With our 51st review, we are introducing a new type of review: Short Attention Span Review. The reasoning for it is explained in a separate article but the main reason is the amount of products for which no objective benchmarking software or methodology exists. Our goal is to test hardware that we all need or purchase at some point in time. The hardware and software reviewed in our SAS review is eligible for our awards.
Short Attention Span Review: Tritton AX 180 Universal Gaming Headset
After recently purchasing an Xbox 360 I was extremely excited to get into the smack talking that is involved in games like Madden 10′, Fifa 10′ and Halo 3. Unfortunately, i did not realize that utter poor quality of the headset provided with the Xbox 360 – even after being in stores for four years, the headset quality didn’t move upward but stayed at mediocre level. Frankly, it’s one of the worst headsets known to man. So i wondered if there were any better headsets out there. After a brief research, I came across the Tritton AX180 which is specifically designed for Xbox Live. We decided to check and see if this headset made Xbox Live and the Xbox 360 overall more enjoyable and usable.
At first glance, the AX180′s packaging catches your eye simply because of the bright orange contrasting with the white.
Here is the front of the box.
Here is the back of the box.
The packaging of the Tritton AX180 was quite informative giving you information on the front and back of the box. This gets you familiar with the supported devices as well as the components included with the headset. Tritton also includes the many features of this headset on the back, and they even had a little typo repeating the same "40mm driver" feature twice. They used a plastic clamshell to hold the headphones which was then surrounded by a cardboard box to protect it from being broken during shipment. As you can see on the back, this product carries a 1 year warranty through Tritton.
Overall, this packaging held up quite nicely and looked very presentable and carried a good presence as the product is clearly visible before you even open the box. We would say that this packaging isn?t necessarily the greenest, but at the same time it is not necessarily wasteful. In addition to that, the packaging displays logos for all major consoles as well as PC and Mac indicating compatibility across all platforms. Since this is an analog device, that is to be expected since no drivers are needed.
The included accessories include:
- Removable Microphone
- Audio splitter [3.5mm to RCA L&R]
- Xbox Live audio cable [connects Xbox controller to headset]
Next Page: Installation and setup for use and 30 minutes of use
Installation and setup for first use
The installation and setup are probably the biggest hassles that exist for this device. The biggest reason for that is the unfortunate fact that unlike the PC space where things are more simple, you have to go in the back of your TV and re-configure the audio jacks for your console. Currently, we are running a component connection from the Xbox to the TV so the usability of RCA jacks for audio is normal. But for someone who uses HDMI and uses HDMI audio, things may be a bit tricky considering that they will not be using RCA jacks to begin with and will most likely have to use them for this to work correctly.
Above, is pictured where the USB power has to be plugged in for powering the headset.
Installation requires that you plug the AX 180 into the adapter, which takes the 3.5mm audio jack and splits it into right and left RCA Jacks. The adapter cable included was JUST long enough to reach from my Xbox to the RCA ports in my Television, a very close fit. In addition to this, one must also plug the USB port into the Xbox in order to provide a connection to the Xbox and to power the headphones. As many people know, this is not the actual way that the Xbox communicates with the headset. The headset actually has to be connected to the controller itself, and a cable is included for this as well. This cable simply connects to the Xbox controller and then connects to the small controller on the headphone cable.
The RCA adapters added onto the existing RCA audio cables.
Our biggest problem after installation was the realization that the cable was just a little too short for comfortable gaming. Since we play Xbox on a 55" TV, one must sit approximately 10 feet away from the television for a good gaming experience. As such, the cable for the headset is only 12.5 feet and this means that the cable is literally suspended in the air while in use if one were to sit comfortably and not move a bit closer to the TV. For all intensive purposes, we did move the TV a bit closer in order to accommodate this shortage.
30 minutes of use
Using the AX 180 while gaming was really quite enjoyable, especially when the length of the cable is not an issue. The earmuffs on the headphones fit very nicely to the ear, and they don?t apply too much pressure. The headphones themselves sit nicely and snugly on your head, but do not apply too much pressure like some other headsets. Overall, I would give these a comfort rating of 8/10. They are comfortable, but they are still by no means the most comfortable headphones ever.
The removable microphone is very nice as well, and from what I could tell the mic quality on Xbox Live was pretty good. The mic is flexible and can be adjusted in almost any way you want it to bend unlike some boom mics out there. In addition to that, the ability to adjust both game and voice volumes was really useful. From our experience, the biggest problem with the cheapo headphones included with the Xbox is that you cannot hear anyone talk in game. These headphones without a doubt remedy this issue and even give you better in-game audio as well. Since audio quality is fairly subjective, I will say that I found these headphones to have fairly good audio quality considering the inputs and they definitely sounded better than the original headset as well as going through the TV speakers. The plethora of controls on this headset are really what make it so useful.
This headset actually makes the voice chat feature on Xbox live an actual useful option, unlike the standard headset provided with the console. The inline audio controller worked very well and allowed on the fly audio adjustments that made hearing others and hearing the game very easy.
The game audio controls as well as the audio source switch are very clearly marked and understandable.
The voice volume and Xbox live audio jack are very clearly marked and are very easy to use. The grip on the Mic off button is also extremely helpful in quickly muting the mic.
Next Page: Final Impressions and was it worth it all?
In all, we found this headset to be something that is a fairly good product that still needs a little refinement regarding the cable length which Tritton is aware of and said that they will look into it. We also found that it would be best if they maybe went with a 4.5 meter [15ft] or 6m [20ft] cable; after all? most people will not be sitting right in front of their screen. Other than that, we left the Tritton AX180 headset feeling like it was very well designed and that it was a good product that fit well in its price range but is by no means inexpensive [$69]. This would make a great gift for any parent who is sick of hearing their kids Modern Warfare 2 blasting in the background.
Was it all worth it?
Considering the 5 minutes it took to setup, and the ability to play in a room that resonates sound very well late at night? I would have to say yes. As we have stated, there is room for improvement; the cable length was a bit too short and we?d recommend a possible lengthening of the cable or a few foot extension cable.