Review: Sharkoon Xtatic Digital Headphones
Released: June 2010 (in US)
Website: Sharkoon Technologies
I have recently been given the opportunity to review a headset that you may not have heard about in the US, but if you are in the UK or Asia you will know about this headset as it has been around for a few years in those parts and has been a huge success. The headset is the Sharkoon Xtatic Digital Headphones and here are some of the features of the headset to look at before we get started.
• 5.1 channel headset
• 8 speakers (4 in each earpiece)
• Digital, in-line volume control
• High end amplifier
• Independent, illuminated volume adjustment for each channel and master volume
• Detachable microphone with QuickOn connect
As gamers we are always looking for next best thing to enhance our gameplay may it be with a new controller or new headset and if you are like me I am always looking for a new headset that will not only be comfortable on the ears but will be easy to use and sturdy enough for prolonged use and that will not only provide adequate sound but also be able to hear your friends while taking that headshot from across the playing field. The other feature we are looking for is a wireless set of headphones which these are not but soon it didn’t matter if they where wired or not.
I bring you the Xtatic Digital headset and my first impression. When seeing the headphones all packaged up I they look awesome, but that soon turned to what do I do next. Once the box was opened and all the pieces where placed around me I was in shock. What was I supposed to do, there are so many parts and all I want to do is plug these in and play some games. I put that feeling aside and found the instruction book (and yes I mean book as it is in many different languages) and quickly put that down as I found a small white sheet with the quick instructions and I was relieved as it didn’t look that hard to set up.
So began my journey into hooking these up to my Xbox 360 and to hear what they could do. I grabbed all the parts I need for installation on my Xbox and I was stopped short once I went to the back of my 360 and found no optical connection as I have my console hooked up to my TV with an HDMI cable and to hook these up I needed to use the cables provided by Microsoft with my console or buy the adapter (sold by MS) to hook them up to. So I weighed my choices. I could hook them up to my PS3 or maybe my PC or even my DVD player as the manufacturer provides all these things in the box to hook them up to anyone of them with out trouble but I still chose to try them out on the 360.
• PC / MAC / other sources: analogue input (via cable adapter)
• Xbox® / Xbox® 360: optical input
• PS2® / PS3®: optical input / USB microphone connection
• PC / MAC: optical input / analogue or USB microphone input
• DVD / other sources: optical input
• X-Tatic Digital 5.1 headset
• Cable adapter (9-pin analogue plug > 3 x 3.5 mm)
• X-Tatic Sound Control Unit
• USB microphone cable for PS3 and PC
• Power adapter
• Microphone connection cable for Xbox 360 (2.5 mm jack > 2.5 mm jack)
• Optical connection cable (S/PDIF)
• Manual (8 languages)
Once I finished changing cables I stopped to take in the headphones themselves as they are well built and fit comfortably on your head and really aren’t that heavy considering there are 4 speakers in each ear. The mic attached to the headset very easy and was just as easy to remove. The AC adapter included comes equipped with different plug types, so if my friend in the UK purchased a pair he would be able to use them as well as us in North America and changing the plug is as easy as pushing a button. The cables length gives you an amble amount of length to use comfortably without the fear of pulling your console clear across the room.
Now the excitement drew I was ready to power them up and see how they sound.
The first thing that was noticeable was all the lights that went on once I plugged them in from the green glow on the ear pieces to the blue glow from the inline volume controller they where just a sight to see. Now came the fun part to load up Battlefield Bad Company 2 and see how they sounded and if my friends could hear me and I if could hear them clearly. Once the game was loaded I put on the headset and felt the roar of the Digital 5.1 directly into my ears the sound quality blew me away and even when I took them off you could hear the sound quality very clear around your neck. The inline control was easy to use and I could turn the volume up or down on friends voices without disturbing the volume of the game. The sound was so clear I think I may have even heard sounds that the developer of the game didn’t know where there. When talking to others they had no issues with hearing me and some even commented they didn’t hear the static in my voice as they sometimes did when we where playing. With the talk and the sound of the game it felt as 1,000 little elves where in your ears making the sounds and voices individually as it was so clear and put you in the action just that little bit more due to the sound.
• Supports Dolby® Digital 2.0, Dolby® Digital 5.1 and Dolby® Pro Logic®
• Supports the chat function of PS3®, Xbox® and Xbox® 360
• Dynamic Range Control
• Center speaker: 2 x 27 mm
• Front speaker: 2 x 30 mm
• Rear speaker: 2 x 30 mm
• Subwoofer: 2 x 40 mm
• Impedance: 32 Ohm
• Microphone: 6 x 5 mm (L x W) / unidirectional
• Cable Length: 360 cm
• Connection: 1 x 9-pin analogue plug
With good comes the bad right? In the case of this headset all I can say there is one of thing I would like to see different and I don’t think it really falls on the manufacturer of the product, and that is the connection to the Xbox 360, because like I mentioned before it was a pain to change out cables to use the headset or go out and buy the adapter. But the product is very easily installed on the PS3 and on the PC just the 360 you have to be prepared for, because everything else you need is contained in the box.
Scott’s Final Say: I am going to wrap up this review and tell you this is an awesome headset even though it is wired. The sound quality is awesome and that is in comparison to other headsets you may already know but are priced at $50 higher. At $159.99 it may seem like a large investment but does sound quality and durability have a price? If it doesn’t do yourself a favor and check these out your ears will love you and so will your friends because it allows you to hear with the the utmost quality and comfort. This headset will make a fine addition to your gaming accessories and compliment all your games as you will hear them the way developers meant for you to hear them.