TRITTON (by MadCatz) Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset for Xbox 360 and PS3 Review

tritton-pro-plus-ps3-xbox-360-gaming-surround-headset review

We were thrilled with Tritton's Kunai, which bears a similar appearance to Tritton's new Pro+ 5.1 surround gaming headset.  While the Kunai was meant maximize value for the common gamer looking for a high-quality headset, the Pro+ is an update to their popular pro-grade AX Pro headset.  The Pro+ is an evolved and refined product with a familiar Tritton aesthetic aimed to capture the hearts of hardcore gamers everywhere who know Tritton as high-end headset manufacturer, and we expect serious gamers to like the end result.

 

Overview


 

TRITTON Pro+ True 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset

TRITTON's Kunai Stereo Headset delivers a comfortable, high-quality full 5.1 experience for both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Neodymium magnets power the four drivers found in each earcup to delivery crisp and precise directional awareness. In-line controls allow you to quickly adjust the volumes of each channel and also how your microphone will operate, making sure you can hear, and be heard, just how you want.

  • True 5.1 Gaming Headset
  • Immersive 3D Directional Audio Powered by Dolby Digital Technology
  • Improved Independent Game and Voice Volume Control
  • Newly Designed for Extreme Comfort

 

Courtesy of Tritton

tritton-pro-plus-ps3-xbox-360-gaming-surround-headset

 

 

Features


Immersion. Isolation. Control.

Dominate the leaderboards with the TRITTON Pro+ 5.1 True Surround Headset. Featuring eight precision-balanced speakers that accurately reproduce a 3D sound field, you gain the competitive edge by hearing each and every disturbance within a game's atmosphere.

Individual backlit volume controls allow you to fine-tune each channel - - front, rear, center, and subwoofer - - while premium-quality ear pads deliver hours of gaming comfort. Avoid a late-night shouting match with Selectable Voice Monitoring, next-gen technology that allows you to hear your own voice through the headset.

Immersive 3D Directional Audio Powered by Dolby Digital Technology

Utilizing proprietary Dolby Digital technology, the Pro+ replicates the immersive feeling of high-end home theater setups. Envelop yourself in a richly detailed, 3D environment as 5.1 channels of sound collaborate to reveal previously hidden details within the backdrops of your favorite games.

The Only True 5.1 Headset for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Rather than rely on stereo drivers and emulated surround sound, the Pro+ houses four speakers in each earcup (Front, Center, Surround, Subwoofer), creating an adjustable, three-dimensional, true 5.1 audio experience with highly detailed channel separation. Just like 5.1-channel home theater setups, true discreet audio feeds each speaker individually. Frequency response is always optimal - - the subwoofer only has to produce lower frequencies, while the front, center, and surround speakers output mid to high frequencies.

Improved Independent Game and Voice Volume Control

If the chatter from your online rivals gets distracting and starts to hinder your gameplay experience, just turn a dial on the headset's in-line audio controller to quickly tune them out. Game volume can also be adjusted on-the-fly so you can drown out your foe's voice but still hear stealthy in-game footsteps creeping up behind you.

Flexible Performance Mic can be Removed when not in use

When not communicating over Xbox LIVE or the PlayStation Network and just listening to music or watching a film, a headset's microphone only gets in the way. Problem solved with the Pro+ 5.1 Surround Headset's removable solution - - it provides the freedom to use the mic only when necessary.

Newly Designed for Extreme Comfort

Headset comfort is of utmost importance during extended gaming sessions. The Pro+ keeps your ears comfy with its padded, adjustable headrail - - which extends an extra 1.25 inches on either side to accommodate a wide range of head sizes - - and soft, pliable earcups which encapsulate your ears in an immersive sound field while keeping ambient sounds at bay. A new, more flexible headrail improves both comfort and durability, and the earcups now swivel to provide a comfortable around-the-neck resting position.

New Easier Setup

An improved, easy-to-follow quick-start guide makes setup a snap. No matter which console or controller you have or how the console connects to the TV, the Pro+ is ready to go right out of the box. All required cables and adapters are included to help ensure you can be setup and playing within minutes.

 

 

Specifications


Frequency Response 25-22,000 Hz
Xbox Live Port?
Yes
Total Harmonic Distortion (THD)
<1%
Cable Length 12 feet
Magnet Type
Neodymium
Driver Size
30mm front and rear, 23mm center, 40mm subwoofer
AC Powered?
Yes
Ear Coupling Circumaural (over-the-ear)
Input Type Optical
Courtesy of Tritton

 

Packaging and Included Accessories


Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - PackagingTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Packaging Box Back

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Included Accessories

I still maintain that Tritton understands the unboxing experience.  The Pro+ is a premium product, and the package gives off the impression that the packaging deserves enough attention to properly match its contents.  When the plastic insert which neatly holds the headset is lifted, we find the Dolby Digital surround sound decoder box (and primary control unit), the AC power adapter, an Xbox Live connector, the boom microphone, an optical cable, a USB cable, and an optical audio output converter for the Xbox 360.


