In addition to high-definition graphics, the current generation of video game consoles also offer discrete 5.1 surround sound. While it's occasionally overlooked by some gamers, surround sound adds an entirely separate dimension to the experience of playing video games. Of course, to enjoy all surround sound has to offer, you'll need a home theater setup including a receiver that can process the audio information.
If you're not willing to pull the trigger on a new home theater setup or you just don't have a properly sized room that can accommodate such a system, you may want to turn to 5.1 surround sound headphones. We've already looked at a wireless solution with the X4 Headset from Turtle Beach, but we weren't impressed with its lackluster infrared signal radius and sound isolation performance. The Tritton AX Pro Gaming Headset is a wired device that sounds fantastic and does a great job of immersing you into the game with its effective noise canceling design.
Let us get one thing out of the way first: the Tritton AX Pro has a lot of wires. It also requires you to provide power to not only the amplifier box, but to the headphones as well. You'll also need to run wires from your console or computer to the amp, and if you'll be chatting online, that'll require an addition wire. When all is said and done, you could literally be dealing with six or seven different connections before it's time to play. We figured this information should be disclosed right from the get go, so if you're the wire-fearing type, you may want to look elsewhere at some wireless headphones.
The AX Pro will take any optical audio connection you can throw at it, allowing you to hook up any video game console that supports it (Xbox, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation 3). This also means that any device with an optical out can be decoded by the AX Pro amplifier. DVD and Blu-ray players, even a PC with a sound card supporting the proper outputs, will also work. Surprisingly enough, the AX Pro amplifier also has analog 5.1 inputs for some sound cards that support such an interface. (More on the AX Pro amplifier box later.) Only stereo sources are left out in the cold. That includes the Wii.
The adjustable headphones themselves are covered in a gray, gun-metal glossy plastic with room for the detachable microphone under the left ear cup. Four drivers make up each ear cup, allowing for discrete channel separation of front, center, rear, and subwoofer audio streams. The wire coming from the left ear cup contains an in-line volume adjuster that allows you to separately tune each audio channel. From here you can connect an Xbox 360 controller (with an included wire) and then adjust the microphone volume as desired. At the end of the headset wire you'll find two connections; one for the amplifier box and the other will need to be plugged in for power.
The headphones alone are actually quite heavy. At first we weren't concerned with their weight, but after just 45 minutes of gameplay we needed to take a break for some head relief. The AX Pro comes fitted with soft, cloth-covered earpads and you're given the option to replace them with spare leather-cushioned pads. In terms of comfort, each had its pros and cons so we recommend trying each of them on. We should note that the leather pads caused our ears to sweat a lot, quicker than the cloth-covered pads did.