Gaming headsets made the jump from the PC to consoles when Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network brought multiplayer out of the study and into the front room, and Turtle Beach was one of the front runners. A whole host of wired and wireless headsets are beginning to appear now that the new console generation has arrived, and Turtle Beach has outdone itself with the Elite 800. One of the most comprehensive console headsets we’ve ever seen, it brings 7.1 surround sound to Sony’s PS4, as well as the PlayStation 3 and any other Bluetooth-compatible device.
Right out of the box, the Elite 800s feel every bit the premium headset. They may be primarily made from plastic, but the soft-touch finish, leather ear cups, cushioned headband and blue accents certainly give it the edge over the competition once you pull them over your ears. The cups rotate and the headband has plenty of size adjustment for a comfortable fit. The ear cups completely surround your ears, creating a tight yet comfortable seal that helps eliminate background noise. If that isn’t enough, active noise cancellation (ANC) can completely isolate you from the outside world when gaming; we could still detect the faint hiss of noise cancellation during play, but it was mild enough not to prove distracting. It takes a while to get used to speaking over voice chat with ANC enabled, as you can’t properly hear yourself – we found ourselves shouting until our teammates told us not to speak so loudly.
You don’t have to pull out a boom mic every time you want to talk; twin microphones are built directly into the ear cups. Voice clarity was perfectly clear when playing with friends, even with some mild background noise, to the point that in-game players couldn’t hear the other people in the room with us. You can mute the microphone, toggle ANC on and off, and adjust the headset and microphone volumes from the headset, using buttons on the ear cups. The faceplates pop off and an be replaced with custom plates if you want to customise your headset.
The Elite 800s are completely wireless, communicating with a base station that plugs into your console rather than trailling wires across your living room. Wireless range used to be an issue with older console gaming headsets, but we had no trouble moving around the room. Audio never dropped out and sound quality never faltered, even eight feet away from the base unit. You can’t roam around the house and stay connected, as walls will diminish the signal rapidly, but even if you go out of range it connects automatically as soon as you get close enough.
The base station has all the connections on the back, including a USB port for power and digital optical input for audio. You don’t have to worry about freeing up a power socket as it gets power from the PS4, and there’s even a digital optical output for connecting to your TV – meaning you can play using your TV speakers or an external sound system when you don’t want to pull on a pair of headphones to play.