Tritton Primer Wireless Stereo Headset for Xbox 360|
Itís always been a challenge for me to review headphones. I donít live or play games in an apartment with sensitive neighbors and I donít have a wife or kids to worry about waking up when my Modern Warfare sessions carry me through to sunrise. What I do have is a fairly elaborate and expense THX home theater system with 7.1 surround and an appreciation for high-fidelity sound, so while I am probably the last person who should be reviewing the new Tritton Primer Wireless Stereo Headset for the Xbox 360 from a practical standpoint, Iím also the best from a technical one.
When it comes to quality headphones, or at least ďgaming headsetsĒ Tritton has always managed to remain competitive with the higher-end offerings from Turtle Beach and Astro Gaming. Anyone who has ever researched or test-driven a pair of Astro A40ís knows those are the closest thing to wearing a home theater on your head, but not everyone is comfortable dropping $250 to get a pair. The Primer headset sells for $99, and not only offers comparable quality to its competition; they are wireless, lightweight, and extremely comfortable to wear for extended gaming sessions.
Having nothing to do with performance quality, the visual styling and design of these headphones is admittedly quite striking with cushy black padded earpieces surrounding the orange cloth speaker covers as well as the orange Tritton logo on the exterior shell, all attached with a black polished (and padded) headband complete with the Xbox 360 logo on the top in case you forget where to use these. The fully adjustable microphone can be bent to your ideal position or swivels out of the way when not needed. Caution! The tip of the mic is ďfirmlyĒ mounted into the packaging material so be very careful when removing the headphones from the molded plastic interior.
Hooking up the Primer require little effort thanks to the enclosed manual and quick-setup guide; although anytime I have to venture behind my home theater (also known as the snake pit) I get a little nervous. Iím running HDMI, so I had to make use of the included audio cable to get the audio transmitter box up and running. Depending on your situation, you can use the included audio cables to attach the ominous black box to either your TV or 360, then itís just a matter of popping the pair of AA batteries (included) into the headphones and youíre off to the races. Oh yeah Ė if you plan on chatting youíll also have to connect the Primer to your controllerís mic input.
Now it was time to take these bad boys for a test driveÖliterally. Forza 4 just happened to be in my 360, and I was already in the process of testing the Mad Catz Wireless Force Feedback Racing Wheel (howís that for a shameless cross-promotion), which just so happened to have a convenient headset port right in the front . After about 30 minutes of smack-talk racing I moved on to some more strenuous audio source material including Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, and Syndicate; a co-op game that requires a lot of teamwork and conversation.
Over the course of several days I played a variety of games, some with chat and some without. I found the controls, located on the top of the left earpiece, easy to work and after very little learning curve I could adjust the volume and mute the mic with ease. I was continually impressed with the audio for the most part, both in what I was hearing and what other people were hearing. Everyone on the receiving end of my chats frequently commented (sometimes without me even asking) on how "clear" my voice was coming through. The 40mm speakers delivered a nice clean mix of sound, music, and dialogue, despite a noticeable absence of low-end frequencies, but then again, Iím used to a 15Ē sub-woofer shaking the house during the Xbox power-on sequence.
Forza 4 sounded great with a clean mix of music and engine revs and the occasional fender-bender. The war games also exhibited a great mix of sound, music, and dialogue, although were slightly less impactful when it came to explosions. Quieter games like Warp or Alan Wakeís American Nightmare really allowed the fidelity to shine with such great sound separation youíd swear these were 5.1 surround headphones at times. Alan Wake was truely terrifying wearing the Primers - perhaps more so than listening through my home theater system.
There were a few instances, usually in moments of complete and utter silence, where I thought I was hearing a barely audible hiss. This may be a side-effect of the 5.8GHz wireless technology because Iíve heard this same thing on 5.8GHz cordless phones. Itís a non-issue really because itís completely undetectable as soon as any real sound starts coming from the headphones. Speaking of wireless, you get a nice 33ft/10m range of reception in case you wanted to listen to that cutscene while taking a bathroom break or fix a sandwich while watching a Netflix movie.
The Primer uses 2 AA batteries and they are still going strong after about 18 hours of testing. While Iíve heard no official claims of battery life, rumors of 72-hours have been floating around, so you should have plenty of time to purchase a pair of rechargeable batteries before the freebies run dry. I did appreciate the auto-off function that turned the Primer off when I powered down my Xbox 360, but there is also a power button if you need to turn them off sooner.
Within the reasonable expectations of someone looking for a quality set of affordable headphones, the Tritton Primer Wireless Stereo Headset is a fantastic option. Both Mad Catz and Tritton are longstanding names we know and trust, and these are officially branded by Microsoft, who actually had some engineering oversight into their creation. So if the neighbors are threatening to call the cops or your wife is threatening to take the kids and move to her motherís, it might be time to invest in a gaming headset, and you wonít find a better bang for your buck than the Tritton Primer Wireless Stereo Headset for your Xbox 360.