There are three things any good headset should have: excellent sound, supreme comfort, and a clear microphone. With the release of the premium Y-350P headset, Thrustmaster are bringing their powered Y Sound Commander adapter to the PS4 for the first time, and looking to nail all three.
Following on from the Y-300P release which provided decent audio but lacklustre bass, they are hoping that this latest release will address these concerns and provide a serious alternative in a market which Turtle Beach appear to all but dominate.
Out of the box, there are three components: the headset, a detachable microphone, and the powered adapter. The mic attaches to the left ear, and is flexible enough to be moved around with a good deal of range. The Y Sound Commander adapter is a separately charged component with a micro-USB socket which plugs neatly into the PS4 controller, and the headset cable slots into the adapter.
Strangely, there’s no USB to micro-USB charging cable included, and the quick-start guide is barebones to say the least. Even the official manual doesn’t provide a huge amount of information. Plug-and-play means that the console recognises the setup immediately, though like any device you’ll need to go into your Devices settings and change the output for the headset to “All Audio”.
What is immediately apparent is the build quality. The Y-350P boasts memory foam cushioning on both the ears and the headband, while the adjustable double headband clicks reassuringly into whichever position you require, with no movement. The cups, emblazoned with the Ghost Recon: Wildlands skull logo on the inside, swivel back and forth, and the leatheresque covering of the memory foam feels cool and smooth to the touch. The brown and red colouring of the Doom edition has been replaced by military-style black and yellow accents, and the entire set looks and feels like a premium purchase - which may explain the £119.99 price tag.
The Y Sound Commander packs a lot of functionality into its small real estate. Adjustable master volume and bass levels have their own buttons, each linked to nine LEDs over fifty separate steps. A tone sounds when you reach the limit of each. Furthermore, a 7.1 button enables the headset’s 7.1 surround mode, while the Mic button allows you to mute your microphone as required. If you’re getting too much feedback, you can also hit the Feedback button to reduce this. These buttons all feel reassuringly rigid under the Ghost Recon branding, and light up appropriately when activated.
Of course, a good build doesn’t necessarily equate to great sound. In this case though, the headset shines in almost every area. The powerful 60mm drivers offer immediate sensory immersion, and the bass is deep and far better than we were expecting. We experienced the occasional audio drop-out during gaming, but only for around a second each time. It wasn’t enough to cause a lack of immersion, and occurred only around four or five times over a twenty hour period.
Some bass-junkies may still find it a little on the light side, but the precision of the audio is such that voice clarity comes through regardless of the explosions and other noise in-game. Not having speech drowned out by overwhelming bass is more important than deep booming - and the Y-350P headset achieves this remarkably.
Furthermore, the cups fit tightly and provide superb noise suppression, blocking out a good 90% of background noise and muffling your own speech, which can take some getting used to. But it’s an indication of how well the suppression works.
The battery life of the powered adapter is superb. After the initial charge (which can take anything up to three hours), we racked up a good twenty hours of solid gaming without seeing the red “low battery” light. Not having a headset drain your controller is an excellent move, and we expect that more companies are likely to follow suit at some point. The charging light is blue, and turns off completely when the adapter is fully charged. There is also a separate on/off switch on the adapter itself, should you wish to turn off the headset while the controller is on.
The detachable microphone has a flexible rubber segment towards the back, near the attachment. It looks similar to a flexible drinking straw, and at first we were a little concerned that this might make it too flimsy. However, the movement allows you to push it away from your face and out of your line of sight with no issues.
In terms of the actual sound, the voice quality is excellent and there was no feedback to speak of. Unlike the previous (unpowered) headsets from Thrustmaster which almost had you eating the mic in order to make yourself heard, the Y-350P does a sterling job of transmitting audio.
For those unused to gaming headphones, the Y-350P will take a little getting used to. The headset isn’t particularly lightweight, and even with the memory foam covering you’ll not want to play for more than two to three hours. The minor discomfort from prolonged sessions is fairly minimal and localised to the ears rather than the top of the head, and removing the headset for five minutes gave plenty of time for the body to adapt and recover.
This is unfortunately a side effect of having noise isolation, and is something that many gaming headset manufacturers have yet to fully eliminate. However, subsequent sessions lessened the issue as our ears adapted, and as such we feel that this is one of the more comfortable headsets currently on the market.
With the Y-350P, Thrustmaster have designed a high-end gaming headset which offers excellent audio, clear voice transmission, and a comfortable wear for short to medium-length sessions. The powered adapter is the highlight here and its excellent battery life, coupled with a button design which doesn’t get in the way of your gameplay, means that it’s an ergonomically sound addition. The price point may put the headset beyond the reach of many, but for those interested in a limited edition pair of premium cans, they could do far worse than these.