 

Design | TRITTON's Update to the AX Pro Surround 5.1

Gaming Headset


Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Overview

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Swivelling EarcupTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Detachable Boom microphone

Much like the Kunai, the same clean gloss white aesthetic looks fantastic and is subtly contrasted by the black stripe and padding on the headband and the orange Tritton logo.  The decoder box and in-line volume control match perfectly and the square cans carry along with it an identifiable design from Tritton's past designs. 

 

The earcups also rotate 90 degrees (actually more like 95, but I digress) which does two things for you.  First, it allows these to pack into a bag much more easily, and is also much safer since the earcups are less likely to get forcefully rotated, say if you sit on your bag.  Secondly, it allows them to rotate so that you can lay them on your shoulders if you're giving your ears/head a break during marathon sessions or in-between rounds at a LAN.  They also allow you to rotate out one earcup if you don't want to completely tune out your surroundings or if your mom/roommate/girlfriend try to ask you a question or tell you that your food is getting cold.  The swivel is rock solid, which is reassuring as swivelling mechanisms have historically been the first point of failure on many headsets I've owned.

 

The microphone has a large head on it to block external noises and maintain a directional focus aimed at your mouth so your voice comes through loud and clear.  The flexible boom allows you to adjust the positioning of the microphone easily, and even more importantly, it stays put firmly.  The microphone is also removable, and it is simply inserted then rotates with a reassuring "click" to lock into place.  It's a very nice design and will allow you to ditch the microphone if you don't need it.  While the Kunai bears the same looks as the Pro+, these cans are significantly larger (to accommodate the full surround drivers), but comes at a benefit of a very comfortable circumaural (over-the-ear) fit.  We'll touch on that more in a bit.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - EarcupTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Earcup Padding

The earcups on the Pro+ are phenomenal.  They're rather thin, fully envelop your ears, and the padding is slightly firm which gives a very comfortable feel without putting too much pressure on any one spot.  They're shaped in a way that distributes the force of the headband evenly around your ears, and they're good for many hours of continuous wear, something serious gamers will put high value on.  The inner portion of the earcups are neatly labeled left/right, although you'll find out very quickly if you put them on the wrong way.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Adjustable HeadbandTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Headband Padding

The headband is also very solid.  It has a firm springy feel without feeling too stiff.  Each side of the headband has a numbered extension so you can accurately match each side.  the headband is sleek and well-finished, with a low-profile yet comfortable headband cushion.  The temples bear the clean, grey PRO+ badge, identifying it from its similar-looking brethren.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - In-line Volume ControlTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - In-line Microphone Controls

The inline controls are shaped so that it fits comfortably in your hand.  Holding it in your left hand, your thumb easily moves the master volume rocker, and a quick press inward of the volume rocker functions as a mute button.  You can easily reach each of the channel buttons, a single press selects that channel, and the volume rocker allowws you to fine-tune the volume for that channel.  Press that channel again to bring up the master volume to adjust all channels equally.  I like to reduce the center channel volume a but to accentuate the surround directionality, and also boost the sub up a bit for thundering bass from explosions.

 

The right side of the inline control is where you'll find the microphone volume control, the toggle for SVM by pressing the mic volume rocker to hear your own voice (surprisingly useful), and the microphone mute button.  The bottom has a port for your Xbox Live connector.


Design - Dobly Digital Decoding and Processing Box


Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Dolby Digital Decoder BoxTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Bottom

The decoder box matches the headset brilliantly; it has a clean gloss white top and bottom contrasted by a black band around the sides and the orange Tritton logo laid front and center on the top.  The bottom is just as clean, broken only by the typical product sticker and four anti-slip pads which hold pretty well given their small size.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - DD Decober Box Front PanelTritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - DD Decoder Box Rear Connections

The front of the decoder houses all of the control functions.  The left has a similar volume rocker as the in-line control and the large center button is your master power button.  One thing I'd like to see, since the headset can be up to 12 feet away from the control box, is a master power button on the in-line control for those who like to game in bed.  The lights are all illuminated when the power is on, so if you game in bed you'll have to wiggle out of your comfy spot to turn it off using the decoder box.  The other buttons provide audio processing functions like Dobly Digital  PLIIx processing from a stereo input, a Time Delay (TD) button to fine-tune the delivery differential between the front and rear channels using the "REAR / CTR" buttons, the Dynamic Range Control (DRC) button which toggles automatic range processing, and a light which illuminates green to show whether you have a Dolby Digital source input or not.  The rightmost two ports are where you can connect your Pro+ (or two Pro Plusses if with a buddy).

