REPORT ANALYSIS AND FINAL THOUGHTS
The installation of the Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 is very simple, you simple connect the transmitter to your computer via the include micro USB cable, and power on the Ear Force i60 headset. You then are required to go through system preferences, sound, and select the Ear Force i60 as an USB sound output.
Upon doing so we immediately tested the audio output with various types of music. As an audiophile, you can appreciate the different aspects and tones emitted from different types of music. We started with Jack Johnson – Taylor, and you immediately notice the immense detail of the guitar strumming, as well as the guitar pick hitting the strings. To appreciate the bass boosting aspects of the headphones we switched over to Armin van Buuren – Beautiful Life, where the bass truly comes to life. Interestingly enough, even with increased volume and the bass boosted, you do not experience the ‘bottoming-out’ that can be common with headsets. Continuing with our music cycle, we moved on to the rap/hip-hop scene and listened to Lil Wayne – Mirror (Feat. Bruno Mars), and it was with this genre that we felt it was appropriate to test the various music optimization presets. In each of the presets it was noticed that the entire audio profile was adjusted, such that in bass boost the lower frequencies were enhanced, but the middle and higher frequencies were reduced. This is not commonly heard with most presets, as the enhancement usually just adjusts the lower frequencies and the other sounds are drowned out.
The Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 provides you with a superior listening experience that forces you to sit back and just listen. It was at this point while we were browsing through our iTunes music library that we realized we had missed the final step in the set up. In order to take full advantage of the 7.1 surround sound, you must enable it, and the 8 channel – 16 bit integer, through Audio MIDI Setup. It was at this point that we were truly blown away by the immense, detailed sound quality being reproduced through the headset.
We revisited Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven and Jack Johnson’s Taylor, and you immediately notice the warmth of the guitar strings being plucked. The DTS Headphone: X 7.1 Surround Sound was very immersive, and really places you in what feels like a virtual environment. The Turtle Beach Surround Sound Demo below allows you to test out your headphones to see if they are capable of 7.1 surround sound.
This demonstration was very interesting, as hearing the pulses bounce off of the walls in this virtual environment was extremely accurate. We tested each of the audio presets, gaming presets included, with various types of music. We found that when listening to a song with intense guitar string picking, such as Stairway to Heaven, and having the preset set to ‘Superhuman Hearing’, you hear even more aspects that you have not previously heard before. In this case, we could hear the picking of individual guitar strings throughout the song. While this preset is not the most ideal optimization, it does provide you with a detailed listening experience, which may be beneficial to those who are trying to learn how to play a song on the guitar and need to hear those finer aspects in order to best identify specific notes.
The one thing we found to be a detriment to the Ear Force i60 was the feel of the headset while you are wearing it. The headset feels as though it is clamping onto your ears and holding on for dear life, and after a few hours of listening to music it is a feeling that you can grow tired of. The design concept is understandable, as this allows the headset to provide more external noise cancellation/blocking.
Upon checking the Turtle Beach website, we can see that the Ear Force i60 Wireless Desktop Media Headset can be purchased for $399.95, and shockingly enough our search across the internet proves that the headset can only be purchased from the Turtle Beach and Apple website. The higher price point is very well understanding due to the extreme audio quality that can be emitted from this headset, and even the added knowing that this is the one of the most dynamic and multi-functional headsets that can be purchased today. As we have previously noted, the only other time we have heard audio of such quality is with the Sennheiser Orpheus HE90, which originally sported a $16,000 price point and has recently been seen on eBay for upwards of $30,000. There are slight differences that separate the Ear Force i60 from the Orpheus (such that the Orpheus comes with its own amplifier), but one thing is for sure, the sound quality that you will hear from the Ear Force i60 is well worth the $399.95 price point.
It does not matter whether you are a PC enthusiast, gamer, or even audiophile; you will appreciate the immense detail and audio quality that this headset reproduces. With the extremely detailed surround sound audio and the immense warmth of the reproduced sound, as well as the inclusion of many presets and optimizations, the Turtle Beach Ear Force i60 Wireless Desktop Media Headset blows away the competition. It would be an insult not to award a headset of this caliber with our Editor’s Choice Award! For more information about Turtle Beach and their products, we encourage you to head on over to their website!
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