Novice headset, basic features

When you first get a good look at the TACTX, you'll notice right away that there really isn't much in the way of obvious features or flashy design. Most everything is either subdued or fades into the features around it, as the headset is almost entirely matte black, and rounded where there are typically hard edges on other headphones.

The microphone can actually be hidden inside the ear cup when you don't need it.

Honestly, it's a design that should please many, as the lack of ostentatious branding is a big plus to some. Additionally, because the profile is quite a bit smaller, you should have no trouble stowing or taking the TACTX with you to a LAN party. If you worry about the microphone getting broken, don't—it can actually be hidden inside the ear cup when you don't need it.

The TACTX is PC-only, but it's a blessing not to have to deal with a litany of adapters for specific consoles. We've seen headsets try to do it all in the past, but keeping all those dongles and connectors straight is an enormous pain. Still, console gamers will have to keep looking if they like this headset.

Avoid the TACTX if you want to use your headset for music

If you've ever been frustrated by a gaming headset's audio quality in the past, you've probably figured out that gamers have unique requirements of a headset. Why is this the case? Well, if you're playing a game with a lot of explosions and loud noises, you may want to get a leg up on your competition by reducing the volume of said loud noises so you can hear people sneaking up on you.

I find that the TACTX is probably best used in action RPGs or shooters

To this end, I find that the TACTX is probably best used in action RPGs or shooters: They deaden lower frequency sounds like explosions, boost the first, second, and third harmonics of human voices, and even make footsteps louder while softening some gunfire. For a shooter, this is helpful.

Teammates will find some faults with your microphone, but this can be minimized if you follow a few pointers. Be sure to bring the black tip in so it's almost touching your mouth. Additionally, be sure to max your volume and speak with authority, because sometimes it has some trouble bringing your voice to an acceptable volume.

Decent for shooters, and not much else.

So you've bought the Alienware TACTX and you've fired up your favorite MMO shooter, but you don't know what to expect; Let me paint you a word picture in lieu of actually plopping them on your head.

You'll be able to use the sound profile to your advantage in the right situations.

From the first moments you put them on, you'll notice that they're on your head. It's not a painful experience, just not a very plush one. If you wear glasses, you'll notice a bit of noise when you move your head as the pads will rub against your specs. Overall though, the TACTX vents heat fairly well, and won't become uncomfortable even after a few hours in front of the screen.

You'll notice that footsteps are easier to notice, and that really high-pitched sounds become very prominent. Music will definitely sound weird, but once you're used to the difference in sound you'll be able to use these idiosyncrasies to your advantage in the right situations. It isn't for everyone, however, as fantasy games will definitely sound strange.
Avid gamers who like shooters (or friends buying for one) may want to give this headset a look. It's definitely not suited well for all games, but it'll give you a leg up in shooters and action RPGs due to the tailored sound performance of the unit.

There are significant shortcomings, but that's to be expected—it's an entry-level headset, after all. If you wear glasses while gaming, this may be a less-than-ideal purchase due to the added noise. However, this can either be a minor issue at best, or a legitimate concern—it's all up to your tastes.

Entry-level buyers should give the Alienware TACTX a look, but gamers who like to spend more time in a fantasy world might want to give these a pass. Their unusual audio performance makes them fairly terrible for music and fantasy RPGs, so don't rush out to get these if you intend on buying an all-purpose headset—because these aren't.
So I mentioned that this headset is better for shooters before, but I never really told you in excruciating detail how. Pretty much the frequency response—that's it. However, it's worth hashing out the finer points when comparing these to other gaming headsets, as these fall short in a few places.

It has its uses but this result is not good

Lovers of bass and loud explosions will be disappointed with the Alienware TACTX. However, if you really pay attention, you'll notice that other important sounds are quite loud—like footsteps. It does mean that this headset is not especially well-suited for music listening: This is a very bad performance for a set of headphones.

Those very emphasized high notes will be very grating with most modern tunes, as it means that cymbals will be deafeningly loud in comparison to the rest of your music. Better stick to the shooting games, lest you want to blow out your ears with short interval sound.

More distortion than 90's rock

When it comes to distortion, the Alienware TACTX shows its rough edges. Even though the level of distortion isn't all that high at our testing volume, bringing the volume up even a little bit to 87.1dB will leave you with an audible level of affected sound. Considering how low the levels of bass and mid tones will be, you'll probably hear some of it when you inevitably bump up the volume.

While there is quite a high level of distortion from subdued and missing harmonics, there isn't any added garbage noise that the human ear can hear. That's unexpected, but not impossible.

Poorly-suited for loud environments.

If you're looking to make the world around you disappear, these are the wrong cans. Not only do they block out a minimal amount of outside noise, but you will hear the complaints of those around you, as these leak a fair bit if you turn up the volume.

It seems as if the biggest upside to using this headset versus computer speakers is the boosted sounds that typically go unnoticed—they really don't offer much isolation at all, and the problem of the deadened lower notes ensures you'll need to crank the volume to drown out people around you.

Meet the testers

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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