 

The back side of the box has the audio inputs.  The primary optical input is seen on the right side along with the USB input for the microphone on a Playstation 3, and on the far left is the 9V power input.  The middle 3.5mm jacks are for passthrough of your sound to your receiver if you wish to have that available as well when you're not using your headset to hear from your console.  These cables were not included in our box, so you'll need to get those if you plan to use them.


 

Testing | Setup and Gaming, Music, and Movies on the Pro+


Setup

One of Tritton's selling points over the venerable AX Pro is that they've streamlined the setup.  Despite the daunting number of cables and connectors in the box, they've done a good job at making setup very simple.  First, plug in the decoder box to AC power, then connect the optical cable to your Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 (using the included adapter), and you're almost set.  From there, you connect the microphone input using the USB cable for PS3 or the Xbox Live cable to the in-line controller for the Xbox 360.  Finally, connect the headset to the decoder box, and you're set.  With a press of the power button, you'll see something like the image below.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Earcup and Controller Lights

 

The headset comes alive with the Tritton logo glowing nicely, the in-line controller glowing, and lights showing you what your current audio settings are on the decoder box.  The Tritton logo is very well-diffused and not too bright, which would be very distracting in dimly-lit LANs and competitions.  You'll notice on the in-line controller that there are different colors on each channel, which indicates the volume level of each one.  You can adjust the volume in small increments, and they'll change from red to blue to green as you reduce the volume, to give you a rough indication of what your settings are.  If you use the master volume to increase or decrease the volume all the way, they'll all return to the same level.  I'm not sure how they'd do it, but it would be great to have a way to adjust the volume up so that quieter channels don't become louder once a certain channel reaches max volume to maintain your settings.

 

Gaming

Our primary concerns when gaming was directional accuracy and, of course, sound quality.  First, since the flagship feature of the Pro+ is being the only true 5.1 headset in the console gaming arena (PC gamers have had a number of 5.1 offerings for some time, and we've used many to use as a basis of comparison).  To adequately test the directional fidelity of the Pro Plus, we focused on FPS games.  Since most of my experience with 5.1 headsets has been on the computer, I also played some familiar games like Battlefield 3 on the PC using the Pro+ (without the ability to use the microphone, even though it correctly registered as a communication device) by connecting to my motherboard's optical output.  I played many different games, and the ultimate test being a 1v1 with some buddies where I would hide and see how accurately I could hear them coming.

 

Long story short, these do a great job providing directional awareness of even cluttered combat arenas.  For the best results, I fine-tuned the time delay and the individual channel volumes, but I was able to hide and anticipate when an enemy would be coming around corners (don't flame me for camping, I was just testing!) and it does provide a competitive advantage in smaller games.  The Pro+ is every bit as good as some of the better true 5.1 surround gaming headsets we've used for years on the PC, which I was pleased to discover.  So far, so good.

 

Most of your favorite games will really take on a new level of immersiveness and the Pro+ provides a very good depth and volume to the sound that makes it sound as though you're in the game rather than the game being blasted into your ears.  Games with superb sound engines, like Battlefield 3, really give the game a whole new feel that will really captivate you until you grow used to it.  Many early adopters have complained about a low volume issue, and although these didn't go particularly loud, they were more than loud enough for our tastes, but we're not sure what we're comparing to, so we may have experienced the same thing without knowing it.  We expect it's already been fixed, or will be fixed very soon by MadCatz.  Overall, the sound is very good, as all channels have relatively large drivers.  The subwoofer is crisp and provides very clean bass, although I wouldn't mind if that channel was a bit more pronounced to accentuate the blasts found on a battlefield or the blast of a near-miss tank shell.  However, from a competitive standpoint, you don't want the bass overshadowing the sounds of your enemies' gunfire and/or footsteps, in which case you'd value crisp bass reproduction over dominating volume.

The Microphone

The microphone can make or break a headset for those looking for quick, clear, effective communication.  Again, to be brief, the microphone comes across very clean and crisp.  The large microphone head does a good job at capturing your voice, and not a whole lot else.  My voice was heard on the other end crisp and clear, and there isn't much left to desire, so another thumbs up.

 

Movies

Movies are simply fantastic with the Pro+.  For dorm rooms or if you want to watch a movie without disturbing anyone else, these are the perfect solution.  You get the benefits of a full surround sound system, plenty of cable to kick back and relax on the couch, and all of the audio beauty delivered by Dolby Digital processing.  The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan, my benchmark for surround sound systems, comes to life with booming explosions, bullets zipping around your head, shouts in the distance, and the Pro Plus makes this a joy without scaring your roommates or neighbors.

