Are Turtle Beach Headsets Good

There’s a lot I really like about Turtle Beach’s new flagship wireless gaming headset, the Stealth Pro. It’s got the features you expect from a headset intended to do it all, from gaming to strolling – dual 2.4GHz and Bluetooth wireless, internal and external mics, active noise canceling for the audio plus noise-canceling mics, hot swappable batteries and more. And it succeeds, with first-rate mic and sound quality, a comfy fit and some excellent design touches.

But it’ll cost you. The headset comes in two models, one part of the Designed for Xbox partner program, and one designed to work with PS5/PS4 – both cost $330. There are no functional differences between the two; the Xbox model works with all platforms, while the PlayStation version doesn’t work with Xbox because of licensing and USB restrictions for that console. Otherwise, both work with the rest of the platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac, and Bluetooth devices.

Though it shares features with the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless, the less expensive Razer Barracuda Pro and others, the Stealth Pro combines almost all of them in one package, with one big exception: They’re stereo, and support surround only on the Xbox through Windows Sonic for Headphones. (Like all headsets, the PlayStation version can use Tempest 3D Audio.)

They have almost everything I like in a headset design. While they feel a bit heavy in my hand (I don’t have the exact weight), they don’t on my head. The leatherette-covered memory foam is squishier than usual, so they’re less prone to feeling like a vise; they’re fairly noise-isolating on their own, but with the ANC enabled you’re pretty much trapped in your own head.

There’s a remappable button and full-size dial on the right earcup. A removable, easily lost plug covers the boom mic jack on the left earcup.

Lori Grunin/CNET

As is becoming more common, the built-in mics can pass ambient noise through, and the Audio Hub software offers 11 levels of transparency. Like all the other solutions, the mics have a tendency to boost some frequencies, which means that certain types of sounds get emphasized and become more annoying than they would have been without ambient noise allowed through (for instance, my air conditioner).

It has a flip-to-mute mic which can be removed – my favorite combo – though the little cover for the jack is guaranteed to disappear five minutes after you take it out. The removable battery sits under a magnetic cover on that same left earcup. The wireless receiver is about the same size as the earcup and has a spot for charging the second battery.

You can swap them without losing the connection (provided you do it relatively quickly), which is important: I’ve had times when power dropped from medium to gone unexpectedly fast. I’d estimate I got about 8 hours per battery, which is on the low side. You can charge directly in the headset while in use, but there’s no way to use it wired, which is nice to have in a pinch.

The battery lies beneath a magnetically attached cover.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Turtle Beach makes a big deal over its 50mm drivers – wireless competitors stick with 40mm. They sound very good with a relatively wide soundstage for both games and music, but I wouldn’t say they sound notably better than the 40mm driver models and they have similar frequency response ranges. Given that I suspect the larger drivers are responsible for the shorter battery life than 40mm models, I don’t know that it’s worth the tradeoff. And the Superhuman hearing doesn’t necessarily make up for the directionality you can get from surround sound via Dolby Atmos or DTS Headphone:X.

The removable boom mic does work very well and delivers clear voice without noticeable processing artifacts with the noise cancellation – which also works really well. I didn’t even notice problems with the lack of a foam cover, though it’s also hard to get the mic close enough to your mouth that it becomes necessary. I ended up having to bump the sensitivity just to get a reasonable volume.

It’s rated for a range of about 50 feet (15m) from the receiver. If you have to go through walls, it seems like it’s a bit less than that – closer to 25 feet before the connection gets unstable or disconnects. It reconnects pretty quickly once it’s back within range though.


All the headset controls are on the right earcup: power, Bluetooth and Turtle Beach’s Superhuman hearing on/off (it boosts the sound of gunshots and footsteps) plus a button and wheel on the side, both of which can be remapped to other functions. The Bluetooth button controls pairing, media playback and call handling. But I really, really miss being able to turn Bluetooth on and off separately like you can on the Arctis. Because of the way Bluetooth is designed, the headset will always reconnect with the last Bluetooth device it was used with. That’s fine if you only have one.

But if you have multiple phones and tablets like I do, the game of “what are you connected to?” starts before any video games can. And in some cases it means either turning Bluetooth off or unpairing the headset from the device to keep it from happening or allowing you to connect to a different device. Since it takes a little longer than I’d like just to connect to the 2.4GHz transmitter, having to deal with Bluetooth makes me extra cranky.

The Superhuman Hearing button is easy to differentiate by feel from the power and Bluetooth, but the latter two are a little harder. More annoying, they all require a significant amount of pressure to press.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The buttons are also oddly hard to press; I need to grip the entire cup while pressing them in order to apply enough force. And the dial is really annoying. It’s remappable and defaults to volume but it takes multiple rotations to lower or raise the volume. One full rotation should take you from lowest to loudest – it takes somewhere around three to five for this one. And really, a volume control should not be optional. Plus, I’d love a way to select which rotation direction goes up and which goes down; my instinct is always to rotate forward for down, but its instinct is the opposite.

The software offers the usual essential equalizer and mic adjustments, chat boost and game/chat mix (which you can only control on ear for the Xbox) and so on. But it can occasionally be glitchy, such as sometimes requiring a restart to detect the headset and wonkiness in the equalizer preset creation.

The wireless receiver is a good size and well designed – I wish it had a second USB-C port to connect to both console and PC without having to swap cables.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The wireless receiver is typical, as I always prefer these standalone pucks to dongles, especially when they’re dual PC and console and require a switch flip. This one’s fine, with an LED stripe around it to indicate connection status, mic mute and (in theory) battery charge status. The problem is that there are cases where you can’t tell the charge status because it’s overridden by the connection status. Gimme two stripes, please!

There’s only a single USB-C connection for the console and PC, which is really annoying. For one, it means having to physically connect and disconnect the cable. And if you’re only connected to one or the other, why do you need a switch? There’s a charging-only USB-A connection, but it’s low power so can’t fast-charge a phone.

The Turtle Beach Stealth Pro has almost all the features and performance you expect from such a pricey gaming and general-purpose headset, but the way some of them are implemented can grate (or not) depending upon how much you care about particular functions. I find myself liking the headset a lot, at least until I run full-tilt into one of my disliked implementations.

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