Audio performance can be an easy aspect of gaming to overlook. You’ve got your addictive gameplay, you’ve got your 60FPS, what more do you need? I’ve found, though, that a really solid aural experience can add a lot to a session. With that in mind, you’d do well to look for a decent headset that can provide that experience, and if you don’t mind a cord then Turtle Beach might have what you’re looking for with their fine Elite Atlas Gaming Headset.
So I should probably be honest straight out the gate: I’m largely over corded headsets. Being tied down just doesn’t do it for me when I could be roaming around my condo, grabbing a snack, doing household chores, recording podcasts (still a chore), listening to music and so on. Wireless is the future, if you ask me, so we’re already working with technology that feels a little primitive based on the standards of what I’ve been using lately. Still, this is Turtle Beach and they’re known for quality. If you’re going to have to hook yourself up to something, there’s a fair chance that these guys are going to make it worth your while.
Surprisingly, that actually does end up being the case for the most part! The Elite Atlas sounds absolutely fantastic, while it doesn’t slouch in terms of microphone input, which is a huge deal for me given my love of multiplayer gaming. It’s a unidirectional microphone that lets you adjust volume and mute the mic via an inline control as per usual. From an audio perspective, you can expect heavy bass as is common with gaming headsets. I’ve seen complaints about this sort of arrangement when listening to music as opposed to games, but generally speaking I had no issue there and found the Elite Atlas to sound positively delightful in pretty much every scenario.
Further (and this is important if you’re going to be willing to chain yourself to your device via the surprisingly short 3.5mm cable) it’s a shockingly comfortable set of cans. There’s fake leather and don’t hurt your face. That’s really all I ask for from these things and yet Turtle Beach and Logitech seem to be the only companies that really deliver on a consistent basis. Housed within them are crystal-clear 50mm Nanoclear speakers with Neodymium magnets, which not only continue the Nano/Neo theme but are workhorse drivers delivering 12Hz – 20kHz frequency response.
This is very impressive. Take my baseline headset, the one that I use on a daily basis, is the Logitech G933 Artemis Spectrum. That retails for $200, while the Elite Atlas is around half that price – yet sounds nearly as good. You’re mostly paying for the freedom of wireless. If that’s not a make-or-break issue for you, you’re going to be pleased with the level of quality you get for a significantly smaller chunk of change. I also have to give Turtle Beach a nod for the aesthetics of this headset, which looks just minimalist enough that I wouldn’t feel awkward using it at a coffee shop or whatever.
I tested with a varied set of recent games, with highlights including the newly-updated Warframe and its catchy chain-gang theme song, the recent string-heavy hit Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and, for some reason, Titanfall 2. What can I say? That single-player campaign is just too good. Speaking of campaigns, immerse yourself in the operatic nihilism of Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2 and enjoy the year’s most depressing adventure in pure aural comfort on either console. In all cases, the Elite Atlas provided an entirely worthwhile experience, and you can plug it into most tech and expect it to work; Turtle Beach specifically recommends you use this as a PC headset in marketing, though.
Speaking of that whole “PC” label…one of the better features about having a wired 3.5mm headset is that it works on just about everything still using the stalwart legacy input – despite what Apple thinks. Because of this you’ll not only get full PC support but console support as well, including PS4, Xbox One and even Nintendo Switch. That last one’s a biggie, especially now that Nintendo appears to have finally embraced online play with games that actually use voice-chatting for games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and, of course, the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
At around a hundred bucks you’re getting a pretty solid headset in Turtle Beach’s Elite Atlas Gaming Headset, albeit a solid wireless one that plays nice with practically everything. Again, if you’re after wireless, you’re going to need to look elsewhere – and you’re probably going to need to pay more as well. Those looking for a cheaper alternative can try out the Elite One Headset. I feel like I’m an outlier in demanding that my headsets allow me to roam free, but also recognize there exists both people who actually prefer being tethered to their headsets or can’t justify the added cost to cut the cord. With its reasonable price, great build quality and exceptional sound output the Elite Atlus is a strong recommendation.