Lately I have been looking for a new headset to fully replace my podcasting gear that I have been using for Discord and streaming up to this point. I do really like my podcasting gear. The audio quality output by my Audio Technica AT 2020 XLR microphone has been quite good and my Samson studio headphones are just exceptional. The problem is my Mackie sound board really just takes up too much room and since I am no longer podcasting I think getting it off my desk and perhaps putting my new computer up in it’s place would be a nice thing to do.
So the search began. Key qualities? Basically the headset had to have a good microphone. I would be willing to put up with my current setup if it meant keeping significantly better sound quality over it’s replacement. The same went for the headphones. I like listening to tunes and I have a very specific type of sound I like. The headphones had to be able to reproduce decent lows while providing a decent mid section and crystal clear highs without blowing the drivers out as cheaper headphones often do. All this while completely wireless. My current Samson SR850 open-back headphones are fantastic for all of what I just mentioned (minus the wireless of course) while not distorting at all until you are at a very very unreasonable volume. Like headphones off head loud as desktop speakers loud. This SR850 has been an absolute champ.
There are a few brands to look at and I included HyperX, Steelseries, Turtle Beach, Logitech and Corsair in the running here. The models I looked into specifically included the HyperX Cloud II Wireless, Steelseries Arctis 7, Turtle Beach Stealth 700X, Logitech G733 and the Corsair HS80.
These all met the wireless requirement at their base which I insisted I would not waver from. I have had a taste if wireless now, firstly with the original Corsair Void wireless headset and now my true wireless earbuds. If I’m doing away with hardware my gear might as well be wireless.
I read a lot of reviews. A LOT of reviews. While reading these reviews I realized that I would also like to use this headset on multiple devices, mainly my XBOX Series X, PC and perhaps my phone though that was a low proirity. There was general consensus on the Steelseries Arctis 7 being a really good all around but it did not have the audio quality available from it’s microphone. While not bad (after all Dan uses one and it sounds decent enough over Discord) I wanted something as close to my AT2020 microphone as I could get without totally breaking the bank. The HyperX Cloud II Wireless has a decent microphone as well but to me it’s still really only chat level quality. I stumbled upon the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 actually by discovering I like wathing DrDisRespect. Yeah, I know, I’m crazy. I mean there are plenty of people that like watching that guy but I can’t believe I’ve gotten sucked in as I have. While he doesn’t use the microphone on the Stealth 700 Gen 2 (instead using a Shure SM7B of which I very much dislike the audio profile) he does use the headset for game audio. That said I really have no idea what kind of audio profile he likes so digging deeper into reviews was the answer.
At this point I had narrowed it down to the Arctis 7 and the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 headsets. I knew that the Arctis 7 was Dan’s pick as he had one but I had listened to comparisons of the microphone audio and hands down the microphone audio quality on the Stealth 700 Gen 2 was just leaps ahead of the Arctis 7.
Now there are three flavours ot the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2. Theres the 700X, 700P and the 700. Commonly the 700 series is compatible with PC* (an * here as it’s a bit goofy in one config which I will talk about shortly), Nintendo Switch and mobile through bluetooth. Essentially the 700P and the 700 are bascially the same with the 700P specifically denoting that it is compatible with the Playstation 4 and 5 and thusly licensed as such. The 700X, while physically the same in almost every way is only compatible with Xbox One/Series, through Microsoft’s proprietary wireless protocol, and with the Nintendo Switch and mobile through the onboard bluetooth. Crucially missing is PC compatiblity, on a microsoft licensed headset. This is because, while you can connect the headset to your PC over bluetooth the headset is not identified as an audio device and is unuseable. To use the Stealth 700X Gen 2 as a headset on your PC you need one of Microsoft’s wireless controller adapters for PC. You can then use the sync button on the headset to connect properly and use the headset for gaming and chatting as you would on an Xbox.
I do think it’s misleading to say the headset is PC compatible but then not offer the dongle to do it properly. It really should be able to connect through it’s on board bluetooth but I’m sure it’s something Microsoft insisted on with Turtle Beach to not allow. Yes speculation but I doubt I’m far from the truth in this case.
