As many of you know, I’m an avid PS3 user. Sometimes that use isn’t necessarily for games, but I do fire it up almost every day.
Once I got my PS3 several years back, it became obvious that I was going to need a pair of headphones at some point. I decided to go with the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21, and I’m glad I did. I love these things!
Let’s (not) make some noise..!
Since I’m an apartment-dweller, I always feel bad whenever I’m blasting a game or playing real late into the night (I’m a bachelor who mostly works for himself, so pretty much no time is off limits). I’d bought a decent audio setup, but I felt bad for the neighbors when I was blasting it, and it curtailed my enjoyment of the game.
My solution at the time was a pair of semi-decent audio headphones, so I started plugging them into my system when it got too late.
The only problem was the cord wasn’t very long, so I had to both move my PS3 out a lot further into the living room, and sit much closer than I would like the TV.
When you’re playing the type of games I like, there might be some jump scares or action that makes you flinch, and all it would take is one quick motion and I’ve yanked out the audio jack. With my setup the jack would usually fly out and then smack me right in the face.
Then when I jumped up quick to plug it back in, I would realize that I had forgotten to hit pause. So while I’m trying to re-situate my headphones, whatever enemy is currently on the screen at the time is persistently whaling on me while my character just stands there, perfectly content to get his ass kicked as I scream out “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!”
So as you can see, me yelling out “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!” every ten minutes actually results in more noise than just playing through the speakers, anyway.
It was time for a new solution
The call of Wireless Headphones
My first thought was to pick up some fancy wireless headphone so my mobility would not be restricted as I played. Nothing but the best – after all, nothing’s too good for me.
Or is it?
After I saw the price on those wireless headphones I had to back pedal a little bit. Yes, some things might be too good for me.
Check out these headphones to get an idea of the general cost of these wireless gaming headphones:
Turtle Beach Ear Force PX5 – $249.95!
A50 WIRELESS HEADSET – ASTRO EDITION – $299.99!
Wow, right? These are newer models, but even a few years back when I was first looking the prices of these wireless gaming sets initially shocked me.
I do alright for myself, but I’m just trying to play some damn games here, people. I’m not really looking to spend all that much on this type of thing. That’s about as much as a gaming system itself!
That said, I did spend $500 on the PS3 system alone, but at the time it was a deal – the PS3 started at $600, remember? Yeeesh.
So I had to put the whole wireless thing out of my head. After all, exactly how mobile did I expect to be while I was playing. This wasn’t a Nintendo WII, it was a PlayStation 3, so my butt would be firmly parked on my sofa for the most part (excepting rage-induced, controller-throwing freak-outs).
Turtle Beach to the Rescue
Now that I had new parameters in mind, I really just needed a long-ass cord. I went looking for some good, comfortable wired headphones. Perusing the gaming sites I ran across the Turtle Beach brand, and looked into them.
The PX21 had a lot of good reviews so I decided to order a pair – especially since the price was under $100. I ended up paying about $80 + shipping at the time.
The construction on these is very sturdy, they feel solid and have a comfortable weight on your head, plus the earpieces are padded so you aren’t chafed half to death after a session. Also the cord is 16ft long, so I had plenty of slack to move around with.
When playing, I noticed that the games were much more immersive and some were downright scary. You can hear all of the ambient noise and the little sound effects you might not notice if the sound is just coming right out of your TV or speakers.
I remember playing the demo to Dead Space and freaking out a couple of times:
After playing through Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, being immersed in the game really made it feel like I had been on an adventure:
At first it was a little weird to me, always putting on these headphones to play a game, but soon it just became the most natural thing in the world.
In fact, not only do I play games with this thing, but I also watch TV and listen to music with it all the time. I can crank up the volume to as loud as my ears can handle, and not bring the roof down on myself or disturb others. It seems odd to me now when I hear the sound coming out of my TV because the deep bass and light background sounds can get lost.
Those of you that do multi-player gaming can use it to chat and hear the in-game sounds, as well.
There’s a separate “control panel” on the cord where you can mute the chat sounds but keep the game sounds if the usual online suspects are annoying you. You can also enable or disable your own mic from there, too.
Mac gets in on the action
You can also use the PX21 on your computer. I use a Mac, and for me it was a simple as plugging it in and changing the audio settings in the System Preferences.
I didn’t have to download and install any drivers or anything. The Mac just recognized it and I was off to the races. I assume the same thing will happen on Windows since I don’t see any call for drivers on the box or inside.
The biggest thing I use it for is Skype. It works great for Skyping and any other sort of audio conferencing platform you like to use.
At this point I have two of these things lying around, so I have one plugged into my mac and also into my PS3.
