Review – Tritton AX 720 Headset

Fact: a set of surround-sound speakers can be expensive. Beyond that, they can be pretty useless when you have a roommate who is trying to sleep and you want to play Halo or watch a movie. That’s where Tritton’s AX 720 headset comes in.

The AX 720 headset provides 5.1 surround sound in a pair of extremely comfortable headphones that are designed with console gaming in mind. The headset comes in a large box that offers not only a pair of headphones but a removable microphone for gaming or Skyping, an in-line audio controller, an amp, an Xbox LIVE communication cable, an optical cable, a communication USB cable (for the PS3) and a G6 adaptor for use with the PC.

The amp gets plugged into any power source using a power adaptor that’s shipped with the headset, and when powered on, provides an outlet for gamers to plug in connections from their Xbox 360’s, PS3’s, PCs (or Mac’s) and even DVD players. The difference between playing a game using the speakers on the television and using the AX 720 headset is not just like night and day, it’s simply unbelievable. I plugged in my Xbox 360 and immediately fired up a mission from Battlefield: Bad Company 2‘s single-player campaign. Leaves rustled in every direction as my squad mates moved around and when I fired a sniper shot the resulting echo of the bullet’s exit ricocheted from all directions as it bounded off the mountains surrounding the encampment I was storming. Bullets then cracked with authenticity and a boom like I’d never before heard. It was a revelation. I had been missing so much from my gaming experience and here this simple set of headphones were making all the difference in the world.

The microphone works beautifully in terms of providing crisp audio when multiplayer gaming or speaking on Skype. The Xbox LIVE communication cable plugs into the Xbox 360 controller to provide microphone access, and a unique feature of the headset is that it features microphone and game volume control. Don’t want to hear yourself speak? Just turn down the microphone volume. You’ll never miss out on what your teammate’s are saying again. This is a fantastic set-up for online gaming.

After using the AX 720s on the Xbox 360, I attempted to use my headset without the amp, plugging the G6 adaptor directly into my Macbook’s speaker plug. I put Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the DVD drive and was astounded. It was like being in a movie theater and I wasn’t even using the amp. As the film begins, cameras flash and people call out to Harry as Dumbledore looks on, putting his arm around Harry and guiding him past the crowd. The music circles around me in all directions and the camera flashes resound with a crack and rumble I had never known on my computer speakers. Dark wizards then careen around a bridge flooded with civilians. As the bridge cracks and breaks, the music crescendos and I am stunned. Though the screen was small, I felt that I was in the theater, which was an astounding experience.

To be honest, after getting the AX 720 headset at PAX East over the weekend I have hardly taken the headset off. It works beautifully and is extremely, extremely comfortable. The headset features plush cushioning that fits beautifully around my relatively large ears. Rather than being leather, which can become uncomfortable and hot, the plush cushioning is simply comfortable and never gets sticky. In fact, I have spent entire days working at my computer this week with the headset on and haven’t once felt a need to take them off like I typically do with headsets.

In addition, the headset can be used with an iPod, but don’t expect much of a different listening experience from typical speakers. Because music isn’t in 5.1 surround you won’t notice a huge difference between the AX 720 and your iPod earbuds, though in terms of comfort and sound-blocking ability, I highly recommend the AX 720 as an iPod option as well.

The only problem with the AX 720s are that they aren’t wireless, but they come with an incredibly long cord that should satisfy almost any gamer’s set-up.

The AX 720 is a fantastic headset and is well worth the $129.99 price tag. They are simply awesome for a range of experiences and are a relatively affordable alternative for those looking to get a 5.1 surround sound experience out of their games and movies. Durable, comfortable, elegant and delivering stunning sound, the AX 720s are a near perfect headset.