Review: Turtle Beach Elite 800 – Goes One Step Forward But Misses The Second Step at the Dance

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Written by Devon Day

Copyrighted by Turtle Beach 2015

Another year, another chance to showcase to the world what you can do. For Turtle Beach, their wireless offerings, sans their PX4, have proven to be effective audio systems, like their licensed Ghosts Phantom headset. However, always improving, Turtle Beach decided to introduce a new type of audio in DTS X: 7.1; an archetype of the newly issued DTS Neo X technology and pin hopes that this new tech. can win over buyers. So far, the 500p seems to be doing that, but as one final push, Turtle Beach threw every type of bell and whistle in the Elite 800; Turtle Beach’s new creme de la creme offering. However, at $300, is this really Turtle Beach’s latest offering? In addition, how does it stack up to the A50 from Astro or H Wireless from SteelSeries? Read on, fellow gamers to unlock the answer.

Turtle Beach made sure this headset is its prized jewel. Magnetic charging stand, durable TOSlink cable, premium appearance and usage of premium memory foam are all present here. That being said, all contents are expected of such a high offering, and it is comforting to see that Turtle Beach nailed the hammer on the head. Of course, its colored look was specifically designed for the PS4, but in practice, these can be used with mobile and other devices without making you look weird. In addition, the headset feels well built, even with plastic usage. However, comparing this to the A50 isn’t a contest. Astro Gaming continues to offer some of the best packaging around, and even though packing isn’t that important anymore, it is nice to see when a company takes pride in their products. That is nor a dock on the 800, but it shows just how different these companies are. For the H wireless comparison, same story. The H is packing some serious flare with its arrangement, and while the color palette on the two is very similar, SteelSeries decided to increase value with magnetic boxes housing each of the components; different from Turtle Beach’s use of thin cardboard one. All in all, it seems that the Elite 800 gets the basics down, but doesn’t stand up quite like it’s rivals.

Now, I always criticized Turtle Beach for not taking any thought into build. However, this was never a problem with their wireless models (sans the Tango in my experiences), and I am happy to report that the Elite 800 continues this tradition in the wireless models. Light tosses on the coffee table and flooring were no match for the Elite 800. Odd considering their is more plastic than other materials, but I’d imagine this plastic is much sturdier this time around. Even so, Astro’s A50 wins out yet again. Metal and plastic infused components will ensure a longevity that will not be less than a year. However, for the H Wireless comparison, both seemed to be equal. Both offer sturdy builds and never caused problems for me in testing, but that is to be expected for something that costs as much as Nintendo’s own Wii U. Again, Turtle Beach swings….. and misses. It tied with the H, but could not strike out the A50. Well, going for 0-1-1, Turtle Beach hasn’t impressed so far, but can it get any worse?

Turtle Beach has had a great history of a semi cloud feeling towards your noggin. From their X12, to their XP500, they have always found a way to hit the mark with the right amount of clamping force and excellent choice of materials in neoprene. However, the 800 ditches this material for protein leather; solid breathing room with great comfort thanks in part to the deep ear pads and generous amount of memory foam. Sadly, that is the good news. Clamping force on these are just not that good, and very disappointing as well. Prepare to feel the pinch, as these headphones are going to let you know that they are there. Well, that being said, I am not going to even compare this to either the H Wireless or the A50. If you haven’t already guessed it, those two beat this one soundly, especially in different ways; the A50 giving clamping force a punch to the face as a non-issue, and the H Wireless beating Turtle Beach at its own game with more deeper ear cups and more generous padding. Turtle Beach’s Elite 800 is not living up to its name…. so far. Things are about to take a turn for the better…. Albeit – slightly.

Charging stand? Check. Numerous Preset options? Check. Bluetooth compatibility? Check. Dual wireless signals for better connection? Check Did I miss anything? Yes. The Elite 800, as stated in the intro, uses a new type of sound called DTS X: 7.1. To not overwhelm anyone, think about it like this. Previous headsets allows you to hear in 5 or 7 different directions. Now, you can hear above the front and hear to the sides in a more wider, broader perspective. This enables a more 3D field of hearing. How it performs will be discussed later. For those yummy comparisons, it seems Astro’s mighty wire free warrior has finally met its match, although I still give it the wireless frequency nod for using Kleernet; essentially turbo charged wireless connectivty for those of you who do not understand. The H Wireless has dual Lithium ion batteries, so expect continued play, even though SteelSeries can thank Triton Technogies for that. Minus that though, neither have a clear cut advantage in terms of features to match what the 800 has, and it is something few other companies can compete directly against. That being said, a win finally goes into the Elite 800 stat column, bringing it to 1-1-1. Can it win a second straight? Well…