RECORDING TUTORIALS and GETTING IN THE GAME
I haven’t done too many video tutorials these days, but when I did I always used the Turtle Beach. I’m not sure if this is the best mic for that sort of thing, but it was serviceable. At least people never complained that they couldn’t hear me or that the mic was otherwise annoying.
For true audiophiles a headset like this without using some sort of studio or mic poppers (aff. link) is likely just not good enough, but it worked in a no-fuss no-muss way for me so I feel like it was a good investment.
Even more, I’ve recently considered doing some video game walkthroughs like some of my favorite YouTubers. I’ve written a couple of times about these guys who record their video game session and provide their own commentary on top of the game sound.
Just as a test I hooked up the PX21 to my TV as usual using the RCA jacks, then hooked the usb port right into my Mac. This way I could still hear the game audio in my ear, and yet talk into the mic and record into a program like Audacity.
It might depend on how close your computer is to the TV if you can pull this off or not. You could always get a usb extender cord if necessary.
Also, I have no idea if Audacity is the type of program these guys use or not, but it’s the only pure sound recorder I have so that’s what I would use.
I doubt I’d ever grow as large as some of those channels since I wouldn’t be doing it full-time, but it’s something I’d like to try just once for myself and any viewers who’d like to experience a game with me.
My buying advice
If you’re in the market for one of these, you can always pick one up from Amazon:
So, that’s my affiliate link. Meaning that if you click this link and buy it, I’ll get a percentage of the sale from Amazon. Even if you don’t buy it, you should at least click over there and check the reviews. They’re overwhelmingly positive, although there’s always some unsatisfied customers in the lot.
Now, with that said: I would actually recommend that you do not buy from Amazon, or any other online vendor.
Geesh. I’m not very good at this sales thing, am I??
Hear me out, though. I’ll explain my reasoning. These are some great headphones, and they last a long time -but nothing lasts forever.
It happens with all headphones. There will come a point when you’ll get a short in the cord, and you won’t be able to hear anything out of one ear. For whatever reason, it’s usually the right earpiece that goes out for me.
I don’t know about you, but very few things annoy me worse than this. I can’t stand it.
When I got my first pair online, there was nothing to be done but to send it back and get a replacement. Obviously this can take at least a week if they’re on the ball, and more if not. Usually not. Turtle Beach has a limited 1 year warranty on these headphones, so you should be covered for that long if you go that route.
If you check the image above, you’ll see that after that first time, I decided to go with the Best Buy in-store warranty instead. So the total in-store cost was about $80 plus an extra $15 for the warranty, but to me it was worth it. You can get close to $15 for shipping sometimes anyway.
As you can see, there’s a ton of receipts there. Whenever I get a short, I just take a 5-minute drive back over to Best Buy and grab another one (I still have to buy the warranty again). Checking over my receipts, I can see it was an average of 6-7 months before I’d be back at the store.
My headphones get a lot of use though, so if you’re a lighter user they’ll likely hold up a lot longer than that.
If you’re close to a Best Buy or a Gamestop or another electronics store, I’d recommend getting it locally first.
TIP: Try to check online or call and see if they have it in stock before driving over there. One time they didn’t have that model, so I decided to get the next model down, the P11. Boy was that a mistake. Compared to the PX21, the sound was kind of hollow and tinny, plus the construction was not as good. It felt very light on my head and the earpiece padding was definitely inferior to the PX21. You can’t go backwards in quality! Or at least I can’t…
Anyway, not everyone lives close to a Best Buy or other electronics store, so this may not be an option for you. If not, then consider ordering from Amazon, or better yet check out sites like Pricegrabber.com or Nextag.com so you can do some comparison shopping.
I tend to use Pricegrabber more than anything. Although I rarely take the rock-bottom price because it’s usually from some store I never heard of with bad reviews, or no reviews at all.
THE WRAP UP
Normally I don’t do too many product reviews, but I had just recommended these to a friend of mine, and I thought I’d go ahead and write this up since I was raving to him about these headphones so much.
If you’re in the market for a good gaming headset I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these PX21’s. Even though there’s definitely better, higher-priced/wireless models out there, for a sub $100 offering I think these are a great deal, so go get yours!
If anyone has any headphones they swear by or would recommend please leave me a comment. I probably wouldn’t switch myself, but if anyone ever stumbles onto this page and they’re looking they might appreciate some more recommendations.
I’ll leave you guys with the promotional video I just recently found from Turtle Beach. I don’t really know if all this was necessary but I guess some people would base their purchasing decision on something like this.
Even though I’ve had these for years, I made sure to sit through the video just in case he said something like “the PX21 emits harmful gamma radiation…” or something like that. Luckily, he did not…whew.
So on that note, I’m outta here. See you guys next time!