It’s easy to underestimate the importance of sound and music when it comes to the gaming experience. Heck, in some games it might even be best to turn the sound off altogether and crank up a podcast while you’re grinding up levels or crafting materials. In others, sound is an integral part of a game, and you’ll want the right peripherals to make the most of it.
Turtle Beach’s freshly updated Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX gaming headset is an entirely reasonable choice for this purpose, offering a tight balance of sound quality, recording capabilities, and plenty of bonus features to give you a great value for your increasingly scarce cash money.
The biggest wins for the Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX are, naturally, its vast compatibility and its wireless nature. That’s right: no propriety platforms here! You can set this baby up with pretty much anything with a USB or Bluetooth connection and you’ll likely manage to make it work…with the exception of using the PlayStation version of the headset on Xbox consoles, which demand you use the standard version of it that (fortunately) doesn’t appear to have any price differences as of this writing. So you’re better off with the standard headset if you’re looking for the most compatibility.
I even paired it set up with my fancy new Steam Deck, which should say something about how well it works with newer, more esoteric gadgets. If you’re going to invest in a solid piece of tech it helps when it’s future-proofed.
Additionally, I didn’t have many complaints with regards to range and sound quality while using it as a wireless device. I was even able to head a floor up to my kitchen while keeping the sound on, which is a nice touch.
From a specs point of view, the Stealth 700 Gen 2 offers quite a bit compared to its contemporaries. 20 hours of battery life? Sure, sounds great – it’ll certainly outlast the aforementioned Steam Deck. There’s cooling gel in ear cushions and even channels for your glasses frames if you wear those, though I didn’t mess with this feature all that much myself since I was concerned about pulling off the ear cushions to adjust them. The headset boasts 50mm Nanoclear speakers with a response of 20h-22khz, and while those are all scary numbers, from a practical point of view this means that games, music and chat alike all sound great.
Naturally, most of my time with the Stealth 700 Gen 2 was spent on PC. It’s my preferred platform due to its vast variety of experience, the relative ease of tweaking performance to your liking and the vast array of compatible peripherals. While I did test this device out on my PlayStation 5 console as well and it was pretty impressive, particularly considering that console’s built-in surround sound, I definitely found it to be a great match for the PC. On that platform, I had the chance to check out some new and spicy titles as well as some old classics.
My big games of choice for the past couple weeks have been all about the aural experience, in fact. Let’s take Super Robot Wars 30, which is an instant classic from a couple years back that’s all about bringing together mecha from various anime and game series; it’s not something you’d immediately associate with music, but when you check out the $30 Premium Sound & Data Pack DLC, you might change your tune. This DLC incorporates dozens of iconic theme songs from the various series represented in the game, taking a pretty solid fanservice experience up to a level of sheer greatness. You’ll want some hardcore sound hardware to get the most out of this flood of awesome, and the Stealth 700 Gen 2 is up to the task.
It’s rock solid, slamming the bass on tracks like Hiroyuki Sawano’s Vigilante (from Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative) while remaining dynamic enough to handle more relaxed tunes like Tamura Naomi’s Yuzurenai Negai (from Magic Knight Rayearth) as well. Consider this an endorsement of the Stealth 700 Gen 2’s music bona fides as much as anything. Combined with its relatively low-profile design it’s the kind of headset you might not feel bad about pulling out on an airplane or train to get your rock on.
For a more traditional gaming headset experience we can look at Monster Hunter Rise. All that beast-roaring, sword-slashing, hammer-crushing action needs the height of ear-pleasing goodness and the headset is more than happy to provide. Capcom’s sound design was rock solid on this one and it definitely stands out with this headset’s high performance. You can almost smell the poop as a Volvidon takes a dump on you. If that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is.
Somewhat older titles also benefit from the Stealth 700 Gen 2. Few studios in the industry are better at sound than Supergiant Games, so naturally I went back to check out classics Hades, Transistor and Bastion. In this case, I feel like the headset got a little boost from the games themselves being so fantastic. It’s hard not to love every aspect of these games, but this headset does a great job of accentuating their sound, music and voice acting, which incidentally are some of their best qualities anyway.
Also worth mentioning: the Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX’s microphone is fantastic by gaming headset standards. It’s a great choice for chatting over comms, calling up family over Zoom or even recording a podcast. Poor microphone quality is a sticking point on many gaming headsets specifically, so it’s nice that Turtle Beach didn’t skimp on this front. While you might not be able to replace your beloved desktop microphone with pop filter, it’s certainly good enough that you’re not going to annoy anyone you’re communicating with. Good stuff!
What’s to complain about? Well, there’s no built-in surround sound, so audiophiles who’ve come to rely on that feature might be disappointed. Additionally, while there’s a fair number of cute bonus features, they aren’t must-haves by any means. The much-vaunted Superhuman Hearing feature, for instance, isn’t going to change the game quite as much as it’s made out to – if you have the time to reach up, hit the button and refocus on what you’re doing through the suddenly-altered soundscape that now provides intense directional sound at the expense of general clarity, you probably have the time to just pop somebody in the head and keep moving. Maybe FPS fans with better multitasking abilities than myself might be able to get a little more out of it.
Additionally, the Audio Hub app is finicky at best and doesn’t offer much in the way of tweaking. That’s especially true if you use the desktop app, since most of the key features like balancing options are only available on mobile. Yes, the app you can get on your phone is more fully-featured than the one you can install on your computer, with the latter doing practically nothing other than serving as an update platform, assuming it feels like working that day. Welcome to the modern world, folks. Enjoy your stay.
Still, these are relatively minor complaints when considering the impressive performance of the headset overall and the Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX gaming headset is a worthwhile purchase for gaming and music fans alike. To have a premium “gaming” accessory be so platform-friendly is also a big win, and Turtle Beach has once again crafted a stellar all-purpose option for the mid-range consumer that’s looking for something a little more impressive than the average $20 budget fare. Your ears will thank you for it, trust me.