Review: Tritton Primer Wireless Headset (Xbox 360)

Would you like to know more about the difference between the 5.8 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz range of headphones? Does Mad Catz's officially-licensed Xbox 360 headset past the muster of the most discerning audiophile?

Well, I am curious, and no, I'm not that audiophile, but in their price range, these wireless headphones a very good deal for gaming or simply listening to music or TV wirelessly.

This is actually the second set of wireless headphones I have in my house, so it was very useful to compare the experience of using the Tritton headset with my year-old Sennheiser RS 130. I'm not going to compare the two (at least, not to any real extent since they're kind of apples and oranges experiences), but that Sennheiser set did give me a nice baseline set of expectations for what I should expect from my wireless headphones.

The Hardware: Mad Catz's headset includes a receiver base for your 360 or A/V unit. In my case, since I was outputting through my component cables (yeah, yeah, I know, my PS3 and cable box are hogging my HDMI inputs on my receiver), I had to do a little fiddling around with the connections to get the sound out. But it's nothing that's not covered in the included manual. The base station also includes a 3.5 mm input, on the chance that you want to plug in your iPod or Zune or whatever and listen to it from across the room.

The headphones take two (included) AA batteries, and while I haven't exhausted them after four or five hours of use, I admit to being spoiled by some comparable units with charging stations.

Comfort: How well do Tritton headphones fit on my decent-sized melon? Well, there's enough adjustment to the sliders to conform to many head sizes, while still being snug enough to cover your ear. Mad Catz's headphones have a nice amount of bend without feeling cheaply-made, solid without feeling like you're hearing stiff plastic on your skull.

Button location is pretty logical, so once you know that your mute button is on the left headset bottom and power button is on the top of the right headset, you'll be good to go. The mic folds up flush against the left side of the headphones, and when down, it doesn't crowd your face. It too, feels sturdy enough to withstand the inevitable toss into the box o' accessories that we all keep our controllers and things in between games.

As for coverage, your ears will be covered pretty snugly by these headsets which are fitted with a supple, leather-like material.

The one complaint: if you're using this to chat in-game, the included 3' cable that goes into the input under your 360 controller is a little short for my tastes, and might snag a little during some of your more energetic gaming sessions.

Appearance: You like a lovely matte finish, because you're going to get with the Tritton headset. This is actually my preferred style since it's pretty resistant to grime and fingerprints and so far seems pretty easy to clean.

Sound In: How did it work out actually using the mic? Well, for someone who typically avoids using my mic in-game (yeah, I'm that guy), it's pretty painless, and by all indications the other players I was with at the time could hear me pretty clearly. You have to contend with the usual pops and interference from LIVE but for the most part, the necessary clarity was there.

Sound out: This is where I actually get a little more excited. Boasting 40mm drivers, the sound is rich, clear, and better still, portable. The audio tends towards the higher end, but you'll still get some nice, deep bass out of it for your time and trouble. I played Mass Effect 3 on and offline, and not only was I able to appreciate the chatter from my suqadmates online, but every line of dialog, every music cue, every explosion offline.

The back of the box says the receiver has a range of about 33', but I think I might have exceeded that moving around my house. It also seems to handle obstructions pretty well, with walls, doors, and I'm sure a confusion of digital noise around my apartment causing very little trouble.

VERDICT

If it's not clear already, I'm a fan. Beyond some minor snags in initially setting them up, you'll be rewarded with terrific sound without having to break the bank.

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