Another week, another Tritton headset from Mad Catz for us to check out - the team at TDF have been quite spoilt of late with various peripherals and now we have a lovely new set of Tritton Primer wireless headphones to take for a spin. The Tritton Primer boasts high end components, crisp stereo sound, utilisation of a much wider wireless frequency range to avoid any interference with other wireless kit and best of all “extreme comfort”. Do they live up to the hype...?
Having used a set of Turtle Beach X31s for the best part of two years, test driving the Tritton Primer seems completely logical, considering the similar specification and more importantly similar price point. Whilst the difference between the new Primer and the X31’s will be referenced throughout it’s probably worth noting that the X31 has been superseded by the new X32 (lot of thought went into that new model number) so it’s not completely fair to say the comparison is a direct one. That said if you are an X31 owner who is toying with the idea of moving up to the new X32 then read on as you may want to consider the slightly cheaper Tritton Primer as an alternative.
First impressions when unboxing the Primer headset are fairly mixed, as ‘unboxings’ go anyway. The packaging is lovely and the myriad of wires appears to tick an awful lot of boxes but the headset itself appear a tad too plastic fantastic, it’s not all about looks though as the specifications are very good indeed. As a fabulous added bonus the raft of wires contained within includes a ready made component cable capable of fitting straight into the 360, this is particularly nifty for all those out there who use HDMI as their main output. Basically in the good old days (last few years) you had to put a knife to the official cable to enable it all to fit snugly at the back of the 360, meaning not only some DIY but being forced to sit through a youtube video of some annoying kid showing you what needs to be done. No such pain here though, put the knife away as the good people at Mad Catz have custom made the cable for you - a very nice touch indeed.
The headset is Xbox 360 only, not compatible with any other console or PC and contains every cable you will need to get the Primer up and running in no time at all. As the headset is officially endorsed by Microsoft you can sit comfortably in the knowledge that no matter what model of 360 you have there are cables in the box to fit and to be fair they cater for most home theatre setups also - the package is comprehensive indeed.
So what does the Tritton Primer bring to the party...
- 5.8 GHz Wireless Technology which far exceeds the industry standard 2.4 GHZ with less interference from a further distance
- Wireless Range: 33ft / 10m
- 40mm Neodymium Drivers (Speakers)
- Ear Coupling: Supra-Aural
- Separate Game and Voice Volume Controls
- Deep Bass and Crisp Highs
- Ergonomically Designed for Extreme Comfort
The key item to note there is the wireless technology utilised; a whopping 5.8GHz range is a vast improvement over the existing X31s that snap crackle and pop as soon as you dare turn on something that emits a wireless signal, or simply go a for a wee in the downstairs toilet. I know what you are thinking there, he’s welsh so his toilet is probably down the bottom of the garden, of course the existing headset will distort as he pees into a bucket fifty yards away. That is in fact not the case and simply venturing into the next room causes the x31s to sound off like a Rice Krispies advert. So does the new wider bandwidth used for the wireless technology help with this in the new Primer headset? The answer is a resounding yes; clear, crisp with absolutely no snap, crackle or pop. To push this test to the maximum the headset was situated next to a wireless router, two wireless receivers (iphone and laptop),with the headset two rooms away from the wireless transmitter...nothing, absolutely perfect crisp audio.
Testing the headset out with the latest games will inevitably prove if the removal of any crackling distraction is worth it and on this front the Primer really doesn’t disappoint, more on that later.
The headset itself requires two AA batteries to operate (rechargeables are a must) and during endurance runs appears to function perfectly for six to seven hours without requiring a battery change. The headset itself whilst initially giving off a cheap plastic impression is actually far from it. The construction is tight giving the whole package a rigidity which inspires confidence - the headset feels well made, solid and has everything you could want for some gaming. Separate volume controls for voice and game allowing you to turn down those annoying American kids on Xbox Live while you listen attentively for their movements in an attempt to intercept them, ultimately resulting in you shooting them in the face on say Call of Duty.
The only criticism that could be levelled here is the lack of feedback when speaking, there is really no way of knowing if you were heard and this can prove very tricky when not playing with friends - you quickly find yourself repeating “hello, hello” like a gibbering idiot while you wait for a random to reply, usually with “yes, we are here please stop”.
Whether you wish to use the headset for single player adventures or online in team play, the quality of the sound doesn’t disappoint. The marketing isn’t lying to us when it states deep bass and crisp highs, they really are, the audio quality when playing a wide variety of games is fantastic for a stereo headset. You would really have to look at spending an awful lot more money to get sound better than this out of a 360 compatible headset. Whether storming into a group of enemies utilising a spray and pray tactic in say Modern Warfare 3 or calmly working your way through some key dialogue choices in The Walking Dead, the headset handles either scenario really well. Infinitely better than simply using your TV’s stereo speakers and generally adding a new dimension to general gaming and slightly better quality than the older X31 headset.
Extreme comfort is arguably stretching things a little as the earpieces themselves aren’t the biggest, that said I own a pair of big ears so it may simply be down to the individual. Don’t be mistaken though they are comfortable, if not extremely so, and the leather interior keeps your ears (and head) remarkably cool during long sessions - the old X31s in comparison would draw sweat after extended periods of use.
Whilst the Primer headset isn’t the most amazing headset ever made, it is a very solid entry to the marketplace, providing interference free high quality stereo sound at a fantastic price point. If like me you are still rocking something akin to the X31s then the Primer deserves your consideration when the time comes to upgrade. As an entry to the wonderful world of wireless gaming headsets (which it should be noted is really a must for any gamer) the Tritton Primer set is great value for money - providing not only boombastic audio when called upon but also sharp crisp audio for those quieter moments. At the price point the Primer headset deserves consideration against some of its perhaps more well known competitors.
(Note the new X32s use a higher wireless frequency and we are keen to compare those to the Primer for a more robust ‘like for like’ examination - hint hint Turtle Beach PR peeps)