionally fairly swish, producing an immersive and thunderous soundscape in Doom that basically let me get swept up in its fast-paced motion. To an extent not less than. While the howling Martian winds and industrial soundtrack felt very open and atmospheric, every blast of the Super Shotgun felt weirdly empty and hole. It nonetheless had a way of heft to it, however that deep, guttural approximation of the phrase PHWOAR was utterly lacking, which left it feeling a bit limp and deflated.

I felt the identical method in regards to the accompanying directional sounds, akin to imps lobbing fireballs over my head and plasma hearth coming from the opposite facet of the map. As a lot as I may inform the place it was all coming from, the sounds have been a tad muffled in comparison with different headsets I’ve used up to now, and I believe it’s in all probability as a result of the remainder of the soundtrack was overpowering them a bit.

It’s one thing I observed in Final Fantasy XV as nicely, though right here it was the alternative impact. While the orchestral soundtrack sounded stunning in isolation, it obtained instantly began to get a bit misplaced each time Noctis and co opened their mouths. In truth, their voices have been so loud in comparison with the remainder of the soundtrack that it felt like they have been shouting down my ear canals. The zips and zaps of battle got here throughout in a lot the identical method, too, making each sound extremely indifferent from what was occurring onscreen.

Thankfully, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice sounded much more balanced after I ran by the game’s opening cutscene, however I nonetheless felt the necessity to flip the amount down each every so often to forestall the voices inside Senua’s head from turning into too overpowering. The whispers and snickers have been splendidly crisp and clear in opposition to the rumbling thunder and ominous strings, however often all of it obtained a bit a lot, like I used to be being shouted at once more regardless of their voices being all mushy and soothing.

The Elite Atlas has single and twin 3.5mm audio connections through an adapter that comes within the field, so you should utilize it with laptops, consoles and telephones in addition to PC.

It didn’t assist that I saved being distracted by the Elite Atlas’ braided audio cable, both, which I may hear transferring in opposition to my collarbone each time I moved my head or shuffled about in my chair. It’s fairly a heavy factor, due to the inline quantity and microphone mute management, so it finally ends up sitting fairly near your physique. Admittedly, I didn’t discover it in any respect enjoying Doom because of the sheer quantity of issues happening in that game, however it actually ruined the ambiance in each Hellblade and Final Fantasy XV.

It’s a disgrace, however not as a lot because the headset’s bizarre balancing points general. It may, after all, have one thing to do with the truth that Turtle Beach’s 50mm ‘Nanoclear’ drivers have been “created specifically for esports”, in response to the product web page on their web site, however given the way it prioritised the voices in Final Fantasy and not the gunfire in Doom I’m not so positive that’s actually obtained something to do with it.

The flexible, detachable microphone, not less than, was very clear certainly. There was fairly a little bit of background hiss after I recorded myself talking in Audacity, reality be informed, however I rapidly found that was as a result of I had the amount management turned all the way in which as much as max. Knocking that right down to a extra acceptable degree, the hiss was so much, lot quieter. Still there, however undoubtedly much less noticeable.

As a extra common pair of headphones, the Elite Atlas additionally fared fairly nicely. My Final Fantasy XV soundtrack over in iTunes was a contact muddy in locations, notably the strings in busy battle theme Hunt or be Hunted, however there was loads of element elsewhere within the orchestral swell of my Octopath Traveller and Heaven’s Vault soundtracks. Rock and pop songs have been additionally pretty and clear, providing an excellent steadiness between the vocals and accompanying backing tracks. There was maybe a really slight bias towards the bass facet of issues, however general it felt much more even than my in-game experiences.

Overall, although, I believe the Elite Atlas is a little bit of a combined bag. As a lot as I favored its immersive bass and crisp sense of readability, I used to be much less eager on the way it married the 2 collectively. With so lots of my take a look at games feeling a bit lopsided throughout testing, I discovered myself more and more eager for the £50 / $60 Atlas Three as a substitute, whose bass you may tailor a bit extra to fit your wants. It is probably not what the professionals put on, however for me it’s undoubtedly the MVP of Turtle Beach’s complete Atlas line-up.