The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset, as its name suggests, targets gamers who aim to play at a professional level. Every aspect of this headset has been designed for tournament play, for maximum comfort, and professional-grade audio.
I'm no pro eSports gamer (understatement of the century), but I have used them in for several weeks, sometimes in quite noisy scenarios. How good are they? Let's find out.
Elite Pro Tournament range
- Compatible with Xbox One, PC and PS4
- 4 pole 3.5 mm stereo jacks
- 50mm NanoClear speakers
- Detachable microphone
- 12Hz-22kHz frequency response
- Headset price: $199 (approx)
- Audio controller price: $199 (approx)
Before we even discuss the audio quality, the Elite Pro headset simply has to be comfortable. Lengthy tournament sessions under hot stage lights in noisy arenas will certainly challenge most headsets to remain comfortable, while also being functional. I'm pretty confident to say the Elite Pro Tournament headset is a front-runner in both categories.
I have used the Elite Pro Tournament headset extensively at home, but also at noisy events including Gamescom and EGX. My game room at home also gets incredibly warm in the summer, and the materials used in the Elite Pro Tournament headset is among the most comfortable and airy I've used when it comes to gaming headsets.
Gel-infused foam and fitting spandex fabric force the headset to conform to you, rather than the other way around. When you use a high-end Turtle Beach headset your ears know about it.
Interestingly, the generously cushioned speaker cups can be detached easily (while remaining sturdy), so that glasses wearers can access a hidden tab to add a dent to the frame.
The patented technology allows the headset to bend around the arms of glasses as they rest on your head, adding an extra layer of customization. If you wear thin glasses frames like me, you might not really have felt the need for this — but if chunkier glasses are your thing like my coworker Richard Devine, you'll know the pain of a headset crushing them against your skull. This tab is for you.
The Elite Pro Tournament headset doesn't have traditional snapping head strap adjustments. Instead, it has a plastic and steel frame, with a memory foam headband that rests on your head. The frame has tension adjusting sliders, and to be quite honest, I'm not 100% sure what they're supposed to do.
Turtle Beach says the "ComforTec™ Fit System" allows you to adjust the tension on the headband using these sliders, but adjusting them doesn't change the feel or fit of the headset in any majorly discernible way. They do seem to ease the spring tension on the inner frame while adjusting how tight the cups sit on your ears, but both the highest and lowest settings didn't change the game for me.
Overall, the design and quality of the Elite Pro Tournament headset is among Turtle Beach's best, and you'd probably hope so at this price point. It is also among the most comfortable I have used, despite their fairly generous weight. I have used them every day, sometimes all day, and for several months. There isn't even a hint of wear and tear. They look, feel and function as new — which is all sorts of awesome.
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset features "all-new" 50mm NanoClear Speakers, which the company says were created specifically for eSports. The new speakers are supposed to deliver distortion-free audio so that you never miss a footstep, an enemy's gun reloading, or sneaking adversary. They do the job with gusto — for the most part.
Connected via USB and optical audio, if you add an Elite Pro Tactical Audio Controller (T.A.C.) into the mix, the amount of control you have over your game is unmatched. Sometimes it depends on the game, but in titles with incredible sound-scaping like Gears of War 4 and Battlefield 1, this headset can genuinely provide an edge. Turtle Beach's patented Super Human Hearing emphasizes footsteps and some of those subtle audio cues, and the immersive 7.1 surround sound will alert you to enemy positions in an instant.
The cup design gives the Elite Pro Tournament serious isolation from outside sounds as well. Designed for tournament play, the Elite Pro Tournament headset will block out the vast majority of external sound, and its responsive mic audio monitoring will ensure that you will continue hearing yourself so that you don't yell down the mic at your teammates.
While you're probably unlikely to take these out and about with you, the Elite Pro Tournament headset is also great for music. Listening to Mick Gordon's DOOM OST, I was able to hear the strings sliding beneath his hand, reverberating against the bridge of his 8-string electric guitar. The bass hits pound with a clarity that puts you center stage like you're at a private gig. Listening to your favorite tracks with a quality headset always presents them in a different light, and the music experience with the Elite Pro Tournament has been nothing but positive.
With boatloads of presents, volume sliders, and surround modes, it can take a while to find the perfect balance right for you, but when you do, you'll find it hard to downgrade to a lesser headset. Still, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset isn't without some problems.
I noticed that while the headset functions incredibly well with most types of sound when connected to the Tactical Audio Controller, certain tones and frequencies generate distortion. It's quite noticeable on pulsing sounds — for example as you navigate elements on the Xbox dashboard, regardless of audio preset you use. Indeed, I have tested every configuration across two different Xboxes in attempts to alleviate the problem to no avail. These audio artifacts can extend into games with brief bursts of sound, such as gunshots, menu pings and the tail end of cymbal clashes in music. I'm not sure exactly what could cause this, but I've also noticed it happening on a separate, non-Turtle Beach headset I'm using with similar internals. It makes me wonder whether it's an Xbox problem, rather than a headset problem. Either way, most of the time you won't notice.
Overall, the last few months with the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset have been a wonderful experience on the audio side of things. Minor distortions aside, the soundscape is engrossing and immersive, with crisp detail and rich depth.
Conclusion: Are they good for home use?
The Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament headset are touted as eSports-grade, designed by professional gamers, for professional gamers. They aren't cheap, and the accessories like the Tactical Audio Controller aren't even bundled with the headset itself.
Pound for pound, the Elite Pro Tournament are probably the most durable, most comfortable headset I've used. Whether you use them with the Tactical Audio Controller or via a regular 3.5mm socket either on PC, a phone or Xbox controller, you're going to have a stellar experience. On Xbox One, you can add mic monitoring with a fairly cheap controller adapter, or make use of the Xbox's built-in mic monitoring, which admittedly isn't as good.
If you do throw in the Tactical Audio Controller, the amount of control you can exert over your gaming experience is almost unprecedented. The T.A.C. gives you quick access to mic levels, monitoring, background audio limiting, volume balance, mute and surround sounds, and it's illuminated for late night sessions and dark tournament halls.
The main issue I've had with the Tactical Audio Controller, in a domestic setting, is the sheer amount of cables. You need a cable from the headset into the T.A.C., an optical cable into your Xbox for sound, a USB cable for power, and an additional 3.5mm cable into your Xbox controller, despite audio feeding directly into the headset via optical out. I'm not entirely sure why this is, but it has something to do with the way the Xbox detects audio devices. If you don't include this cable, you can't use the microphone.
Some of Turtle Beach's other offerings such as the Elite 800X and the Stealth 420X+ offer similar levels of control without all the additional cables. Especially in the case of the Elite 800X, which is on the premium end with the Elite Pro Tournament headset albeit without the additional wires. But again, this is targeting a specific slice of the market.
- One of the most comfortable headsets out there
- Hard-wearing, premium materials
- Pleasant design
- Immense tactical audio control
- Impressive sound experience
- More cables to deal with than most headsets
- Can produce an echo on Xbox party chat at higher volumes
- High cost of entry for full package
While the Elite 800X and the Stealth 420X+ might be a simpler experience, the edge the Elite Pro Tournament headset gives in certain competitive games is noticeable. Having such high levels of control over the range and volume of the sound pumping into your ears is something that can't be taken for granted, and I do miss it when I bypass the Tactical Audio Controller out of laziness.
Ultimately it depends on the type of gamer you are. Do you want something simple for casual use, or do you want the best money can buy for getting an edge in competitive FPS gaming? If you do, the Turtle Beach Elite Pro Tournament range is something you must consider.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!