Review: Get in the Game With Steelseries Spectrum 5XB Gaming Headset

Nerd Reactor received a message from Steelseries the other day, regarding their newest headset for the Xbox 360. It turned out that they wanted to send us a pair to try out. Our initial reaction was nothing less than…”F%@# YEA!!” For those of you who don’t know, Steelseries is one of the leaders in professional PC gaming peripherals. From keyboards and mice to state-of-the-art gaming headsets, you name it, they do it. They recently just released their first bid into the console market with the new 5Xb gaming headset and I must say it is pretty damn good.

The Outside:

First off, let’s take a look at the headset itself. It’s pretty standard with cups that surround the ear for comfort. One nice feature is that instead of opting for the cheap, fake leather, the ear cups are lined with a comfortable cloth material. That’s also good because you don’t have to worry about your ears sweating during extended play. There is also a cushion for the top of your head as well. The headset itself is fully adjustable as it should be. The outsides of the ear cups are cased in hard plastic, which is great for durability. In the left ear cup, there is a retractable mic boom for storage purposes. The cord that runs from the headset itself to the audio connections are braided for strength and so that you don’t have to worry about it becoming twisted and tangled.

The piece that fits into the 360 controller is fairly sturdy and has 2 audio inputs, 1 for the game audio and the other for the voice audio. There are 2 switches on this device, one on top to control the mute function for the mic and the other on the bottom to control the Live Mix feature (I’ll explain that later). On each side are independent volume controls, one for game audio, the other for chat audio. Extending below that piece is about an 8ft long cable that splits near the end. One side is capped by a USB jack that plugs into the Xbox to power the headset and the other side has 2 double sided audio input jacks to plug your audio into from the component/composite cables.

The Inside:

Now we jump into the belly of the beast. For starters, the headset sports 40mm SunDancer speaker units. What does that mean to consumers you ask? One word, quality. The output is amazingly detailed to say the least. I tested the headset on multiple game types, from FPS and RPG, to fighting and pinball arcade games. I even tried it on my laptop and my Zune and I can’t even begin to tell you how good the sound quality is. While playing Call of Duty Black Ops, I could literally here every footstep someone made that was nearby as well as their reloads. On an RPG like Mass Effect 2, the ambient sounds of the game surround you and immerse you into the game even further. Another great feature is that these headphones are noise cancelling, so any outside noise that is going on, will not interfere with your gaming experience.

Through my course of using the headset, I really only came across one gripe. Remember that LiveMix feature I mentioned earlier? Well what LiveMix does, is as your game audio is playing, when someone speaks, the chat volume automatically increases as the game audio decreases for the duration of time that someone is speaking. In concept, it’s a great idea, but in implementation, it was sort of a drawback for me. While playing Black Ops, it took away from me hearing if an enemy was nearby or sneaking up on me. Luckily, this is a feature you can have off with the flick of a switch. Another problem that I ran into, which actually wasn’t the headsets’ fault, but my own, was that I would tend to get an echo a lot while I was in a party chat. The only reason that occurred though, was because I have my chat audio set to play through both headset and speakers.

Final Verdict:

All in all, the headset was awesome. Whether you’re a casual player or the hardcore professional gamer, this headset can work for you. In my opinion, I think it’s better than the Turtle Beach Ear Force PX21’s. Steelseries has definitely put out a product that stays in line with the quality they are known for and has made a statement that there’s a new sheriff in town for console-based headsets.

Grade: A

You can purchase these headsets on Steelseries website located here.

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Narvin Seegoolam
Narvin Seegoolam 712 posts

Narvin's middle name is FPS....ok maybe not, but he's like BOOM!! HEADSHOT!! I'm hungry...