Console: Xbox 360 Reviewer: Jon
* Easy setup, product supports multiple versions of the Xbox 360 and PS3
* Sound quality is excellent
* Noise cancellation is really effective
* Can become slightly uncomfortable after long-term use
* Being a wired headset could turn some users off
* Packs a $149.99 Price Tag
Let us be real here, no longer am I in the days of being able to crank Call Of Duty through my 5.1 Surround Sound at 2:00am. My teenage years are far behind, and having a family with a three-year old son severely limits the amount of solitary game time available. Usually this occurs in the late hours once everyone also goes to bed, providing me with a small window to dive completely into a digital world without distraction. This has its advantages, but also limits the ability to enjoy the immersive audio provided in some of today’s games at optimal levels. That’s why I was ecstatic to receive the Tritton 720+ 7.1 Surround Headset from Mad Catz. Finally, I would have the ability to once again crank the volume to maximum levels all hours of the day and maximize my digital experiences.
Sure, I have had my experiences with 5.1 Surround and with blockbuster titles like Battlefield or Call Of Duty it was never anything but amazing. Hearing the windows rattle with every explosion, multi-directional sound dictating the placement of soldiers on the battlefield and the ability to overpower any outside noise out you right in the middle of the action. Never have I used a surround headset and I always had a lot of curiosity on whether or not it could reproduce the same epic experience as a home theater system. So how was it? Read on my fellow gamers.
Product Quality: A
First impressions are everything and the Tritton 720+ hits the mark. After removal of the slip cover and making my way into the box, everything is presented beautifully. With all the components in their own place, the Tritton headset’s clean packaging really stands out. You may be asking yourself, why am I mentioning the package? Well to be honest, I was caught completely off guard with the impressive layout and presentation of this Mad Catz product.
I was immediately taken back to when I broke the seal on my Apple iPad. While it may be looked like as a small thing, it always gives the impression of a quality product. As you can see, the Tritton headset makes every attempt to take advantage of this technique. Luckily the product stands on its own with incredible construction. The headset feels durable and provides a pretty good amount of flexibility. Not only does each side extend as expected, but each earpiece swivels independently for maximum versatility and comfort. Each earpiece is packed with “Amplified 50mm Speakers with Neodymium Magnets”, but does that really mean? To be honest, I’m no technical whiz but for a slightly more detailed explanation you can go here. What I can tell you is that whatever they have packed in here works very well. Don’t worry though, we will get more into that later.
The padding on both the top headrail and earpieces are exceptionally thick, giving added comfort during use. One aspect that stood out immediately however was the removable microphone. The mic plugs into lower left earpiece and twists to lock into place eliminating the worry of the piece falling out. I enjoyed this addition very much as I don’t always like to be the most social gamer. This option gave me the freedom to enjoy the experience without having a bothersome microphone always in front of my face. The other positive aspect to this being the tight fit into the headset. I never felt like the lock was going to come undone and cause me to lose the microphone during a gameplay session. This could be a deal breaker to any hardcore gamer given some of the split second decisions that occur regularly during online matches. The slightest distraction could be the difference between life and death. I am happy to see due to careful construction this won’t be an issue.
In case you were wondering, this is a wired headset. For those of you looking for a wireless option, you may want to seek out a different product. The Tritton 720+ does however come packed with a 12ft cord giving plenty of room for any moderate game room setup. Worth mentioning is the included independent volume control box that will likely end up around you lap during play. This is extremely handy and features controls for both game audio and headset voice volume.
I had some concern at first when I looked at my setup options as I am still using a classic white “Arcade” style Xbox 360. Was this headset going to give me trouble since I didn’t have one of the newer versions of the console? I am proud to say, not at all. Luckily the Tritton 720+ has a wide variety of setup options no matter which console you own. That’s right, it can even be used for a PS3 giving owners of both consoles a great option without purchasing another console specific headset.
Outfitted with multiple cables and a few adapters, you shouldn’t have any issue finding the proper way to get this running on your console. The above image is of a simple diagram included showcasing the different options. For the most part it’s easy to understand, but I also managed to find additional resources online if needed. One small tip, the audio is delivered to the decoder box via an Optical Cable. ( Which is included ) But these are typically known to be kind of fragile, so handle with care. Also don’t forget to take off the protective cap on both ends of the cable. This could lead to some idiotic moments. 🙂
After a quick glance of the materials at hand, and a small consult of the above diagram I was able to figure out what setup was needed fairly quickly. Here is what my setup looks like.
If it looks like a bunch of cables, don’t be alarmed. On the back side of the decoder box I have the Optical Audio Cable, and the USB Cable. The USB Cable is used to power the unit so make sure you have one of those free. Those who already have their ports full may not like this aspect, but for it was perfect. With my console in the living room, I have a fair amount of products plugged in giving my power strip a run for its money. Having this USB powered, gives to me freedom to forget about what I have to unplug. But this is another one of those aspects that you will want to put some thought into.
