Tritton AX720 Hardware Review
When the Tritton AX720′s were first introduced to the gaming world, everyone went crazy for it. Finally, we had a quality gaming headset fit enough for the pros, and under $150. With its bigger brother, the AX Pros, being featured as the official headset for World Cyber Games, and with many Major League Gaming players around the world favoring Tritton’s line over the then-established Astro, Tritton has stepped in to become a major player in the seemingly healthy market that is professional gaming equipment.
The first thing that ANYONE would love about the AX720 is how flexible it is. This isn’t designed for just 1 purpose: you can use it for nearly anything. PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, watching movies, listening to music. You name it, you could probably use it. Out of the box, Tritton equips you with all of the tools you’ll need to get started with hooking it up to your devices of choice. I personally have only tested this with the Xbox 360, but I’m pretty sure the breezy setup I experienced with that would hold true for other components, as well. Admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed with what I got out of the box. The amp, the optical cable for optical sound systems, USB and G6 adaptors for PC use, the detachable microphone, the headset itself, I had everything I needed and more upon walking out of the store, and that is a huge plus for me.
The build of the actual headset itself felt very nice. It wasn’t a cheap and plasticky feel as you’d find on some sets, and it was very nice on the eyes. It doesn’t help my bias that orange and black are my favorite combinations of colors (and the colors of choice for AnalogHype). On your head, it fits a little tight, but I got used to it after a couple of hours and forgot that I was even wearing it. Reading the feature set, I noticed that it said the headset had detachable and replaceable ear cups and head band, but I was unable to find a way to do this (and the instructions didn’t mention anything about it). Another detachable component is the microphone. Once the microphone is in, it fits sturdy and and feels secure. This is contrary to early reports that the microphone feels like it’s dangling from the side of your head, ready to fall out at any given moment. Even more break-away points present themselves near the inline volume control. I guess this is useful for if you dont want to take the headset off after you’ve gotten used to it being on your head, but it’s no problem to just take it off if you have to step away.
The inline volume control I just mentioned is a huge selling point in this device. As simple as it may sound, the value of it shines through in regular use. The controller offers options for you to adjust the game volume separately from Xbox Live Chat volume, which is a much appreciated feature for those times when you need to find the right balance when prioritizing what sounds you need to hear at what times. I didn’t think I’d use it much except to mute myself, but I found myself reaching for it often to adjust the various volumes. The actual cable on the device feels very solid, and I didn’t get the sense of the possibility that it might shorten out on me over time (and even if it did, the included 1 year warranty was a nice reassurance for long term commitment with the product).
The base amp gives you a lot of options initially than you would first notice. On the front, you’re presented with four LED lights that tells you the status of your headset and the type of sounds you’re getting. The cool thing here is that certain lights will change colors depending on what kind of sound is coming from the source. You press the power button multiple times to get the exact set up you want, with other factors coming in through the need to change settings on your audio source (either the game console or the TV). Testing this with the Xbox 360 was tricky, because I use an HDMI cable. The Xbox 360 doesn’t support a built in optical port, you’ll only get optical from using the composite/component cables. The kicker here is that if your TV supports HDMI, then it most likely has an optical port of its own, so I simply used the one on my TV and it worked perfectly. Another cool thing regarding the amp is the that it allows you to plug in 2 headsets at a time, so it would be an ideal setup for paired gaming, or even just a bulk purchase for a tournament promoter who would prefer a minimalistic setup.
Getting down to perhaps the most important factor in considering my worth of this product is the sound quality. I’m not an audiophile, nor have I used many different sound setups over the years, but the 5.1 Dolby Digital speakers in each ear certainly shines through as one of the biggest features for the AX720. I tested this with several games, including Call of Duty 4, Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and Dead Space. The headset did a great job in putting all of the right sounds in the right places. The bass could’ve had a little bit more umph to it, but it was still good enough to move my eardrums a little bit. This is only one half of the audio front that needed to be covered, though. The detachable microphone is a great idea and goes miles toward the idea of flexibility. Some people might just want to use them straight up as 5.1 headphones due to the lack of a dedicated sound system (or the need to keep volume low at night). It’s easily connectable, but very hard to detach. Everytime I went to detach the microphone, my heart skipped a beat as I struggled to wiggle the microphone out of the socket. It’s great for reassuring the microphone’s security while it’s in there, but does little to help my uncertainty when trying to remove it.
I’ve gone through two of these sets, and each time I have had problems with the microphone. Players on the other end have reported echoing of their own voices coming from my microphone, and an odd buzzing noise when I talk or send messages haunted my voice both times. The mic also doesn’t always pick your voice up if you’re talking quite low. I found myself having to speak up louder than I normally would on a standard wireless Xbox 360 headset, which isn’t so bad since the tone of my voice isn’t an issue in my house, but I’m sure some people have no room to barely make a sound while they’re playing at 3am in the morning on a school night. I’m wishing they were just bad bunches and isn’t the quality of the product overall, but a functional and clear microphone is crucial for a headset in this price range and for its purposes. For $129.99, I was reluctant to just “deal with it”, and really expected most things to just fall into place. Still, though, even with that, I’d definitely say it’s worth a purchase to try it out and see if it works for you. At $129.99, you can’t go wrong with a mid-range headset that performs up to par, if not better than the competing high-end sets from other brands.
AnalogHype Rating: 8/10