Turtle Beach is a longtime manufacturer of gaming audio products. The company’s first headset, the X51, was released in 2005. Now the review has a monster name: the Turtle Beach® Stealth™ 600 Gen 2 MAX, the most popular console-supporting wireless gaming headset with microphone out there.
The headphones come with an instruction manual, a wireless transmitter for the USB port, and a short USB cable with A and C connectors for charging the headphones. This cable is also used to update the software of the headphones.
Appearance and first impressions
The appearance of the headphones did not arouse admiration at first glance, as they mostly reminded me of plastic toys used in sandboxes. With these headphones you don’t necessarily want to be walking around in the presence of people. In my opinion, it is thanks to the chosen color, because the older models of completely black or white headphones are more elegant. Despite this, the feel in the hands was surprisingly firm and the headset’s admirably wide adjustment range came as a positive surprise. They do not break when bent. In addition, some small details, such as the rubber spacer that prevents the handle and cup from rattling together, may not necessarily be available in other devices in the same or larger price range.
The headphones can be adjusted to fit the head with a specific headband adjustment with ample room for adjustment. In my opinion, the earcups of the headphones are a bit too small and the earlobes always end up touching either the edge or the dust cover. The headphones should fit snugly to the head, as leaving gaps has a negative effect on the reproduction of low frequencies. The headphones fit tightly to the head and do not deform when moving the head and stay on the head even when it hits the floor. Despite these nice features, the comfort of the cups could still be improved. The padding on the headband is good and I didn’t notice it causing a “hotspot” problem on the top of the head, where the headband presses uncomfortably on the head.
Features and Deployment
The commissioning took place without any problems. Connect the power to the headphone and connect the USB transmitter to the machine. If the device is connected to an Xbox console, the transmitter should be clicked in Xbox mode, but otherwise USB mode should be used. When both the devices are on, they will connect automatically. Very easy. The headphones also have separate physical volume control rollers for audio and microphone feedback, a power switch, and a mode selector. The microphone can be folded up so that it rests against the cup as well as it mutes with a beep. Adjusting the headphone’s volume doesn’t affect the beep level, which is still pretty loud. I hope this gets fixed with a software update.
When folded, the microphone does not expose itself to the user’s field of vision, although it can be seen with the side eye. If headphones are not used in Xbox mode, the microphone adjustment roller controls the “monitoring” level, where sound picked up by the microphone is directed to the headphones, making it easier to manage speech levels. I personally didn’t see any practical use for it, as I could hear my own voice without it. The biggest difference with this feature was that the ticking of the wall clock came out more strongly. According to the manufacturer, in Xbox Mode it can be used to separately control the voice connection level and the main controller will adjust the game’s own sound, which sounds practical. According to the manufacturer, the headphones last up to 48 hours, which is a good reading, although can’t be tested based on this review. The headphones have ample sound pressure reserves and you can get them pretty loud if you want to.
With the default settings, the sound of the headphones can be described as, for example, a bit dark and the midrange withdrawn. However, the differences with the slightly more expensive Beyerdynamic DT900 Pro X I used as a reference were small enough that you have to spot the differences somewhat. For violins and other stringed instruments, it sounds like it picks up more small details, with the DT900 picking up treble separators more clearly as well. I liked listening to the Frostpunk soundtrack more on the DT900. On the other hand, when listening to the climactic track Warhammer 40: Darktide, the headphones’ loud low end brought a kind of energy to the music and, for example, the dark beat at the bottom of Immortal Imperium kept the momentum going, being very energetic but otherworldly. Not taking out elements. However, the sound on the headphones is deep enough that if you turn up the bass level, it’ll be overpowering. At this point, the reader should be aware that these are subjective experiences. But it can be said that the headphones positively surprised the reviewer. Based on the frequency sweep, I would estimate that the stated 20-20kHz frequency response is pretty accurate.
As a matter of note, I was observing a frequency-dependent channel imbalance between the left and right sides. Although the headphones are closed in structure, they do not greatly reduce sounds coming from the environment. For example, the murmur of speech, keyboard sounds and other bumps can be heard through it. The headphones’ own sound can be heard in the environment, but it’s distinctly muffled compared to headphones with an open design. So those looking for background noise should keep watching. The headset has three equalizer profiles built in; you cannot create your own.
The first profile emphasizes bass, the second on bass and high end, and the third on the midrange. With music on, the bass boost was already too high and made the sound a bit boomy. In my opinion, the basic mode is sufficient for almost everything and there is little use for other modes. In addition, it has a “Superman audibly” mode that practically distorts the sound to emphasize the steps. In practice, it was just a nuisance in Valorant. Otherwise, there’s nothing to criticize in the characters’ sound image and it sounds like the sound is coming from the headphones, not from inside the head like some headphones, for example. It is easier to position an orchestra’s instruments on stage with these than with controls.
sound quality and microphone
The microphone was very quiet when taken out of the package. The problem was resolved by using the USB transmitter in Xbox mode, when the second roll of the headphones increased the microphone volume, and by turning the transmitter back to USB mode, the microphone could eventually drop the monitor to zero from the same roll, While the microphone volume remained high. The process was a bit confusing and the first thing that came to my mind was that the headphones were broken. When connected to a computer and the transmitter is set to Xbox mode, the headset is recognized as a controller and the microphone cannot be used. I certainly look forward to improvements on this, for example in terms of documentation. When the microphone level is adjusted so that the sound is heard clearly, the microphone picks up everything in the environment except speech. This practically meant that the typing sound of each laptop keyboard was clearly heard in the recording. Which is a shame as the sound quality from the microphone was good.
The range of wireless headphones completely stunned the reviewer. The range of headphones covers many rooms and stands many walls. Since the manufacturer uses the 2.4GHz frequency and its own protocol, it seems that the range roughly corresponds to the range of a WLAN network. Unfortunately, the headphones cannot be used wired, so you should take care of the USB transmitter. And then the price, at the time of writing the cheapest headphones cost €102 and normally around €130. In general, it’s not a bad option if you don’t mind the lack of wiring, a sensitive microphone, and that the headphones don’t need to be inconspicuous (in looks and feel).