 

Music

The Pro+ does a pretty good job of listening to music, but it's certainly the weak spot compared to gaming and movies.  The Dobly Digital effects fall mute when listening to music, and since the drivers are each tuned for their own purposes, only the center channel will play for proper 2-channel listening, and with the 5.1 emulation with PLIIx, the results are a little muddled and a bit out of its element.  It's not bad, but it's not particularly great, either.  I don't really count this against the Pro+ much though, since this is probably last on its list when it comes to design importance.

 

Comfort

The Kunai was fantastic for comfort, and the Pro+ one-ups it again.  The circumaural fit feels great and allows for a voluminous fit around your ears.  The earpads are comfortable and distribute the pressure very evenly without being too squishy.  The result is that you forget they're on your head after awhile, and they'll comfortably rest on your head for as long as you're likely to play.  Tritton's website says they're redisgned for "extreme comfort," and they are extremely comfortable.  The fit also helps the immersive sound, as it creates a small cavity for the sound to really develop before bouncing into your ear canal.  The headband gives firm pressure, but it's not so stiff where it feels forced, and the headband size adjusts in small increments with a "click" heard with each notch, so you'll be able to find a way for it to fit your noggin.


 

Final Thoughts | TRITTON's Pro+: A Serious Gaming

Headest for Serious Gamers


We've had great things to say about the clean aesthetics of the Pro+, its comfort, relative ease of setup, good in-line controls, performance in games and movies, and the overall build quality.  The 5.1 surround works as good as we'd hoped, and stacks up well against some of the high-end PC true surround gaming headsets we've used over the years.  The directional fidelity is good, and gives a definitive competitive advantage in games with good sound engines and with relatively few players to hide the footsteps and gunfire of your enemies.  Larger games like 64 player battlefield have too much else going on to pick out footsteps, but in smaller competitive environments it can make all the difference, and makes it nearly impossible for your enemies to hide if they're moving around quickly.  Movies also sound great.  The decoder box gives you plenty of simple options to fine-tune the sound to your preference and the in-line controllers allows you to tweak individual channels, something serious/pro gamers will no doubt use heavily.

 

The build quality is great, and they should be capable of withstanding unrestrained rage moments, although we wouldn't recommend it.  The attention to detail is obvious throughout, and the entire package is clean and buttoned-up.  You don't get the feeling that there were any stones left unturned, and the execution, overall has been great.  One of the key redesigns is with regards to comfort, and Tritton got it just right.  These are exceptionally comfortable.  The swivelling earcups make travel easier and enable you to comfortably rest these on your shoulders when taking breaks between rounds.

 

Tritton by MadCatz Pro+ 5.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review - Wrapup

 

The big question then, is whether these are worth the $200 price tag.  in the PC space, this is a pretty steep price, as there are a number of 5.1 surround options available for about half that price that also perform comparably.  The Pro+ also has added value for multi-console gamers.  If you want a headset for both the PS3 and Xbox 360, you're usually going to have to buy two.  The Pro+ allows you to use one headset for both, which would help to justify its price.  The trifecta would have been if Tritton would develop drivers and/or a software utility to allow the microphone to work on the PC using the USB cable, for those like me who game on the PC and on consoles.  The Pro+ is for serious gamers, or for casual gamers who are easily parted with their money, as the $200 sticker price is as much as the console itself these days.  You get seriously good results for your money, but if the price could be brought down to about $150, it would be attainable for a much wider audience.  If you also plan to use the Pro+ to watch movies in your dorm or bedroom, these will work great for that as well.  If you're dead set on an ultra high-end headset, the Pro+ offers a lot of value when compared to other competitors in the $200+ price bracket, and we don't see any showstoppers that should keep you from being happy with it.

 

The Good

  • Extemely comfortable
  • Solid build quality, durable
  • Good directional fidelity
  • Immersive sound for games and movies
  • Easy setup
  • Good decoding options and fine-tuning
  • Pleasing aesthetics and sleek design
  • Multi-platform (PS3, Xbox 360, and audio on PC)
  • Detachable microphone, clear voice quality
alt

The Bad

  • Can only be fully turned off on the decoder box
  • Microphone won't work on PC
  • Many necessary cables
  • Bass could be more dominant
  • Music listening out of headset's "element"
  • Pro price tag ($200)

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Comments   

 
# Steve 2013-05-03 20:30
i have the previous version of these, the AX pro, and i only have 2 complaints that i WISH were addressed in this ( new ) version... 1) bass and treble controls and 2 ) DTS encoding support.. IF this version came with those 2 things.. i would of rushed out and bought these.. passed that... awesome set of headphones .....
 
 
# Gav 2014-01-17 08:44
can someone that has these please explain time delay adjustments do I need the centre and rear button light on all the time or off and do I adjust the time delay with centre and rear light on and you say for gaming have the drc on everywhere else i've looked says make sure this is off thanks gavin