On the opposite side of the box is the headset cable. (the 12ft one) Coming off of the volume control box is a jack for the controller adapter (also included) This is only used if you wish to use the communicator aspect of the device. If you have no interest in talking with your friends, leave it unplugged. The setup for this device was a breeze and everything came together as it should.
The Experience: A
Ok….Don’t worry, here is the part you have been waiting for. How was it? Short answer, absolutely amazing! But let’s get a few things out-of-the-way first. Sitting down I fumbled a bit with the wires, but once I got things situated I didn’t pay much attention to them being there. I noticed the biggest issue when I had to get up for small things. Letting the dog out, or reaching for my drink on a distant table presented slight inconveniences.
The other issue I had was with the initial comfort of the headset. The Tritton 720+ is a tight-fitting headset and can take some getting used to. On a plus side, this really served to almost completely cut out the ambient noise from the outside world. One drawback being some minor discomfort due to the earpieces adding pressure on my glasses. I am not sure if this is a common problem, but it took some fumbling to find the right resting points for both the headset and my glasses. I will say that after extended use, this aspect never added too much to the discomfort. I did find the tight-fitting headset to be slightly taxing after a few hours. I won’t say that it ever became uncomfortable, but once I would take them off I felt like a break was necessary. Depending on how good of a fit you are able to establish, this may produce slight discomfort after extended periods of time. But hey so can eyestrain right? Don’t let this aspect shy you away, it seems to feel worth it.
The sound quality is simply amazing. I find it really difficult to play anything without the headset on after experiencing the sound difference. The first introduction into the audio presentation was probably the best choice I could have made. I decided to break in the device with Call Of Duty: Black Ops II. I was greeted with the haunting soundtrack of the game’s title sequences which immediately had me salivating. The clarity of the simplistic piano and electronic notes had me memorized. One of the greatest strengths of an amazing soundtrack is the ability to invoke certain emotions without any additional influences. Whether or not the magic was credited to the soundtrack or the device, this headset allowed me to experience the title screen like I never have before.
Once a match started, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. 3D Directional Audio powered by Dolby Digital Technology, I mean this sound awesome but how good could it be? Sure I could tell where enemies are, but what more could this do? Hearing the match countdown, I noticed the increase in volume. “Ok, so it will be louder I thought.” After the start of the match I made a bee line for the center of the newly created Nuketown Map. Seeing my first enemy at a distance, I aimed down the sight of my Type 25 Assault Rifle and fired the trigger. Gunfire filled the headset in a way that can only be experienced. This wasn’t simply gunfire, this was an introduction to a warzone. After the first kill, the match continues as frantic as you can imagine if you have ever stepped into the online arena. Explosions are rocking my ears with as much bass and clarity as you could ever hope for. You don’t just hear the explosions, you feel them. The audio range is spectacular and during the chaotic presentation, never once did the Tritton headset fail to live up to the task. Gunfire, Grenades, Screams and Airdrops are all given excellent depth and presence. Feeling explosions land nearby, while hearing debris from bullets landing behind your body serves well to increase the amount of adrenaline pumping through your body. I went from the intensity of these matches being a 10, to having the experience jacked up to 15.
Curious about the versatility of the Tritton 720+, I decided to check out some additional titles. Halo 4 and Doom 3: BFG Edition were first up since they are new releases that should showcase some great audio. They both presented nearly the same kind of experience due them both being first person shooters. The 3D audio was present and it sounded great. Halo 4 had its brightest moment when the in-game soundtrack was at its fullest. So this product was great with shooters, but how about something different?
Next stop was NBA 2K13. What could the headset do with this audio? Aside from showcasing the emphasis on this year’s newly improved soundtrack, the Tritton 702+ gave this basketball game a touch I didn’t think was possible. While most of the audio seemed to get an added sense of clarity, the most impressive enhancement came in the form of the audience. Once you start to get a run going and hear the crowd cheering heavily and begin chanting, you will walk away a believer. Gone are the days of seeing this as a simple crowd, you have not have a packed arena with an audience that is capable of producing deafening chants.
A few other small things worth noting are the EQ Settings for Music and Movies. These options seem to work well and provide a small variety in sound options. The other being the Selectable Voice Monitoring Features that allows you to hear your voice through the headset when using the Microphone. Trust me, this is a bigger deal that what you may think.
With a well crafted headset such as this, an incredibly simple setup, and audio enhancements this powerful you owe it to yourself to invest in the Tritton 720+. It does pack a $150 price tag, so you may have to shuffle around some finances to make it happen. However, the audio quality is superb and brought a whole new element to every game I experienced with it. It is a great introduction to surround sound gaming that everyone should hear and is highly recommended. As a reminder, the biggest factor for most will be the wired aspect to this headset. If you are looking to dive into this new world of gaming, the Tritton 720+ will be a smart investment.