Meet the Tritton AX 180s.
Gaze upon the speaker element, protected by a thin mesh to keep out all sorts of grime that can build up over several sweaty gaming sessions.
Here we see the back of the , proudly displaying the Tritton logo.
The band of the s is a thick, soft foam and leather. If necessary, the band can be adjusted to fit your skull.
Like most of the console gamer headsets out there, the s have a really long cord, measuring in at 12.5 feet even before the adapter adds a few inches.
At the end of the 's monster cord are three plugs: a USB plug, a 3.5mm headphone plug, and another 3.5mm microphone plug.
The cord guards to the are fairly robust, and shouldn't expose your cable's solder points to much danger.
Included in the packaging for the s is a couple of adapters for your console, may it be XBox or Playstation 3.
One of the more unique and interesting aspects of the design of the is the fact that they have a removable microphone, which is great should the worst happen and it breaks.
Included in the packaging for the is your headset, adapters, and assorted documentation.
While these cans may not be made of the most durable metal, or a super-advanced carbon nanotube mesh, they are relatively durable for the price they can be had for, and being able to replace the mic in the event of breakage is always a plus for headsets. Still, we advise all gamers not to fling their headsets across the room into the wall for any reason.
s aren't the prettiest headset in existence, but the look is definitely appealing to some. They share the basic black color scheme as many other headsets, but also have some orange accents on the side. If you like this sort of color scheme, these cans will fit right in at your gaming rig.
Taking a look at the frequency response for a minute, it seems like the s earned a bad score, but hold on just a second: what does an ideal response look like for in-game sound? Truth be told, that depends on which type of game you're likely to play. For example, first-person shooters could probably benefit from only slight bass emphasis and a downplay of high-end sounds, because in a firefight, you want to hear explosions and less of small arms fire. If that's the case, then this headset is probably a great fit. If you're more at home with an RPG with carefully orchestrated music, however, you're probably not going to value this type of frequency response as much. Just think long and hard about what types of sounds you'd like ot hear in-game, and what you'd like muffled a bit.
While the s have a low level of distortion, it's not really at the level where it'd be noticeable in gameplay.
The s have some tracking issues, and if you're listening extremely intently at a loud volume, you can probably hear slight channel shifts, but you probably won't hear anything in-game, especially considering the most prominent shifts in channel volume occur in the under-emphasized high end.
Unfortunately for those in noisy rooms, the s do not attenuate much sound, outside of some high-end noise. While the gamer in its natural habitat often seeks dark, isolated places, this lack of noise attenuation could be problematic in a LAN party.
The s also leak a fair bit of sound. While it's probably not going to be enough to annoy those around you, if you like to crank the volume in your cans, other people will definitely hear it.
While the can output 110.45dB of sound without reaching the dreaded 3% total harmonic distortion (THD) amount, we would like to advise you to never listen at this high volume. Seriously, you could damage your hearing.
While the shape of the s is fairly odd given the face that the back end of a human pinna is not flat, but rounded, the are nonetheless comfortable. If you can't see what we're talking about, the flat side of the ear cup goes to the back of your ear, while the rounded part goes over the front of your ear.
Over time, there aren't many heat issues or anything else bothersome, so the s get the same marks.
Aside from changing adapters and maybe yanking out your microphone, there really isn't a whole lot one can do to customize their gaming headset. That's not exactly a bad thing though, unless you care deeply about how your headset can reflect you.
The cable of the s is a 12.5 foot long affair, before the extra couple of inches the adapters add to end if you use an XBox. At the end of said cable exists three plugs essential for use: a USB plug for power, a 3.5mm headphone plug clad in green cable guard for the headphone element, and another 3.5mm plug clad in pink for the microphone.
Additionally, there is an in-line remote that has many of the functions necessary to change audio levels on the fly in-game. This is quite useful to avoid the in-game menu screen, but it's a feature that's on many gaming headsets.
Due to the size and rather cumbersome length of the cord, it's no surprise that the s are not very portable. Thankfully, because of their specialized use, you're probably not going to be taking these everywhere with you.
Aside from being able to wipe down the mesh guarding the speaker, and replacing the microphone should you kill it, there isn't a whole lot you can do to revive your headset should it leave the world of the living.
Remote & Mic
Near the headset in the 's monster cord is an in-line remote with volume control, and a mute function for your microphone (if you don't want your opponents to hear you swearing). Keep in mind that an in-line remote adds a weak point on your cable should you often tug at it, so be wary of snapping your headset at this point if you're too rough with it.
Also, the microphone pictured below is removable, which is useful in case of breakage. Also useful is the fact that it can be articulated to meet your mouth for better voice detection in games, which can be somewhat of a pain with most unidirectional and omnidirectional microphones on the market.
