Product: Tritton Pro+ 5.1 Surround Headset
As console gaming progresses, the accessories and peripherals we as gamers use must come along for the ride somehow. But sometimes small upgrades, or changes to our existing tools of the trade can provide a surprise and change the way we play. The MLG Pro Controller (for example) was so good that despite my adoration for the wireless controllers current generation consoles use, I was turned back into a wired-controller user. The sheer build quality and feel of that particular unit changed things for me; it took an existing design and made it better.
And that is what Mad Catz have done with their Tritton brand of headsets. Already beloved by many, the AX models have been redesigned and repackaged with the “Pro+” and “720+” monikers, and in the case of the Pro+, it has definitely been worth it.
As you’d expect from anything with Tritton branding, the headphones are of an incredibly high build quality, with areas that adjust to suit the individual gamer’s needs. With comfort at the forefront of the design, the headset will slip gracefully over your ears and thanks to the adjustable nature of the Pro+, you can have it as snug as you’d like.
Customization has become a large part of any device these days, and the Pro+ allows unprecedented levels of this. You can adjust the volume for any given channel (front, rear, centre and subwoofer) on the headset controls, meaning you can shape the experience you get to hear according to taste. Another handy feature is that the game and voice volumes are separate, allowing you to get that mix just right. Don’t mistake this for full EQ control though, as without having visual feedback on a screen, it’s not easy to get the mix perfect, but having 4 actual speakers in each ear means that you aren’t hearing emulated surround sound at least, no, this is the real deal. Whilst I didn’t find the fact the device doesn’t use emulated sound to be a deal-maker, the audio produced by the decoder is seriously impressive in its own right.
As with previous Tritton headsets, the microphone is removable; this one is a simple 3.5mm headphone jack, which after plugging in requires twisting to lock into place. The headset is flexible too, allowing you move and twist to ensure it isn’t thrust into your face, nor throwing a muffled bass-laden sound across the internet waves to a friend in-game. You can’t really move it out of the way if you’re not using it though; it’s either in or out. Selectable Voice Monitoring is a nice touch too, ensuring you don’t disturb other members of your household or office by shouting. This feature allows you to hear yourself in real-time and is yet another volume adjustable feature. You can choose to hear yourself at top volume, or at a low level, beneath the other people you are talking with.
Aesthetically, the Pro+ looks the business. The glowing “T” logo on the side never fails to impress, but the volume controls also have backlit buttons, so you can happily play away into the night hours, and not have to fumble in the dark trying to adjust things on the fly. The gorgeous white finish really does make the Pro+ stand out in the crowd, as do the striking black lines and glowing lights.
Besides from how it looks and sounds though, potentially one of the killer features is that the Pro+ works with not just the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but also a PC or Mac. Coming with a plethora of connection options, you can choose to plug the Pro+ into a PC with full 5.1 surround sound, thanks to the AC-powered decoder box and an optical cable, or you can actually just plug the headset directly into your PC with the included adapter cables. The results are actually rather impressive too, as can be heard on the last few episodes of our weekly video game podcast, The Godcast, as I decided to test the device on the show for a few weeks. With some headsets when you press the mute button you may hear an audible click (or other noise), but with the Pro+, the mute slider causes absolutely no negative feedback, which is a must if you are using the device for audio recording on a PC or Mac.
VERDICT: It’s actually hard to find too many things to complain about with the Tritton Pro+, some may find the device a little on the heavy side if worn for extended periods of time, yet others may feel the price is a little too hard to take. The fact that the only way to get 5.1 is via optical may be an issue for some people, but it cannot be ignored that the Pro+ is an excellent revision and addition to the Tritton range. Sure, if you want the best out there, go grab a Warhead, but otherwise, if you can afford it, the Pro+ is a superb headset.