Turtle Beach’s Ear Force X41 Headset Review

Building off the success of their stellar Ear Force X4, Turtle Beach’s Ear Force X41 is a high-end gaming headset that is primarily designed for use with the Xbox 360 console. Notable features of this model include a removable microphone for chat, 2.4 GHz digital RF transmission, USB power, and full 7.1 channel Dolby Surround Sound capability. With superb audio quality, long wireless range, and built-in chat normalization, the X41 does not disappoint.

Initial setup of the X41 is simple; just plug in the included USB and optical cables into an available port and it’s ready to go. As a gaming headset, chat features are solid. Game and talk volume adjustments are independent of one another, and the latter is adjusted dynamically during gameplay, ensuring that the player will still be able to chat during loud in-game moments. In addition, the X41 has a built-in microphone monitor, enabling gamers to talk at their normal level without fear of the signal getting distorted. As strong as the headset’s chat functionality is, the overall sound quality is where it truly shines. Audio is clear and distortion free, positional effects are used well, and the highs are satisfyingly punchy. Unlike the X4, this model uses 2.4 GHz Wireless RF technology for audio transmission, meaning walls are no longer a problem, and a direct line of sight between the headset and the transmitter is no longer required. The usable wireless range is approximately 20-25 feet, with little to no sound cut off within that range.

Although designed specifically for the Xbox 360, the inclusion of both optical and RCA jacks provide an added level of versatility, allowing the headset to be used with virtually any device. In this respect, the X41 is not just a gaming device, but rather a multipurpose one. Regardless of the application – be it gaming, music, or home theatre–expect the same uniform high quality sound no matter the source. The inclusion of a headphone jack, with its own independent volume control, is also a welcome addition.

If there is one downside to the X41, it is in the lack of an audible indication of low battery life. Gamers will get approximately 20 hours of battery life with 2 standard AAA batteries. While this is a fair amount of time, the device merely shuts itself off when the battery dies, often resulting in a frantic mid-game scramble for AAA batteries. This could have been alleviated with the inclusion of a simple ‘low battery’ beep sound, giving the player some sort of warning before the device powers down.

Bearing that one minor complaint aside, there is much to like in Turtle Beach’s Ear Force X41. Sound quality is fantastic, setup is a breeze, and in-game chat works well. Do not let the $199.99 price tag detract you from buying them: with built-in Dolby Pro Logic II decoding, compatibility with virtually any device with an Optical or RCA jack, and long-range distortion free wireless, the X41 is a must buy.

Author: Chris Poirier