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Tritton Black Ops 5.1 headset review

Tom Morgan
28 Jan 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
133
inc VAT

The Black Ops 5.1 has accurate surround sound in games, but it’s expensive and audio quality is a little imbalanced.

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Specifications

To coincide with the release of the latest Call of Duty game, Tritton’s Black Ops 5.1 PC headset has been given a military theme and camouflage colour scheme that wouldn’t look out of place in the jungles of Vietnam. The several prominent Black Ops logos are obviously designed to appeal to fans of the series, but beyond the branding it's a capable 5.1 surround sound headset that can add a new dimension to movies as well as games.

Tritton Black Ops 5.1 headset

Unlike the majority of gaming headsets that only use one main speaker in each earpiece, there are four separate drivers for more accurate front, centre and rear audio. There’s also a dedicated subwoofer channel that can provide the heavy bass notes that give depth to action-packed games and films. You will need three empty 3.5mm input jacks to use every speaker channel, plus a fourth for the microphone; you won’t get the full surround sound experience if you use a laptop or integrated sound card with less outputs.

All those separate speakers need a lot of power, so the headset must be plugged into a USB port. This also provides power to the in-line remote control and the illuminated Tritton logo on each earpiece. The headset can be turned off completely using the remote, which also includes a button to mute the microphone and five separate volume controls. As well as overall volume, each speaker can be fine-tuned for more prominent front, centre or rear positional audio, or more powerful bass.

Tritton Black Ops 5.1 headset inline remote

Despite its substantial weight, the padded headband and ear cups make the headset comfortable to wear for extended periods. The headband can be adjusted to better fit your skull, but the microphone is at a fixed distance. It sits directly in front of your face to pick up even the quietest whisper, but it can be slightly distracting of you just want to watch a film or listen to music. Thankfully, it’s easily detached if you don’t plan to use it regularly.

As it’s mainly aimed at gamers, we tested the Black Ops 5.1 headset in a variety of titles to see how well they held up under intense gaming sessions. Positional audio was incredibly accurate, so we could easily tell when someone was trying to sneak up on us in Call of Duty. Voice chat using the microphone was very clear and without distortion. Unfortunately, sound quality was rather unbalanced; powerful bass notes certainly added depth to explosions and gunshots, but they often overwhelmed the other channels. Using the remote to turn down the subwoofer channel exposed a lack of high-end detail. Notes we would expect to sound crisp were instead either muffled or inaudible.

Although the 5.1 soundtrack on our test movie was very accurately reproduced, the unbalanced audio made it difficult to pick out the finer details during hectic scenes. The headset is ideally suited to bass-heavy rock and electronic music, but definition is missing in quieter genres.

Ultimately, the Black Ops 5.1 is an expensive headset, even when compared to the rest of the enthusiast market. The design won’t appeal to everyone and sound quality is mixed. The Plantronics Gamecom 777 might use virtual rather than true surround sound, but audio quality is far better and they cost less than half the price.

Details

Price£133
Detailswww.trittontechnologies.com
Rating***

Specifications

Typeover-ear headset
Driverclosed
Active noise-cancellingno
Power sourceUSB
Sensitivity120dB
Frequency response20-30000Hz
Impedence1 ohms
Plug typeUSB, 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone plugs
Inline volumeYes
Weight1.2kg
Cable length3.70m
Extrascarry case

Buying Information

Price£133
Supplierhttp://www.scan.co.uk
Detailswww.trittontechnologies.com

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