Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 Xbox 360/PC Gaming Headset Review


The Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 has been the best selling Xbox headset in history, bringing superior gaming audio to console gamers at an affordable price. The Ear Force X12 improves upon this highly successful design with larger drivers and vastly improved sound quality. If you're still rocking the stock Xbox 360 headset, these reasonably priced cans are definitely worth a look.


The Turtle Beach X12 is the definitive headset for gamers seeking amazing game sound, crystal-clear communication and enhanced comfort – all at an unmatched value. The X12 features massive 50mm speakers, delivering superior audio quality with crisp highs and deep, rumbling lows. The in-line amplifier puts you in control, with quick access to independent game and chat volume controls and variable bass. If you're serious about gaming, then get serious about the sound. Step up to the X12 and experience game audio like never before.

Amplified Audio

Enhance game sounds for a more immersive gaming experience

Microphone Monitoring

Hear your voice in the headset, so you won't have to shout to hear what you're saying.

In-line Amplifier

Independent controls allow for quick adjustments to game audio and chat volumes.

Variable Bass Boost

Add depth and realism to the gaming experience with strong yet clear bass.

USB Powered

A USB connection provides power to your amplified Xbox 360 headset - no AC adaptors or batteries necessary.

PC Compatible

Delivers the ultimate gaming experience with the Xbox 360 and PC platforms.




  • 50mm diameter speakers with neodynium magnets
  • Speaker Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20kHz, >120dB SPL @ 1kHz
  • Condenser Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz
  • Cable Length: 16 ft. (4.87m)
  • Weight: 6.4oz (233g)

In-Line Amplifier

  • Headphone Amplifier: Stereo DC-coupled, 35mW/ch, THD <1%, Frequency Response: DC - 30kHz
  • Bass Boost: Variable up to [email protected]
  • Mic mute switch
  • Maximum analog input level with volume control on maximum setting: 2Vpp (700mV rms)
  • 3.5mm plug for line input
  • 3.5mm plug for mic output
  • 2.5mm Xbox 360 controller input jack
  • USB connector for power (5VDC @ <60ma max="" em="">
  • Dimensions: Height 0.5in (1.27cm), Width 2in (5.08cm), Depth 0.75in (1.905cm)



Aside from a few subtle changes, the design of the X12 is practically identical to that of its predecessor, the X11. An attractive green and black color scheme conveys the headset's Xbox compatibility. Embossed lettering graces the adjustable headband. We thought the fit to be somewhat loose, but still quite comfortable thanks to the X12's mesh cups and lightweight plastic construction. A flexible microphone boom is flanked by a swivel joint and a removable mic windscreen. The microphone boom was very difficult to rotate, requiring two hands to do so, although we suspect this was an issue unique to our review unit. A velcro loop helps wrangle in the 16ft cord, something that console gamers should appreciate as it puts them at a comfortable distance to the TV.

Turtle Beach headsets, not traditionally known for their durability, have transformed into rather impressive contortionists. The X12's joints and swivels feel quite sturdy and both the frame and mic boom don't mind being bent into awkward poses. The slender build of the mic boom and lightweight cup swivels shouldn't be an issue for those who take good care of their kit, but we still question the X12's ability to take abuse over the long term.


 The X12 comes with an RCA splitter with passthrough for connecting to your television when using the composite video cables for an Xbox 360. If an HDMI cable is being used, the RCA splitter can be routed to the console using the Xbox 360 audio adapter dongle. The included Talkback Cable connects from the headset's mic cable to the mic port of the controller for chat support over Xbox Live. The sturdy In-line Amplifier has three dials for chat volume, game volume, and bass boost, as well as a mic toggle.

Something that really sets the X12 apart from other headsets is its Talkback feature, which transmits your voice back to you when you talk into the mic. The effect isn't pronounced enough to become bothersome, however it was still somewhat hard for us to get used to hearing our own voice as we chatted with others. We eventually grew to appreciate the added clarity that this feature added to our conversations, helping us to correct ourselves when we were mumbling sentences incoherently.

At $60, the X12 is priced just cheaply enough for us to forgive its lack of any surround sound. That added immersion will cost you $80 in the form of the Turtle Beach DSS2 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound Processor. The processor delivers 360˚ audio from auxiliary and analog inputs through an optical connection while under USB power. You can adjust the surround sound angles and play with the equalizer presets, but this is a rather expensive add-on considering its limited options. We were extremely impressed by the 5.1 virtual surround sound produced by the Plantronics Gamecom 780, a much more comfortable headset that can be had for the same price of $80.



If you are an explosions junkie, you will be happy to know that Turtle Beach has sized up the drivers on the X12s to a respectable 50mm to deliver a healthy dose of bass. A small amount of distortion at high volumes made us less inclined to crank these cans on a regular basis, but the performance is very respectable for a $60 headset.


The chat performance of the X12's is superb. Not only do the voices of everyone in the party come through crystal clear, the Talkback feature of the X12 allows you to hear your own voice above the action. Independent mic and game volume dials located on the control unit give you fine control over your listening experience.

Connecting the X12 to an Xbox 360 requires a grand total of 7 connections to be made between the headset itself, console, controller, and television. Once everything is in order however, you can be up and fragging faster than you can say 'double kill.' Switching over to Mac or PC is as simple as plugging in the mic and audio line out plugs, however the control unit will still need USB power in order to function.


Final Thoughts


We keep seeing a growing number of headset manufacturers refreshing their product lines with models that have bigger drivers, more connectivity options, and better durability, and the Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 is no exception. It offers even more bang for the buck than its predecessor. Although we believe the simple volume controls present on the X12 could be relocated to the ear cups, this modification would most likely add quite a bit of bulk to a relatively low-profile headset. Xbox gamers will have no problem justifying the purchase of this headset, as its performance is head and shoulders above Microsoft's offering. Picking up the X12 to use with a PC is slightly less compelling, but these cans are a fantastic buy at $60 and should easily satisfy your craving for full sound, chunky bass, and crystal clear VOIP calls. Granted, the headset is devoid of any surround sound capabilities out of the box, but the purchase of Turtle Beach's Ear Force 7.1 DSS2 system can quickly change that if money is no object. If you're looking to give your PC/Xbox cross-platform gaming experience an upgrade, look no further.


The Good

The Bad

  • Excellent chat performance
  • Slim profile
  • Improved durability
  • Large number of connections required for Xbox usage
  • Pricey surround sound upgrade


Did we miss something or have you found any inaccuracies?  Suggestions and corrections can be sent by commenting below or the "Contact" button at the top of the page.  Your feedback helps us improve!

You have no rights to post comments