Turtle Beach are a name that brings back memories of midi and old sound cards. Of course they don’t do that anymore, and for a while were focussing on consoles. But not their focus is well and truly back where it should belong, on us PC users. First up was their 7.1 DTS headset which has been out a little while:
The DTS part means that Turtle Beach can do all sorts of digital trickery to position sounds better whether for gaming or music. Now bear in mind this is still a 2 driver headphone, so they are taking the 8 channels of sound and then using magic to make your head think the sounds are where they should be. This should mean a competitive advantage for gaming whereby your ears can tell you where a sniper might be located for example. No more spinning wildly and hoping your eyes notice the annoying camper. We found the positional accuracy quite good from the brief sampling we tried. Traditionally music too has suffered when played as surround. You are usually positioned in the center as if you are on stage with the band. Turtle beach instead manipulate it so that the music plays more as if you’re in the audience.
To connect to PC you’d use the USB input, and there are presets for gaming and music amongst others. We had a try and it was pretty decent. My only complaint was that it didn’t seem as rugged as I’d like. There is also a 3.5mm jack if you want to plug into your phone for example. There were also some wireless versions again adapted from the console line up:
The new focus on PC’s meant that we are seeing more peripherals:
For example a few mechanical keyboards:
Like the Impact 700 here with mx reds, there was also the 600 and 500 TKL. Nothing too special about these in terms of macro features, but the USB cable is braided and super chunky which we like.
Mice were also to be found:
There were also copious branding partnerships with both MLG, Activision-Blizzard and LucasArts:
One of the cooler technologies though wasn’t even for the PC market. TB had some ultrasonic speakers. These are not traditional speakers, instead they are panels that emit ultrasonic waves that transform into sound when they hit an object. The beam is quite narrow meaning that they can focus sound quite tightly. The downside is that not only do they need line of sight, but that they don’t transmit a wide range of frequencies and are more focussed at voices. The major application of course is for old people who are hard of hearing. Those people are famous for watching TV with the volume way up instead of using a hearing aid. This results in deafening their neighbors and friends/spouses. Such a system would enable them to have position the speakers so that they hear the sound much more loudly than everyone else in the room.
The speakers themselves are quite thin and have a honeycomb mesh presumably to protect the surface that vibrates: