The Xbox One transmits wireless audio directly to the controller, but presently only supports stereo signals. While Microsoft says that virtual surround sound could be added in the future, the only way to get a simulated 5.1 or 7.1 experience now would be to use an external signal processor, like Astro's MixAmp. Given the emphasis on situational awareness for first-person shooters, the absence of surround sound support makes the EarForce Atlas a tough sell for competitive or enthusiast players. On the other hand, those who play more casually will benefit from the limited wire clutter and simplified setup.
The Xbox One's wireless stereo stream is impressive with no discernable compression, though audio can cut out momentarily from time to time. The EarForce Atlas itself, however, leaves some things to be desired — primarily low-end response. While it does a great job of delivering balanced high- and mid-range tones, bass is subdued, although not totally absent. It also struggles with audio clipping — a distortion that occurs at some points when set to high volume — although that's only at uncomfortably loud levels. Overall, I'm reluctant to call the audio quality bad, but it's certainly not great. Bass adds critical immersion to shooters — adding to the impact of gunfire, explosions, and other atmospheric action, but in spite of being branded by one of the most anticipated FPSs of the year, the EarForce Atlas is disappointingly lacking.
In terms of build, the EarForce Atlas shares the same components and chassis as Turtle Beach's other new Xbox One headset, the EarForce XO Four, but costs an additional $50. The uptick in pricing is due primarily to the inclusion of an inline controller, which makes the EarForce Atlas compatible with the Xbox 360 and PC — Titanfall's other supported platforms. Though reasonably well constructed, the materials look and feel cheap. The frame is also unusually rigid, which not only necessitates a bit of force to put them on, but also adds unpleasant pressure to your head. The effect is lessened by the mesh ear padding, which is soft and breathes exceptionally well during prolonged use.
The removable boom mic affords some versatility for multipurpose use — like hands-free calls with your phone — though it too is oddly stiff. It can be bent or curved to your preference, but takes a bit of finesse to mold into an ideal orientation. However, the microphone quality is great, especially when broadcast over the Xbox One's high-fidelity chat codec.
- +Cross-platform support
- +Simple setup
- –Uncomfortable build
- –Lacking Bass
- –No Surround Sound