Once hooked up, the DSS allows for input and output volume adjustments as well as a complete bypass of Dolby Digital decoding. A series of blue LED lights on the DSS' top signifies a digital connection and which Dolby sound format is being utilized. There's also a bass booster on the side of DSS, which we felt added significant oomph when turned up about halfway.
So, how does the DSS perform overall? It's a mixed bag. First-person shooters, such as Modern Warfare 2, seemed to create the best experience, but action games like God of War III ultimately fell flat. To be totally sure these results were not because of poor sound design, we hooked up our X41s and got much better surround sound. Moving along to sports games in our testing, we found NHL 10 immersed us in the "oohs" and "ahhs" of the crowd, but FIFA World Cup 2010 left us with a shallow, disconnected atmosphere.
That said, we were impressed at how well the DSS was sometimes able to create a surround-sound experience with a standard set of headphones. However, because the results seem to change from game to game, it's tough to recommend a device with such inconsistent performance.
Priced about $80, the Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS isn't affordable enough to take a chance on. For those serious about surround-sound gaming, we highly recommend checking out the company's X41 wireless surround-sound headphone solution, which can be had online for as low as $150.