… Using DTS X: 7.1 for the first time was a treat. Bass was deep, with excellent decay, definition and clarity, while taking a hit on the separation side. Mids did not disappoint either, as hearing commentators on various sports programs or the exquisite dialogue between Ellie and Joel felt vibrant, but again, controlled so that the voicing isn’t too bright. However, the definition of clarity is a bit off for the 800. Yes, Ellie’s voice did sound natural, but it was a bit too amped in the pitching of her voice. Even so, this still was great for the 800. Highs?…. Well.. Excellent in some aspects but off on others. Even with DTS X: 7.1 used, for me, it depends on which game you are playing. For the Last of Us, gunshots had great depth, cluuarity and definition, but other games like Dynasty Warriors Xtreme Legends falls a bit short. Sword clashes sounded a bit tinny and abrasive for me, and the serperation of sounds heard in the treble region felt like Turtle Beach wanted to artificially enhance the definition of treble, but at the cost of losing some fidelity in the process. It isnt something that is new, because every company has to compromise, but it seems that with issues with the definition and lack of seperation, it seems that the 800 is dependant on the game you are playing rather than the whole sound experience, and that just doesn’t cut it within the price range, and yes, I am aware of the presets available. Sure, they are nice to use, but they only mitigate certain issues and create others. For example, Treble Boost provides more power towards the mids and highs, but bass definition and clarity suffer. Essentially, the presets are preferences, but it can be interpreted in the form of “Pick your Poison,” as there are trade offs to consider, and will only work in a specified area. As in the case for mobile usage, it does well. Taking calls provided little to no issues. Comparisons cannot be made for its competition, so it wins by default. However, for a gaming headset to be great, it should not excel in certain areas, but all of them, much like a game should play to its strengths and add additions for the player. To compare though, I would say that the A50 and Elite 800 are deadlocked. Voicing is the key here, and even though it is nice not to have a mic. next to your cheek, the A50 provided superior clarity, seperation, and defintion, whereas the 800 has the tonal balance down pact. This doesn’t go for the same on the audio side of things however. Tonal balance, definition, and separation are given to the A50, but clarity, impact and sound stage to to the 800, but not by much for either. Tonal balance and sound stage wise against the H Wireless? H Wireless takes it, along with clarity, but defintion and separation go to Turtle Beach. So at the end of the comparisons, it gets a win by default, but again ties with the other two, even though it had a superior sound scape at that. Ultimately, its final records are 2-1-2.

All that said, what are my final thoughts on the Elite 800? Well, Turtle Beach almost had a winner, but a clamping force that is just too obnoxious to ignore, and some oddities within its performance keel it out of of the race. If anything, I think Turtle Beach may have relied a but too much on its DTS X: 7.1 tech. to overcome many of these shortcomings. Even so, the Elite 800 is still a good buy if you are willing to tough it out against some headpains. Otherwise, look for other wireless options, like Astro’s A50 or SteelSeries H. That being said, what are we giving the Elite 800 headset? A well earned 9 out of 10.

What are your thoughts in Turtle Beach products? What are your thoughts on gaming headsets as a whole? What is your favorite one? Sound off in the comments below. As always, on behalf of the entire BATGR Staff, thank you for reading! Until next time, this is Devon Day; Checking Out.


Copyright Notice: The image(s) used are owned and protected by Turtle Beach. We do not own nor claim to have taken the picture(s).


About the Author:

Devon_Day_BATGRA man growing up between the gaming boundaries on the 5th generation Nintendo 64, but admiring the 3rd gen. Nintendo Entertainment System and 4th generation Sega Genesis for their contributions, Devon Day always has something on his mind regarding video games and the accessories they contain. His first was a microphone for the Nintendo 64 for the “Hey You, Pikachu!” video game, but expanded towards the next line up of gaming peripherals including the Astro A40, MadCatz MLG Pro Circiut Controller, MadCatz STRIKE 7, and many other gaming gadgets. Now loving gaming tech more than ever, he sees this generation crucial to bring the full circle of social connectivity that the 7th. generation of video game consoles started.

