An important part of enjoying games is hearing the sounds. Some, more than others, are extremely dependant on the sound. Mad Catz wants you to hear that sound in its best possible form. To that end they have introduced the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset.
The Tritton Warhead 7.1 headset certainly looks the business. Large over the ear speakers that effectively cut out external sound, a thick headband with a soft squishy center area to rest nicely on your head, and that shiny black gloss finish that picks up fingerprints so easily. Looks are one thing; the proof of quality is in the sound.
I have a set of surround sound headphones that I have been using for a few years. They are good and I thought they were very good. How wrong I was. My old headset, while sounding good, had a noise floor problem. Noise floor is that staticy hiss that you can hear in the background of any audio. My old headset bled a small, but noticeable, amount of noise floor. Even more so if I had the Xbox 360 microphone cable plugged in. The Tritton Warhead 7.1 headset has no discernible noise floor. It is all pure audio greatness. Even with the microphone plugged in there is no static hiss, just clean audio.
How good is the audio you may ask? Well besides the lack of noise floor the surround sound is the best I have ever heard in a headset. While playing games, watching movies, or listening to music it is all crisp, clean, and lifelike. It is like you are there. The thing that really sold me on the sound was a crash. I was playing Borderlands 2 when I heard a crash of items falling behind me. My first thought was, "OK, what did my cat knock over this time." So I got up, took the Warhead headset off and looked around for the items that I needed to pick up. Nothing. Nothing had been knocked over; everything was in its place. My cat was curled up sleeping on her pillow. It was that moment I realized I had heard a background game crash that I was sold on the sound for the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Surround Headset. I could get into the technical bits about how the Warhead 7.1 has Dolby surround sound, 50mm speakers that feature Neodymium magnets, and 5.8 GHz wireless technology that gives better quality than the industry standard of 2.4GHz. I could, but an in-game sound of items crashing that I initially blamed my poor cat is really all the proof I needed.
The Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is truly wireless too. My old headset claimed to be wireless, but it still had a wire going from the headset to the controller for voice chat, not with the Warhead 7.1. Everything is transmitted wirelessly over the 5.8GHz frequency. This allows for a signal that is not interrupted by other devices on the market.
The set up was simple. Connect the power and the optical cable to the base unit (wiring is included for those that do not have optical audio available). Turn on your Warhead 7.1 headset and your Xbox 360 then sync like you would for an Xbox controller, done. After that it is just tweaking settings for what you are listening to. The Warhead 7.1 has three preset EQ settings; one for music, one for games and one for movies. There are separate volume controls for voice audio and game audio, so if that smack talk from your online rivals gets to be too distracting you can turn them down and the game audio up. Another interesting bit is the Selectable Voice Monitoring (SMV). This allows you to be able select whether or not you can hear yourself through the headset. I thought since I didn't hear myself at first my microphone was broken, but my friends online heard me just fine. When not playing a game and just listening to music or watching a movie you can remove the microphone if you want, it easily pops in and out. I just spin it up out of my way. If you need to mute the microphone a simple press of a button on the base of the microphone boom lets you do just that. A red LED turns on at the end of the microphone boom to let you know that it is muted.
Mad Catz realizes that some people will have long marathon gaming sessions. With this in mind they have made the battery set up for the Warhead 7.1 headset removable and included an extra battery. When you are using one battery, the other can be fitted into the base unit to recharge. Not that you will be changing batteries often since a full charge lasts about 12 hours (or more, I got about 15). This is a huge advantage over my old set of headphones. When their battery died I would have to turn them off and plug them to recharge. The Warhead 7.1 allows me to keep going. Because this is an official Xbox 360 product Mad Catz can take advantage of the charge indicator on the Xbox itself. Curious about how good your charge is currently? Hit the home button on your controller and you can see the charge meter on your Xbox.
As great as the Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is, I did notice a few problems. First is the button placement of the EQ and Stereo Select. They are on the front upper edge of the speaker enclosures. When first using the headset I would grab around the enclosures normally and, without realizing it, switch my settings. I have since had to train myself to grab the enclosures in such a way as to not touch the buttons at all. Second is the headband. It has a soft squishy section to provide comfort while wearing the headset, in extended gameplays I found it wasn't entirely comfortable. It sort of "pinched" and had "pressure" so I would have to move it after a while to another part of my head to provide relief. This might be a personal thing as I do have a large head. The last problem is that the Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is exclusive for the Xbox 360. If you have a multi-system set up it does not play well with others. You can get the audio to work, but voice chat is out the window for any other system.
Overall the Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is an excellent headset, giving great audio quality for whatever you use your Xbox 360 for; gaming, music, or movies, it will all sound awesome. I was highly impressed by it. Since I started using the Warhead 7.1 headset I haven't un-muted my HDTV. It provides me with amazing audio, without disturbing my roommates. As an ex-army tanker they would holler at me to turn down my TV. The swappable battery allows me to have that audio for any long session. The faults of the headset in my opinion are minor against the quality it provides. It would be nice if the headset was cross-compatible with my other game systems, but that is the nature of beast in the world of exclusivity. This is certainly not something dictated by Mad Catz, but Microsoft themselves. For most consumers this should not be a problem. An Xbox 360 central media set up will be perfect, if not enhanced, with the Mad Catz Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset. I can easily recommend them and if I actually gave a rating on hardware they would rate 5 out of 5, that's how good they are.
The Mad Catz Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset is available now. For more information see the Mad Catz Tritton Warhead 7.1 Wireless Surround Headset web site.