AXPC 5.1 USB Gaming Headphones Review

Recently, TRITTON came out with their new PC gaming headset, the AXPC. Like the Xbox 360 one, they hoped to create a great audio experience for gamers without having it cost an arm and a leg. The bad news: at $80 bucks at most retailers, they’re still a little pricey. The good news: they’re more than worth every penny.

Even if you’re not a huge PC gamer and are just in the hunt for a good PC headset, the new AXPC is still a great investment. With 8 speakers (2 front, 2 rear, 2 center, and 2 subwoofers) the headset creates a very nice sounding 5.1 experience. There’s even software built in with the headset that attempts to convert normal stereo sound into 5.1 audio. For the most part, this just makes the sound come out from all speakers, but it does sound noticeably better, even if it’s not quite authentic surround sound. (There’s also a built-in rumble feature which allows you to feel the game while hearing it, but just about all of us who tried this couldn’t really remember moments when we noticed it happening. Is it that subtle, or is it just that unnoticeable? I’m not really sure.)

One of the things I like most about this headset is the ease of use, and the relatively simple setup. I’ve tested it on a number of desktops and laptops, and save for one stubborn desktop where the drivers had to be installed through Windows after several restarts, it’s as simple as plugging the headset in and throwing in the installation CD.

If you don’t have a good sound card, the AXPC is also a great way of dealing with that problem, as everything you need is contained within the headphones, and a tiny oblong-shaped piece of plastic on the cord. As long as your computer has a USB port, you can use them. (If you live with other people, it’s also a great way to justify not spending a lot of money on a good sound card.)

For the most part, the headset is a remarkable deal. However, there are a few minor complaints on my part. First off, TRITTON mentions that the headset is designed to be ergonomically designed for extended sessions of play, yet it seems after an hour or so they just begin to make your ears feel uncomfortable. Whether or not its’ the size of the headphones over your ears or the heat from it I’m not too sure; I just know that for every hour of listening, you need a quick refresher without them on. There’s also a problem with sound leaking out of the headphones. If you have them turned up to a decent level, chances are people in your immediate vicinity are going to hear something. It’s not really a problem if you’re at home and gaming, but if you plan to use these for the office, sneaking in some movies/games late at night while your significant other is asleep, etc. it’s definitely something you need to be aware of as you adjust the volume.

Another minor issue I have has to do with the aforementioned oblong of plastic. Not only does this house everything the headset needs (other than the speakers), but it also includes the volume controls. On the bright side, you can control the sound just like you can with real 5.1 speakers; the front, surround, center, and sub can all be adjusted. However, its positioning on the cord makes it very easy for it to brush up against you or your desk, and suddenly you’ll have whatever you were hearing cranked up to maximum or minimum as the sound dial is turned.

Then, of course, there’s the problem that once you get used to these babies, you’ll go online and start buying TRITTON’s gear for the 360, and whatever else you want to play…

Once again, though, those really are very minor issues, especially compared to what you are getting. In the games I played and the movies I watched which support 5.1, the headset outperformed any other pair of headphones we have here, 5.1 or not. (We have some pretty damn expensive headphones, too — not quite this expensive, but still pricey.) $80 may seem like a harsh price to pay for a pair of headphones, but if you value your sound quality and experience, it’s a great deal all things considered.

There’s really no reason I could give people to not get the AXPC if they’re in the market for new headset — gaming or not. The 5.1 experience they give is fantastic both in and out of games, the essentially upscaling of stereo sound performs surprisingly well, the inclusion of a mic is great for those who use them for what they’re intended for, and they’re very user friendly and portable. With the AXPC you basically have a theater-sound experience wherever you have a PC USB port, and that’s a huge benefit, especially if you have more than one computer/laptop in your house/office/room, or if you love watching movies on the go.

It’s hard to give a completely accurate review for something based only on sound quality since it changes for anyone, and it’s largely dependent on the video/game/music you’re watching/playing/listening to. I suppose the best thing I can say about the AXPC is that since we got them, the 5.1 speakers I had on my gaming rig have been stowed away in boxes back at home, and these have been my sole source of sound; the other guys around me are close to getting their own pair and doing the same. If only they worked on my iPod…


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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