Bad gaming headsets abound. So can Turtle Beach’s reasonably-priced X12 measure up to its task?
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 vs Turtle Beach Ear Force X11
Turtle Beach might not be a household name, but the American company has been quietly churning out gaming headsets for years now. In fact, its Ear Force X11 was the best-selling Xbox 360 headset of all time, so there’s a fair bit of excitement about this replacement model.
The Ear Force X12 is distinctly more stylish than the X11, thanks to a stealthy black paintjob and Xbox-green palm tree logos on the cups, and underneath the shell lie hefty 50mm drivers.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 – connecting all the cables
Setting up the X12s is a case of running the audio cable to the headphone socket or stereo output of your TV, Xbox or amplifier, then plugging the shorter mic cable into the bottom of the Xbox 360 controller. You’ve then got to find a USB socket to power the headset’s in-line amp – you can use the one on the Xbox itself, and loads of tellies now have them, too.
However you do it you are going to have lots of long cables running across your room, and if that’s a problem you’re going to have to find a bit more money for one of Turtle Beach’s wireless models, such as the Ear Force X31.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 – chat and action
That in-line amp can control game volume and chat volume independently, can mute the built-in mic, and control the level of bass – although we wouldn’t turn the latter up too much as the bass quickly gets a bit fat and overbearing.
Bass aside, the X12s sound very good – sound effects and dialogue are clear, there’s lots of space and detail to the presentation, and it’s really easy to find a volume balance between in-game effects and other players’ chatter. And when you’re sick of being mocked by irritatingly capable American teenagers who’ve recently discovered swearing, turning chat off altogether is a quick flick away.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 – overly sensitive?
It’s worth bearing in mind that the mic is very sensitive and a bit directionless, so other players on Xbox Live may well be able to hear your cohabite clanging around with the pots in the kitchen, or your belle amour gently entreating you to “turn that ****ing thing off.” Not that any of this happened during our test, of course.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 review verdict
The Ear Force X12 headset isn’t perfect, then, but it’s still a capable and affordable option for those Xbox gamers who want a pair of headphones that still let you co-ordinate with friends and abuse your enemies.
Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 review
An affordable Xbox headset that delivers clear chat and bassy in-game effects