There is a glaring omission here as well and it seems to be a hit or miss thing on most current wireless headsets on the market. The Stealth 700 Gen 2 in any of its iterations is not able to connect to anything via a 3.5mm jack. This can be a bummer and I do like connecting to my phone with a 3.5mm connection for music at least a lot of the time. True wireless IEMs are nice but they still have to recharge. Then it’s nice to have a wired solution.
The headset is easy to set up via Microsoft’s wireless connection. You just power on your XBOX or PC and press the sync button on the console or the PC dongle along with the sync button on the Stealth 700X. The XBOX will show a notification that a headset has connected. I do with you got some kind of notification that the headset connected to the PC though perhaps you would if you didn’t have all notifications turned on your PC as I do (I hate notifications with a passion typically).
Connecting to an Android phone or tablet is typical bluetooth affair and works great. Speaking of connecting to the phone this will be integral to get the most out of your Stealth 700X you will need to download the Turtle Beach Audio Hub app. This has all the settings you would typically see in software like Corsair’s iCUE, Razer Synapse, Steelseries Engine and so on. I am not sure what the fascination is with always having to tie things to your phone though I can see a benefit here. If you only have one PC screen you can easily grab your phone during gameplay and change settings on the fly. Also in this case it handles all the audio configuration duties for the XBOX as well.
The app is relatively easy to use and if you want a bit more boom boom from your drivers you can change from the Turtle Beach default setting to something boomier if you so desire. You can also pump up the highs, mids and lows manually as well. There is also a chat boosting feature the mutes the base a bit and brightens the mids to pick up chatter better. I’d prefer a PC program to do this stuff on the PC but the mobile app works.
Putting the Stealth 700X over your earholes it will likely be different than any experience you have had before if this is your first truly serious gaming headset. Turtle Beach went for an around the ear design that rests on your head using a sort of memory foam covered in a leatherette. They also designed their headsets with gamers that wear glasses in mind. where most glasses pass through the ear foam theres a little indent to keep the headset from crushing the glasses into their wearer. This is important for two reasons. One is comfort. Two is that the Stealth 700X very much hugs your head aggressively. Not uncomfortably but when on they are very secure.
The fit an finish is really good here. Mostly still a plastic affair here they do include metal framing around the adjustable section of the headset. There’s also a lot of articulation that makes the headset feel almost like it was custom made just for you. It’s one of the best headphones I have ever had the pleasure of wearing. Before this my favourite thing to cover my ear holes was my Samson SR850 headset.
Audio quality with the Stealth 700X’s standard settings is quite good. Some may not like the lack of bass and that can be turned up in their app as I mentioned before to get more kick. Even with that extra kick it does not distort which I am happy to hear.
The microphone sounds fantastic. It is very close to my AT2020’s which is impressive on it’s own. That said the AT2020 is Audio-Technica’s lowest end XLR microphone so perhaps I shouldn’t have been that surprised. The microphone boom swigs down from the left earphone and automatically un-mutes itself when doing so. To mute it all one has to do is flip it back up. This was the same with the Corsair Void headset I had.
The controls are also all located on the left headphone and they will take some time to get used to. In fact I really haven’t had my headset long enough to really get fully used to them. It has two dials for volume. One for overall volume and one for chat volume. When connected to PC only the top dial does anything and it only bring the overall PC volume down slightly. I’d really like to see some work done with this though perhaps it’s a limitation of the Xbox wireless connection.
I have used the headset through my phone with Discord and it worked great as a chat headset while I played Halo with some friends on my XBOX. I couldn’t figure out how to get game audio to work with the Stealth 700X though and that was a shame. There may be a setting somewhere for this but I still haven’t found it.
I really do like the Stealth 700X Gen 2 from Turtle Beach. It has some shortcomings certainly with the proprietary wireless connection for PC and with some quirks with game audio on the XBOX.
It should be noted that this headset WILL NOT work with a playstation 4 or 5 bluetooth or otherwise.
I can recommend this for people who are fully in a Microsoft environment for gaming. If you are a Playstation 4 or 5 user I would go with the 700P or 700 as your functionality will be limited.