Both headsets are entry-level cans, with relatively similar features and compatibility, but the main difference in design is the durability factor, as the can have its mic replaced in the event of breakage, while the X12 cannot. There are no major flaws with either headset.
While the X12s have a flatter overall response, first-person shooter (FPS) gamers may not want to have their ears blown out in a firefight with small arms fire, making the response of the more ideal for gaming purposes.
The s are the hands-down winner here, as they do not have the same distortion problems as the X12s
Neither headset has any wild swings in channel preference, but neither headset has an ideal response here either.
While both do a fair job of isolating you from the outside world, the s block out a bit more mid-range sound than do the X12s.
As with most comfort comparisons, the s and the X12s offer a decent level of comfort, but because everybody has a different head, different cans will vary in their comfort level for each person. What does this mean for you? See if you can try both on before you buy. Only then can you be sure which fits better.
Considering that these are of similar prices, we'd say you might be better off with the slightly more durable option in the s. Not only can their microphone be replaced, but lower distortion should keep gamers happy with the set they've got on. Both headsets work well for what they are, and you really can't go wrong with either, but for a little extra coin, you can get the s that will probably suit FPSers a little better.
While the s are entry-level cans, the Astro A40 is a gaming headset that is super-serious and takes out all the stops in every category; including price. While the s are compatible with the XBox, and PS3 (and PC, theoretically), the A40s are compatible with just about everything under the sun with a headphone/microphone jack.
It's interesting to note that both headsets have a dip in frequency response at relatively the same points along the range of measured frequencies, preserving the stereocilia of FPS gamers. Still, if you're an avid RPG gamer, this dip in frequency emphasis means that mid tones and high-mids like electricity sounds, and higher music notes will be muffled a little bit.
Neither set has a noticeable problem with distortion.
While neither headset is perfect here, the A40s have the better overall response.
Despite the fact that the A40s are much larger than the s, they do not block out ambient noise as well as the .
Comfort is very subjective, as what might feel nice to one person, might feel like unmitigated hell to another simply by virtue of the fact that we all have different head sizes. Our best advice is to see if you can find each headset to try on before you buy.
Both headsets have clear advantages, and it's up to you to decide what you want as a part of your gaming arsenal. The Astro A40s are super-serious, have great sound quality, and works with just about everything under the sun, but you definitely pay for that luxury. The s, on the other hand, have fair audio quality, are often priced at 1/5th the cost of the A40s, and work well with an XBox or PS3.
While the is a console headset primarily, the Razer Carcharias is a PC-only gaming headset, so if you're looking for a certain platform, that should narrow your decision down considerably. The Razer headset is durable, and feels well-built with metal mesh backs, and absolutely looks the part, of a serious headset, but it doesn't cost as much as some other headsets out there.
While FPS gamers may like the 's de-emphasis on the frequencies that compose many small arms fire sounds, the Carcharias has a more or less flatter response, enabling it to be equalized to your preference with minimal distortion. On top of that, if you just want to listen to music as well, this is a fairly good response for that too.
Neither headset has a noticeable issue with distortion.
Even though the Carcharias has the prettier-looking tracking response, both headsets' channel shifts are relatively unnoticeable. That being said, if you really listen very closely to frequency sweeps at a loud volume, you might be able to hear a shift in channel volume in the .
While neither set of cans is a great isolator, the s block out more mid-range ambient noise.
Because all heads are differently sized and proportioned, different headsets with different clamping forces and different ear cup shapes will be predictably variant in comfort level for different people. Neither of these headsets has a huge comfort problem, but we still advise you to try each pair out if you're given the opportunity.
Considering how close in price each headset is, this recommendation comes down to which platform you're gaming on. For PC gaming, the can't compete well with the Carcharias, but on the other hand, the Carcharias is not compatible with XBox or PS3 consoles, so the wins there. It's up to your preferences, really.
At the end of the day, many consumers are looking for a simple, no-nonsense headset to throw on their head and start their gaming. If that sounds like what you want to do, the s are a solid choice, and should do exactly what's expected of a headset.
While they do fit the bill of an entry-level headset, they do not have the same distortion issues of some of the lower-end headsets on the market, but they don't have any off the wall or spectacular features; the s are a middle of the road headset, and sometimes, you just want something that will get the job done without much fuss.
That's not to say that there aren't some shortcomings of the set, but they're relatively minor, and situation oriented. For example, if you're not a first-person shooter fan, you'll probably want a different headset for RPG games, as the high end is very muffled.
If you're on a budget, and you need a headset for your XBox or PS3 that doesn't break the bank or your spirit, the s are a good bet for the price range. They offer decent audio quality and durability for less money than you might shell out for a comparable headset of lower quality.
Meet the tester
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.
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