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Review by Devon Day
The Turtle Beach X12, is a headset regarded by many to be the pinnacle of Turtle Beach’s wired gaming audio systems. Ever since then, however, Turtle Beach couldn’t find a way to recapture the magic the X12 had. Their latest model in the XP Seven had the audio side down, but the longevity was gone. Turtle Beach took those criticisms to heart, teamed up with Marvel, and brought the Marvel Seven, a headset that uses the XP Seven build, but comes with a Dolby Stereo mixamp. Even with that said, how well does Turtle Beach improve, and, for $99.99, can it even match the spiritual success of the X12? Read on to find out!
Upon unpacking the box, I was very impressed with the way Turtle Beach had packed their headset this time around: much neater and more streamlined. After further revealing the contents, we get a Marvel themed headset, two Thor speaker tags, two marvel tags, an inline amp, and other accessories you will need. Simply put, it is one of the best offerings Turtle Beach has done so far, harkening back to the X12 days. All cords are well strong, and the Marvel Seven is well built, albeit for this price, I wish there would have been more metal components. Apart from that, the Marvel Seven is easily geared for the Marvel fans, and Thor’s speaker plates drive this cosmetic home. The inline amp is also streamlined: A much better cry than the nightmarish ACU Turtle Beach had. So, the Seven can easily deliver on the looks and retain the simplicity of its successor. However, build is something Turtle Beach has struggled with wired headphones. How does the build hold? Read on to find out!
One week: That’s the expectancy I have had with many of Turtle Beach’s wired products after the X12. I also have had this headset for one week as well. What do I think? I think that Turtle Beach FINALLY learned their lesson. I have had ZERO problems with this wired offering from Turtle Beach, nor did I find any problems with the inline amp either. This is phenomenal, to say the least. The whole “Left-Turtle” issue that Turtle Beach has had with other headphones? Throw that notion out of the park with the Marvel. Those days of shipping back your headset are GONE! Turtle Beach has hit this one out of the park, as it lives up to its predecessor in the X12. This headset does have the profile of the build-prone XP Seven, but is everything the XP Seven wasn’t: A nice piece of audio gear that can last you months or even years.
Everything that sucked about other Turtle Beach wired headphones, especially the XP Seven, doesn’t on the Marvel Seven. Turtle Beach must have heard the complaints of the XP Seven and made it a point to add durability to make Marvel and the Asgardian God himself happy, along with the fans. What about comfort? Let’s continue on to that.
For comfort, while the inline amp is simple to use, the Marvel is good. While the neoprene mesh ear cushions are great, the clamping force is not. This thing is like vice-grips! They hurt that much, and it really is too bad, for the breathable ear-cups would make me wear these for hours on end. Thankfully though, if you do wear them enough, the clamping force does go away. The amp, as stated before, is simple, and that’s what you want out of such a high, expensive device. All the volume roller’s have good enough tension, and they are easy to use. In the end, the inline amp was great, but while the comfort of the Seven was good, it’s not what I have experienced with the X12 due to it’s heavy clamping force. Again, let it wear down for improved comfort, but you will have to weather the pinch on your head. How well are the Marvel’s features? Read on to find out!
All right. Now time for the meat ‘n potatoes of this. To get this out of the way: no. This isn’t much different from the ACU. I mean MUCH though. There are volume rulers for your mobile, treble, bass, and chat. There is also a switch to change your mobile settings from talk or music. While I am happy that these aren’t touch-sensitive, I am disappointed that you cannot tell how much volume there is upon each setting. Apart from that though, not much else. No Dolby Digital 5.1, which is a MAJOR disappointment at this price, but there is one good catch. You can use the Marvel Seven as normal headphones and to plug in to a mixamp, like Astro, but that is asking for a bite out of your wallet. You can also use these as mobile headphones on the go, and rest assured, just about every type of device can be powered by it. Although no other headphone in its price range, sans the Spectre, uses these features, there is just one problem: the PX22 does, and that headphone costs much less. Sure, you cannot remove the microphone from the PX22, but the inline amp is the EXACT SAME THING. I kid you not, they are virtually identical, minus their color palette. Well, the Marvel Seven has great features, but the price you are paying for them is too much. It’s cousin, the PX22, has the EXACT same features, and that headset is $70-80! Can the performance help? Find out!
The Marvel Seven performed up to its price tag. While I am still disappointed that there is no DD 5.1, the Pro Logic IIx did work well enough to create a good gaming experience, so much so that I felt like I was almost experiencing borderline DD 5.1. In games like Uncharted 2, dialogue, explosions, and gunshots were all defined and clear. The mobile chat/music was For other games like Black Ops 2, footsteps were good to discern, but that lack of DD 5.1 made it feel a bit awkward. It’s not that the Marvel doesn’t do Pro Logic IIx terrible, it is just that, without those other 3 channels of audio, you get a “left or right” direction. Again, not too hard, but won’t be easy. For music, the Marvel was really good, much to my surprise. Low end could use more definition, but mids and highs were great. Disturbeds album “Ten Thousand Fists” sounded awesome, with the Marvel easily handling the distortion and mixing of various instruments. Mozart’s Requiem, however, sounds awesome. These headphones aren’t analytic like the Sennheiser HD 595’s, but using these can be a good alternative. Trumpet cues, tympani beats, and vocals could be heard very well. If you do get the Astro Mixamp, the Marvel sounds phenomenal. Not as great as the MMX, but slightly better than the Astro A40. Everything got kicked up a notch, and games like Battlefield 3 showcase this with the Sevens easily handling high intensive sections of matches without blending in to the overall sound mix too much. While the driver size doesn’t matter, the distortion between the two is this: The Marvel Seven is better, but not by much. Bass wise, again, I wish that the Marvel Seven had I bit more decay, but that is okay since the sound-stage was very pleasing to, even for closed back headphones, which usually have problems due to the compression of audio going into your ears. For the inline amp, it performed flawlessly with no hitches. Not one time did I receive any static or distortion when using the call back feature. Turning up the treble and bass worked wonders, as clarity for those spectrum got even more so great. Clarity wise, the Marvel Seven does very well. I could easily pick off enemy footsteps in Black Ops II, and could hear dialogue in heavy intensive movie sections like what would be experienced in the movie 300.
Overall, very pleased with the Marvel Seven. The sound sings better swan songs than the X12, and almost as good as the A40. With that done, time for the verdict!
The Marvel Seven: A love letter to Marvel Fans. Built for the fans, this headset encompass everything that Thor himself would be proud of: A piece of gaming audio that can handle many situations well without a hitch and can easily go up against its many foes. If you are a die-hard Marvel fan, and you need Marvel paraphernalia, the Marvel Seven is an excellent choice. Even if you aren’t a Marvel fan, the Marvel Seven is a sweet pair of headphones to have, and it is everything that the XP Seven should have been, but Turtle Beach got it right this time around.
Final Score: 9 out of 10
About the Writer:
A 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.