Over the past couple of weeks I have been putting Tritton’s newest surround sound headset, the Pro+ 5.1 Surround Headset for Xbox 360 and PS3, through its paces. This includes playing some games, checking out a movie or two, and even listening to a bit of music. The Pro+ is one of Tritton’s newest headsets to hit the market and has a trick or two up its sleeves in order to provide a solid sounding gaming headset. After having used this headset in-depth I figure I am ready to share my thoughts with you.
Tritton’s mantra is that every headset a consumer purchases from them will include everything in the box to set it up and use, and the Pro+ is no different. Once you open up the box you’ll soon discover that with all the included contents there is no need to head down to your local electronics or gaming store to pick up an extra cable here or extra plug there. Inside the box you will find the following contents that allows you to set up and enjoy your headset:
- Decoder Box with Dolby Digital Technology
- In-Line Audio Controller
- 12-Foot Cable for your Headset
- Removable, Flexible Microphone
- Xbox LIVE Connector Cable (1x ChatPad compatible, 1x No-ChatPad)
- Optical Cable
- Digital Audio Adapter
- USB Cable
- AC Adapter
Everything is neatly organized and put into the box, and as you go through the large amount of stuff it becomes evident that Tritton indeed has everything you need to hook up all the included gear. Having recently reviewed the Tritton Warhead Wireless Headset I was somewhat surprised to find that there was only one type of prongs for the AC adapter, and that was the prongs for North American outlets. The Warhead Headset had three different types of prongs to cover different countries with different plugs. Of note is that the Pro+ does not have an analog adapter for PC use. The European version does, so I find this strange that Tritton has overlooked North American PC users. It is also unclear whether or not the adapter that is included in the European Pro+ will be available to North American users.
Setting up the headset was not as hard as one would expect but it still takes some work. The Pro+ is a wired headset so there are quite a few cables to figure out. You have your power cord, headset cord, optical cable, and a cable to run from your controller to the volume/speaker controller for Xbox LIVE chat. If you are using your PS3 obviously there is no need for the Xbox LIVE chat cable, but you will need to use the included USB cable and plug it into a USB port on your PS3. This will enable you to chat via the Pro+’s microphone. You will also have to go into the menus of the Xbox 360 and PS3 to enable specific settings that let the headset act as your audio out and audio in (e.g. online speak). It is not as difficult as one would expect as long as you follow the instructions Tritton gives you.
This brings me to one of my biggest complaints, there is no instruction manual included in the box. There is a handy, and large, quick reference sheet, but there is no manual included in the box. You have to head online to download a PDF to your computer, and then you can read through it for find more detailed instructions. Where my concern lies here is that not all people are adapt at reading a quick reference sheet, and given the size of the manual online (21 pages) it would not have been much to include one in the box. Heck, the Warhead Headset had one, so why not this headset. For those who are curious you can head HERE to download the full manual and get a head start on seeing what it takes to get these headphones going.
Once I got things set up I took a nice long look at the quality of the hardware included and I have to say that I was fairly impressed. Overall the headset, and Dolby Digital decoder, looks quite professional. As the pictures in this review show, the headset is white with black trim. The recognizable orange Tritton logo is also prevalent on each speaker cup of the headset and when the headset is on the logos light up. They are not overly bright and actually look pretty good when lit. The decoder and volume/speaker controller are also white and both light up when everything is turned on. The decoder’s lights show which sound mode is activated. The volume/speaker controller’s lights are used to show you how loud your volume is and which button you press to adjust a specific speaker in your speaker cups.
The headset itself is very comfortable. There is faux-leather wrapped foam on each speaker cup and they fit quite nicely. It was breathable as I did not find my ears overly hot or sweaty during extended gameplay. There is even a nice piece of faux-leather wrapped foam in the band of the headset that goes over your head. I consider myself to have a good-sized head on my shoulders and at no time did I find the headset bothersome. It did not pinch nor was it loose. Given that this is a wired headset with a volume/speaker controller, you will find that if you are not close enough to the decoder, and you cannot clip the controller on your shirt, pants or shorts, it will actually weigh your headset down and can become awkward. Be aware of this as you’ll need to sit close enough so the cable is not stretched beyond its limit.
One of the unique features of the Pro+ is its claim of being a true 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound headset. Where this headset differs from other headsets in the Tritton family is that there are four individual speakers in each speaker cup. There is one speaker for the front channel, one speaker for the center channel, one speaker for the rear channel, and a larger speaker for the subwoofer. It is an amazing set-up and when you think about the fact that you have four speakers for each ear, and all within the confines of a headset, it is a pretty neat idea. But in the end it all about how it sounds and after gaming, watching movies, and listening to a bit of music, I would have to say that the Pro+ sounds damn good.