8 thoughts on “Review: Turtle Beach Elite 800 – Goes One Step Forward But Misses The Second Step at the Dance

  1. I have to say, I really love this headset. I have had Astro’s, Turtle Beaches, and the PS Gold, and these really stand out. I did not have any of the comfort issues that the author seemed to have, but everyone’s head is shaped differently. One aspect that was not really touched on was the noise cancellation. I was wearing these, and the landscape company started mowing the grass outside, and when I tuned it on, the sound of the mower almost completely disappeared. I also loved the ability to pair them with my phone, and take calls without having to take off the headset.

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    • I have passed this mentioning onto our reviewer, Devon Day, and suggested for him to mention such in future reviews! We do appreciate hearing your response and feedback regarding the headphones!

      Would you say these are probably some of the most solid headphones to date for your personal-everyday use?

      Like

      • Dustin,
        I returned a set of 2014 A50’s and got these in their place. I think this may be the best wireless headset on the market right now, but to be honest, I have not tried the Steelseries H. There was a slight edge to clarity for me with the A50’s, but the tone and the sound field for surround seemed a great deal better for me with the E 800’s. The fact that the 800’s can serve a multi role for many people is a big plus in their favor as well. These work with my Xbox One (chat cable needed to controller for chat), my iPhone 6, Vita, PS4, and PS3. My wife and I wanted a 2nd pair of noise cancelling headphones for when we travel together, and while they are not quite as good at NC as a pair of Bose QC 15’s, they do perform pretty well, especially considering the gaming applications at the same price point. I will also mention that there have been some negative reviews, stating that the 800’s are not very loud and the sound is muffled, and lacks depth. During set up, unlike most headsets, where you set up the PS4 for “All Audio” to go to headsets, you set these for “Chat Only”. If you leave it on “All Audio” it is very muffled, and lacks depth to the surround field.

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      • I can openly understand those needs, but also the premise that lead up to why you wanted them. As a gamer and reviewer myself, it is important to have a product that can multitask when trying to get as much as we can completed.

        One of the most important functions I find myself looking for as someone who is both hearing impaired, but also an audiophile; it is quality and delivery of said quality. I’ll definitely take note to this when I grab a pair of headphones. I’ve been using a pair of LG G600’s, which I’ve oddly found not to bring forth all the sound audio I could find myself actually needing. Thanks to your feedback as well as my colleague’s – I’ll be looking into them both.

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  2. Thanks for the review!! You are spot on correct!! The clamping force on the elite 800’s are so ridiculously unbearable that I returned my purchased set days later. I wanted to like the elite headphones due to the fact that they had Bluetooth which offered extra options that were not available on other headphones However the sound quality of the Bluetooth is way too low you could barely hear the music anything pleasurable and the porch on the docking system did not offer auxiliary. The Astro a 50 is extremely comfortable I love wearing them they have an auxiliary port on the base so I can listen to music and they are extremely loud in comparison to the elite 800 the only choice unfortunately is to go with the Astro a 50 I have not tried to steal series H.

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    • Due to Devon’s current hiatus with some personal matters, I’ll be responding in his place. We both have enjoyed headsets such as the Elite 800’s, but also the Astro A-50’s, which we had hoped would actually meet our standards, but also required a bit more from us than we had hoped, which lead us to landing our eyes onto the Elite 800’s in totality. The headphones were, at times, troubling, but quite comfortable, allowing for their use in dynamic sound when gaming, but as stated, they are still lacking in a few things such as loudness, and quality that would be hoped for our of blue tooth audio. I personally still opt to using my Logitech G430’s when it comes to gaming or listening to music at my work computer, but when gaming there’s no hindrance when switching towards the Elite 800’s or even the Steel Series H (preferably the Steel Series H had I not accidently broken mine). So far we are seeing a lot of possibilities when aiming at the idea we each have our needs and wants in what we used to listen to when it comes to sound as well as overall quality.

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  3. Wow, fantastic review. This is hands-down the most detailed review of the TB 800x I have found. You really ought to make YouTube videos. When you go into detail about fidelity and clamping, you’re touching on really specific features that people like me want to know about. Seriously, great job with this.

    My only suggestion for improvement would be to seperate these blocks of text more, and use a few more product shots imbedded in between.

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    • Hello Dan,

      One thing we are proud of Devon does is gives some great feedback. While his review has been done for quite some time, we have changed editors since he did this piece. We really hope to see more greatness come out of him in the future when he gets back from his temporary hiatus. I’ll pass along the word to him.

      Best,

      Dustin
      President and Founder of B.A.T.G.R.

      Like

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