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Tritton AX900 review: Tritton AX900

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Among all the video game accessories available today, no other market seems to be expanding as rapidly as the video game headset. With most current-generation consoles able to produce 5.1 surround sound, finding a headset solution to handle such a request is now much easier than before. We've tested a handful of gaming headsets, most of which are not designed to accommodate 5.1 sound. The latest from Tritton, the Tritton AX 720 and the AX 900, not only both handle 5.1 surround sound, but they do a pretty impressive job at doing so.

OVR
7.6

Tritton AX900

The Good

5.1 surround-sound headphones; supports headset chatting; easy to use; detachable microphone; compatible with most PCs, gaming consoles, and any device with an optical audio output, analog RCA audio, or a 1/8-inch headphone jack.

The Bad

Included 3-foot optical cable and USB cable won't get you far; heavy headphones; bass response isn't great.

The Bottom Line

The AX 900 Gaming Headset performs extremely well and is compatible with pretty much every gaming PC and game console.

The AX 720 and 900 are nearly identical, with the white control box being the only difference between the two. The AX 900's box allows for increased compatibility, the details of which we'll get into later.

The last Tritton product we tested, the AX Pro 5.1, performed well, but we were really turned off by the gratuitous number of connections that had to be made in order for the system to function properly. This time around, Tritton has slashed the amount of connectivity required, all while maintaining most of the same user experience.

The AX 900 will take any optical audio connection you can throw at it, which also means that any device with an optical-out can be decoded by the AX 900 amplifier. DVD and Blu-ray players, even a PC with a sound card supporting the proper outputs, will also work. There's also an included PC adapter that will work separately. Unlike the AX 720, the AX 900 also has two analog stereo inputs, one RCA left and right input and one standard 1/8-inch headphone jack input.

The headphones themselves are still too heavy, but at least they don't require their own power supply like we saw in the AX Pro 5.1. 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. They're covered in a white, glossy plastic with room for the detachable microphone under the left ear cup. The wire coming from the left ear cup can detach from the in-line volume adjuster. 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 a connection for the AX 900's white control box.


Most of the headset's controls can be customized on the inline adjuster.

The white source control box is small and can be placed anywhere in your entertainment center. Just make sure it's in a location where your headphone wire can reach (the included 12-foot wire should be ample in length). On the front of the box are power and volume controls in addition to a channel selector and Dolby Digital mode button. The AX 900 can handle various Dolby modes, including Pro Logic II, Dolby Headphones mode, and Dolby Virtual Speaker mode (which the AX 720 does not feature). Finally, there's an extra headphone port on the white box that allows for an additional unit to be connected.

You'll need to run the optical audio cable from your source to the box, which may result in some headaches. For one, you'll need to access the rear of your devices, which isn't always easy to do. Also, you'll need to either be close enough to said devices or acquire a long enough optical cable to reach where you'll be playing or watching. The included 3-foot optical audio cable really won't help you out here, so you're probably going to want to go out and find a wire at least double that length, depending on your situation.


The source box can support any almost any audio device you throw at it.

In terms of sound quality, we were very impressed with the overall performance of the AX 900. We played various games on all consoles, including Gears of War 2 on Xbox 360, Resistance 2 on PlayStation 3, and Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 2, and the AX 900 was really sharp and precise. During the height of some gun-fighting sequences, you're really immersed in the experience, something even a great 5.1 home theater system isn't always able to do. The headphones' excellent noise canceling and sound isolation really allow for this type of intimate effect to shine. Our only letdown was bass presence, as we didn't really feel the oomph associated with some low-frequency effects.

The included boom microphone can be detached when not in use and will work with Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC gaming. When using it with PlayStation 3, you'll also need to attach an included USB cable from the white amp box to either device. You may need to invest in a longer cable, because the included 3-footer doesn't quite cut it. During our gaming sessions, we were heard clearly by our teammates. You can also adjust the microphone volume to your preference.

Overall, we really enjoyed the performance of the Tritton AX900 gaming headset. Setting up the device is mostly easy and the experience the headphones create is very unique. Priced around $180 online, the Tritton AX 900 should be the only headphones you need for a while, considering the vast amount of sources it can support. Future game consoles should be able to work with it in terms of audio, but there may be issues with getting the headset feature to perform correctly.

If you're not interested in analog audio support, we definitely recommend checking out the Tritton AX 720, as it only supports digital audio consoles. It can also be had for around $130 online.

OVR
7.6

Tritton AX900

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8