I mainly used this headset to game. I found myself playing Borderlands 2 the most, but I also played a little Castle Crashers and checked out some Darksiders II. To reference how these speakers sounded in comparison to full sized speakers, I used them in my media room where I have a full 7.1 surround sound set up using Klipsch Reference speakers and a 15-inch subwoofer.
After playing games with and without the headset I was left with the impression that the Pro+ does a great job of replicating a full sized surround sound set-up. In all the games I played, the directional sound effects were amazing and I was quite impressed with how solid the bass sounded while the mids and highs were well defined. The added benefit of all the speakers allowed each one to take on it’s role, instead of having all the sound coming out of one large driver. When playing Borderlands 2, and exploring the various environments, the howling wind in a sun scorched desert or the run off water of a snowy peak was very evident and very directional depending on how my character was facing. Explosions sounded great, gunfire had impact, and enemies swarming from all different directions were very marked too. As for Darksiders II, a game that I played when reviewing the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Headset, it sounded just as good when using the Pro+, if not better now and then in my opinion, even though the largest driver in the Pro+ is 10 mm smaller the single driver in the Warheads (40mm vs. 50mm). I attribute this to the fact that all the sound goes through separately assigned speakers. From the echo of running through caves, taking down the various enemies, to listening to the engrossing dialog of the voice actors, all the sound was solid indeed. All the games I played had very good music that was unique to each game, and all the various musical tracks sounded awesome as I played.
I do admit that I did not watch many movies using this headset, as I was too focused on gaming. That being said, I quickly plugged in my copy of the original Matrix on Blu-ray to watch the elevator scene, and I also briefly checked out I-Robot on Blu-ray as well, specifically the scene where Will Smith’s character is driving in a tunnel and he is attacked by wave after wave of robots. These two movies sounded great with a good use of directional separation, solid bass, and convincing mids and highs. Sure, no headset can equal the Klipsch Reference series speakers I have in my media room, but in all honestly the Pro+ was well up to the task at pumping out some great Dolby Digital sound from these movies.
I should note that Tritton does warn you about DTS encoded movies or games when using the PS3. They state that if you are using a DTS-compatible game or movie, and the “Dolby Digital” light on the decoder box does not illuminate, you must disable DTS 5.1 audio on the PS3. I didn’t use any games or movies of this nature, so I cannot comment on this.
As for any music, my time with some tunes off my Xbox 360 hard drive was very minimal. That being said, I did manage to listen to some Eagles, some Tool, and a small selection of various techno-music. All sounded quite good with various instruments sounding distinct and bass pumping out when needed. Again, I was quite impressed with all the drivers that were recreating the sound in the Pro+ speaker cups.
For those who want to fine tune their listening experience, although there is no built in equalizer for the Pro+ you can fine tune the individual volume level of the separate speakers. By pressing the assigned button (front, rear, center, sub) you can adjust the volume level of the speakers in the speaker cup to get that perfect surround sound experience. In all the time that I used the speakers, I only found myself adjusting the sub on a couple of occasions, as default settings sounded pretty good to me. This being said, it will all come down to personal preference in what you enjoy and how you want your volume levels.
Speaking of volume levels, the Pro+ uses different coloured LED lighting in the volume/speaker controller to indicate how loud things are. The lowest volume level is indicated with green and then from there it goes blue -> white -> cyan -> red. You control the volume with the master volume button. Voice communication is also individually controlled with its own volume button on the volume/speaker controller. Tritton has once again included their Selectable Voice Monitoring (SVM) in this headset. This allows you to monitor your own voice in the headphones. Upon activating it my voice came out loud and clear with all the other sound in the headphones. Some may find this a neat feature, and it can be nice to hear what you say, but you won’t use this feature all the time.
I found my time with Tritton’s Pro+ 5.1 Surround Sound Headset quite enjoyable. Some may think that that having four speakers in each speaker cup is a gimmick, but I found that the sound quality was very good and the overall surround sound experience was great. The only negatives against this headset are that they are wired, so it limits how big of a room you can use them in, and they are somewhat pricey. When checking out Tritton’s website the MSRP for the Pro+ 5.1 Surround Sound Headset is $219.99 for Canadians and $199.99 for those in the United States. If you are a serious gamer and you are looking for a solid wired headset with true 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, then you should definitely give the Pro+ a serious look given the great sound and solid build quality. I have no problem recommending this headset even though the price may scare some of those looking to purchase a unit like this.