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We’ve said before that Turtle Beach offers very high-quality headsets for consoles – especially if you tend to be an Xbox fan. So when a quality Xbox headset from TB comes our way, we tend to hold it to a slightly higher standard…even with a lack of Xbox One-specific headsets on the market. Did this headset meet our enthusiastic expectations? Was it as good as the Turtle Beach Elite Pro – Best Headset for Competitive Gaming? Can it give the best gaming headset a run for its money?
Continue reading our Turtle Beach Ear Force XO Seven Pro Premium review to find out!
Price: $106 on Amazon
Model: XO Seven
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Ideal Xbox One design with great audio presets.
What We Liked
What We Didn’t
Related: If you like headsets with surround sound, check out our Tritton Ghost Recon Future Soldier 7 1 Surround Sound Headset review.
The design of the XO Seven Pro is precisely what it needs to be: Turtle Beach knows what they’re doing, end of the story. The earcups have some of the best size and fit in the console world – although they might be slightly too small for certain ears. The Pro model wisely upgrades materials with softer pleather and an extra-cushy headband, but overall the headset still feels durable; it can probably survive a boisterous family or dorm situation more easily than most gaming headphones out there. Compare this to the new SteelSeries 7H Fnatic Edition gaming headset.
Inside that durable design are a pair of 50mm neodymium drivers, which have apparently been tuned specifically for Xbox (spoiler: Sound quality was very, very good, but it’s hard to know what a description like that means).
Let’s talk about Xbox One headsets for a moment. Because of Xbox compatibility and licensing issues, it’s very difficult to find great wireless headsets that are truly wireless for the Xbox One – most require a tether, or cable hooked up to the controller, just like the headset the Xbox One comes with. It’s sort of wireless, but not really. The XO Seven Pro does indeed have this tether (a couple of pricier Turtle Beach lines, like Stealth and Elite, do have wireless options if you don’t mind paying). Fortunately, as tethers and controller adapters go, this is the way to do it. The tether is a thick, bungee-style cord made for durability, and the adapter has plenty of preset options, keeping buttons off the ear cups and on the controller.
Speaking of the controller, Turtle Beach brilliantly upgraded it to the Ear Force Headset Audio Controller Plus. The gadget looks the same, but it introduces some exciting new features. When you pair the Force Headset Audio Controller with your headset, you get to choose from various game, and mic presets, control the master volume, as well as balance the game and chat audio. You also get to add Superhuman Hearing and mic monitoring to the Earforce Headset Audio. Smaller decisions like this tailor the XO Seven Pro to consoles and the Xbox One in particular. It’s too bad this innovation didn’t quite carry over to the fairly standard plug-in and flexible boom mic, but at least you can remove it safely when you aren’t chatting. There’s also an in-line mic on the included mobile cable, an alternative arrangement that may fit your habits more comfortably.
Many Turtle Beach headsets allow a little room for fun – options for decals and more personalized plates on the ear cups are common. However, the XO Seven Pro model eschews these physical customization options for a sturdier, more professional look. If you’re a huge fan of personalization, then choose an XO model other than the Pro: There are fewer audio features, but more room for customizing the appearance.
Related: Also, check out our Turtle Beach Ear Force Z300 review.
Let’s get this out of the way: This headset is in stereo. Now, the XO Seven Pro makes that stereo do a lot of work, and there were times when I could almost convince myself it wasn’t stereo, but in the end, it was inescapable. There is no option for surround sound on this model.
I’m not sure why this is the case – quite possibly, Turtle Beach wanted to save surround sound for some of its other models and keep this line more affordable. However, it’s one mark against what is otherwise an incredible console headset. The sound quality is accurate, and as spatially aware as it can be, but it still won’t compare to a full surround sound headset, and it lacks a certain crispness found in more high-fidelity headphones, as seen in our best gaming headset round-up. This is far more noticeable in some games than others. The tense environments of Dark Souls III or sneak-attack games benefit greatly from the directional sound. The fast-pitch multiplayer FPS encounters on Call of Duty or the slot machine missions on Destiny don’t have as many uses for surround sound…and perhaps that’s another reason TB made this decision.
The XO Seven Pro also comes loaded with a number of presets, and the good news is that most of them are worth your time, with bass boosting, treble boost, “loud room” setting, and more, giving you plenty of options to tailor the sound to what and where you are playing. The bad news is that none of this is very customizable. You don’t get access to more PC-related features like audio controls that let you customize your presets just the way you want them. It’s one less thing to worry about, but it’s also one less option you have.
I’d like to call out the Superhuman Hearing preset individually, and not just because it has its own button. This mode aims to enhance quiet sounds for tracking or tactics. In practice, it behaves a lot like an overall sound boost, albeit one that tries to make the sound as atmospheric as possible. I enjoyed using it because it took me one step closer to surround sound, and unless you are in a particularly loud firefight, you should also try it out.
Finally, onto mic performance. The nice thing about these fully flexible Turtle Beach mics with large receivers is that it’s easy to find a position that works well for you. The boom mic can be unplugged when not in use, which I appreciated, although that also means rough play can yank it out. Variable mic monitoring came in handy as always and allows you to lower the volume of your own voice until it reaches tolerable levels. Nothing much new here, but if it ain’t broken, why fix it? Read our Turtle Beach Stealth 420X review for another great option from this brand, or you can read our guide on the top-rated Turtle Beach gaming headsets.
If you want the best Xbox headset you can find and only have around $100 to spend, I won’t hesitate to recommend the XO Seven Pro – hands down, it’s the best Xbox One headset for the money. However, you will miss out on some elite features, particularly fully wireless capabilities and surround sound. But if you don’t mind stereo sound with audio enhancement modes, this durable, comfortable gaming headset is easily your best option.
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