Finally wireless: Testing the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero
Some time ago, I tested the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas gaming headset. It provided some solid game sound and impressed further with its musical and useful ergonomic features (article in German).
In the intervening years, the headset's been further improved. It has a slightly modified design and can now be operated wirelessly. At least on Windows PC and Mac. A 3.5 mm cable with remote control and an additional inline microphone is included for PS4 or other uses. I'm curious to see if wireless use has an influence on the sound and how the Aero performs during testing.
The ultimate wireless gaming headset for PC gamers and streamers
Here are some stats for the Atlas Aero:
- Wireless use on PC and Mac (2.4 GHz USB transmitter).
- Wired operation via included 3.5 mm cable (145 cm, with inline microphone and remote control).
- Frequency range from 12 Hz to 20 KHz.
- 50 mm speakers.
- Exchangeable over-ear leather and memory foam ear pads.
- Directional gaming microphone with noise cancelling (removable).
- 30-hour battery life.
Design, ergonomics and use
Turtle Beach scrapped its original piano lacquer look for the shell covers. The replaceable covers themselves have also disappeared. Hard plastic and small metal grids have taken their place. The discreet gaming headset feels well manufactured.
Only the aluminium boom and the microphone are identical to its wired predecessor.
But this new look doesn't detract from the functionality of the 395-gram headset. The ear pads are no longer magnetic, but can still be removed or replaced. Anyone wearing glasses should remove them before first use. Each ear pad contains a small rubber band.
By tightening or loosening the strap, a recess in the padding is adjusted, into which you can easily fit the frame of your glasses. No matter how long I'm gaming, my glasses can stay on. The 2.5 cm thick ear pads are pleasantly soft. In addition, the headset stays firmly attached without any unpleasant pressure.
The bracket can be adjusted on both sides in four steps. Furthermore, two swivel joints ensure optimal adaptation to your head shape. If you want to store the headset as compactly as possible, the shells can also be folded inwards. This mechanism is integrated in the swivel joint.
The microphone is removable. In addition to the microphone port, the left-hand shell features a 3.5mm jack, a micro-USB charging port, status LEDs, a power button, a programmable knob, volume control and a programmable wheel. When used on a PC with Turtle Beach Control Studio installed, the latter is equipped with the mic monitoring function by default. This allows you to determine if and how loud you can hear yourself over the microphone. The programmable button is assigned a function described by the manufacturer as Superhuman Hearing. This amplifies noises such as footsteps or the reloading of weapons.
On the left-hand shell, separate from the other controls, there is also a button for muting the microphone. The right shell is free of buttons and other things, but there is a compartment under the padding where the USB transmitter can be stored.
How the Atlas Aero sounds
This thing has some solid sound isolation. Due to the large cushions, only little sound can get in from outside. I can hardly hear my work colleagues in our open-plan office. Especially when I listen to music at a normal volume. I like the passive noise cancelling. It's a pity that when listening to loud music, some tunes escape into your surroundings. This is probably due to the half-open design. Make sure to remember this when commuting.
The human ear can detect frequency ranges between 20 Hz and 20 KHz depending on age. Out of all the headphones I've tested, this surround sound model by Sony has shown me the best frequency response yet (article in German). I detected frequencies between 20 and 17,500 Hz.
Time to see how this headset performs. Both wired and via the USB transmitter, I listen to the frequency response. Turtle Beach promises frequencies from 12 Hz to 20 KHz with its 50 mm drivers installed. When listening with a 3.5 mm jack cable, I perceive the same frequency range as with the previous model: 27 to 16,800 Hz. In wireless mode, I perceive a spectrum that is only minimally smaller: 33 to 16,400 Hz.
|Deepest audible frequency||Highest audible frequency||Listed frequency range|
|Sony MDR-HW700DS||20 Hz||17 500 Hz||5 to 25 000 Hz|
|HyperX Cloud MIX||25 Hz||17 100 Hz||10 to 40 000 Hz|
|Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero (cable connection)||27 Hz||16 800 Hz||12 to 20 000 Hz|
|Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Aero (wireless)||33 Hz||16 400 Hz||12 to 20 000 Hz|
|Turtle Beach Elite Atlas||27 Hz||16 800 Hz||12 to 20 000 Hz|
|Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless||34 Hz||16 200 Hz||20 to 20 000 Hz|
|Huawei In-Ear Headphones (included with the Nova 2)||43 Hz||16 000 Hz||unknown|
These are good values, which – as can be seen in the table – are slightly better than Corsair's Void Pro RGB Wireless. But a little worse than the Cloud MIX by HyperX (article in German). By the way, I can't make out an audible difference between wired and wireless apart from this frequency test.
Time for some music
If music is important to you, this headset won't disappoint you. The 50 mm drivers provide surprisingly good sound for a headset. Whether in wireless or wired mode – I like the highs, mids and lows, and the sound is well-balanced. Only very bass-heavy sounds might need a little more drive.
Depending on the music genre, I find the sound to be outstanding, good or better than just fine. My favourite thing to listen to is Electro Sound. Strobe by Deadmau5, for example, sounds great.
Genres such hip-hop, metal or pop sound good. Classical music gets the least shining result. Still ok though.
I enjoy the sound while gaming on both PS4 and PC. Whereby I clearly prefer PC because of the surround sound. Nevertheless, even on a console, I'm able to easily tell from which direction an opponent is approaching me.
If you're playing on a PC, Turtle Beach Control Studio not only lets you adjust speaker and microphone EQ, but also lets you create macros to trigger a desired effect at the right moment with a shortcut. If you want to hear sounds amplified, activate Superhuman Hearing. Not enough bass? Then switch on bass boost. You can find more information about the software here.
Even without Superhuman Hearing, I can still vital important sounds while playing. If an enemy runs past me, the direction of the sound changes precisely, akin to other headsets with activated virtual surround sound. The Elite Atlas Aero is especially good at simulating weather sounds such as lightning, thunder and rain. It's also great at generating background music.
However, when I compare it to the Corsair Void Pro RGB Wireless, I notice that its rival makes combat sounds appear a bit more powerful. Especially explosions. Furthermore, dialogue occasionally sounds a little bit metallic with Turtle Beach. All in all, I clearly prefer the sound of the Elite Atlas Aero.
There's nothing wrong with the detachable microphone. The voice quality is convincing when testing with an audio recorder, Skype, Teams and Teamspeak. The listener hears me clearly – the frequency range of my voice isn't cut down. Most background noise is filtered out.
My verdict: Thumbs up
With the Elite Atlas Aero, Turtle Beach has created an ergonomically well thought-out headset with good sound in its range. The fat ear cushions with adjustable temple cut-outs nestle perfectly against the head thanks to swivel joints and sit tight once they're on. I can game for hours with this headset without unpleasant pressure points.
As a hybrid, the Turtle Beach can be operated not only wirelessly but also with a 3.5 mm jack. The battery life of around 30 hours is easily enough for long gaming sessions. Like its predecessor, the Aero has a detachable microphone. If you want to stow it away, it folds up compactly.
The sound quality is convincing both connected and with the USB transmitter. It can really come into its own with background music and weather noises. You can hear footsteps, the reloading of weapons or even an opponent rushing towards you precisely. Only explosions in combat should have a little more bang for my taste.
Since the headset also provides crystal-clear voice quality, I can recommend it with a clear conscience.