The Stealth 700 is the latest entry into Turtle Beach’s popular Stealth line of wireless gamer headphones. The Stealth 700 offers a range of design choices aimed at comfort, fully wireless DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, Bluetooth connectivity to compatible devices, active noise-canceling, Superhuman Hearing mode, and connectivity to the Turtle Beach Audio Hub app with several audio presets including Bass Boost and Signature Audio; leading to a highly customizable set of audio hardware for PS4 and Xbox owners.
Those are all features listed in the marketing materials, but the question is how does it react in real world gaming and life situations? I got my hands on a set of the PlayStation 4 edition and put it through its paces in both gameplay, video, streaming, and portable audio tests to see how it performs.
The Hardware: Wireless Headphones with Staying Power
The first thing I noticed as I opened the box, was how solid the headphones themselves actually felt. My previous set of gaming headphones, the PlayStation Gold Wireless, felt light and plastic-like in comparison. Upon further inspection, the microphone has a very firm click as you move them from their “folded” position pointing up and the “deployed” position where the mouth should be.
On the opposite ear are the controls. The main section has a set of three buttons, Power, Bluetooth, and Superhuman Hearing; the buttons are large, rubbery buttons with raised icons to be able to tell the buttons apart by their feel. On the backside of the earpiece sits two volume wheels, one for overall audio, and the other for chat volume. These tuners feel as if there is little to no “float” or non user adjustment.
In the box are all the cables needed to set up the headphones; containing a mini USB to USB charging cord, a USB transmitter and an optical tosslink cable to connect to the optical out of the console and the USB transmitter. This allows for easy setup of the Stealth 700 out of the box, although with my setup I already have the two USB ports on the front filled by the controller charging cable and an external HDD which means that I had to find another permanent place to charge my extra controller. There probably is a more elegant solution to having the optical cable run from the back to the USB in the front, but I haven’t had a chance to look as of now.
Comfort: Like Wearing a Cloud
Wearing the headphones is simply a joy. I have owned headphones in the past that are annoyingly needing constant readjustment due to slipping off my head. This leads to awkward “adjustment noises” for me and anyone that may be on voice chat with me as I readjust the headphones. This is not a problem with the Stealth 700, as they fit snug on my head and stay still after the initial adjustment. The headband clicks into place and stays put.
For long gaming sessions, I almost forgot that I was wearing them, with one caveat. If you are a profuse sweater like I am there is really no breathing from under the ear piece leading to a highly humid atmosphere between my ear and the headset. It’s not the worst I experienced, but it was noticeable. A common issues most gamers face with full ear headphones as found with the Turtle Beach Recon Camo headset.
Gaming: Stealth 700 Times Better
Surround sound has always seemed like a luxury. I’ve always had the opinion that surround sound couldn’t possibly have any real effect on my performance. The Stealth 700 may not change my opinion on that, but it is a luxury that I don’t want to live without anymore. My performance in multiplayer games didn’t noticeably improve, but the expanded information from where a sound is coming from is helpful in feeling immersed in a world.
A good example of added immersion is from a recent playthrough of Resident Evil VII: Biohazard as the sounds that surrounded me caused more tension during play. It’s a good comparison since this playthrough was my fifth playthrough since release.
The highly marketed Superhuman Hearing mode does allow for much better hearing of distant noises which allows for a split second extra of reaction time in multiplayer games such as Rainbow Six: Siege where footsteps and the small sounds allow players to pick out the direction of an enemy and prepare for battle.
My wife is only able to hear from one ear, and not fully which leads to some difficulty in gaming. She tried these out while playing The Witcher 3 and was floored by the sounds she had no idea were in the game and was able to tell when enemies were preparing to attack before they were on screen. She was in love from the first moment.
The one problem that I have is my headset’s tendency to cut out a bit as the internal battery falls to the critical range; around 5 hours of use from a full battery, and then takes 2 hours to charge. The mini USB charging cable that comes in the box is not really long enough to be convenient while wearing the headset, but longer cables are an inexpensive solution to the problem.
Noise Canceling: The Real World Disappears
Noise Canceling has been a feature in many headphones for a while. Most mean that the headphones are soundproofed through insulation in the padding. Lately, though, there has been a feature developed called Active Noise Canceling (ANC), a design where background noise is sampled and the headphones put out the opposite frequency to cancel out the background noise.
The Stealth 700 has both kinds. Without the ANC on, the noise of a room is greatly diminished, but for those who want the least amount of destruction, Turtle Beach has added ANC which works surprisingly well. The mixture of the two almost makes the background disappear living only the immersion in the audio that the user wants to hear.
Streaming: OBS’s New Friend
Setting up a live stream on Twitch or YouTube or any of the growing number of sites is getting easier by the day. For those readers that create live gaming content probably share my frustration with the PS4’s difficulty in sending audio through both headphones and streaming software simultaneously. The optical out connection fixes those problems almost instantly.
My setup usually involves a pair of headphones in the console and a recording microphone to capture my commentary. The optical passthrough sends analog audio to the USB headset connector while still outputting audio through HDMI as well which allows my capture card to transmit audio and commentary to my software with almost no fuss and no noticeable loss of audio quality. The only extra steps are making sure the console settings are correct.
The microphone on the Stealth 700 surpasses the Gold Headphones and even the recording microphone easily, reducing the amount of garbled speech on stream.
Audio Hub: On the Fly Adjustments
The Stealth 700 includes connectivity to the Turtle Beach Audio Hub, an app for smartphones and PC/Mac which allows for customization of audio while using the headphones as well as firmware updates to the hardware itself.
The app works on smartphones by connecting the headset via Bluetooth to the device. Then the user is able to make any adjustments they want to the audio. The app has several presets already installed, but also allows for user tweaking of the bass, treble, and mid for further customizations. This allows for awesome audio quality with any use.
Music and Video: Bluetooth Headphones
When not gaming, the Stealth 700 is able to be taken on the go for all of your portable audio needs. Connect the Bluetooth device to the headset’s signal and then all of the audio can be routed to the headset.
If you don’t own a set of Bluetooth earbuds or other headphones, the Stealth 700 are great. I prefer as small as possible headphones outside of the house, so they are not my ideal portable headphones, but they are great for those who like to add a touch of style. It’s not a gripe, just personal preference.
Conclusion: The New Standard
The Stealth 700 headphones from Turtle Beach are my new favorite headsets. It is one of the best gaming headsets that doesn’t require external sound boards to run. For the price, it deftly balances ease of use and audio customization options to produce a really well made product for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners.
Things are a little too complicated to set up for people who have no idea what they are doing, but a quick YouTube tutorial would uncomplicate things quickly. The final verdict is that if the price scares you off there are cheaper options out there, but very few with the customization and quality the Stealth 700 provides. I highly recommend these headphones to every gamer that are in the market to enhance their gaming audio experience, either an upgrade or the first pair.
- THE GOOD
- Great Noise Canceling
- Surround Sound Works Well
- Turtle Beach Audio Hub Integration is Well Done
- Easy to Use for Streaming
- THE BAD
- Low Battery Life
- Occasional Audio Dropping