Hardware Review – Sharkoon X-Tatic SP
Looking for a pair of gaming headphones? The headphone market has been saturated heavily the past few years with tons of gaming headsets trying to find their way into consumer homes. Sharkoon, a German company that has been quietly delivering quality products over the past couple years, has added the Sharkoon X-Tatic SP headset to its repertoire. Does this new gaming headset stand out from the pack, or should it be left in the dust?
The Sharkoon X-Tatic SP is a headset made for gamers that works for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. One of the first noticeable qualities about the headset is how fancy they look. The headset sports a sleek design with solid black plastic, a foam headband with the X-Tatic SP logo on top, and a generously long cable to feed to your gaming center. Some noteworthy design features include headphone swivel to ensure that the headset fits snug on your ears, a master volume control with mute switch, as well as a flexible and detachable microphone.
The detachable microphone is arguably one of the most outstanding features of the headset, and removing it is as simple as turning the microphone counter-clockwise to pull it out, and the opposite to put it back in. In several tests I found that the microphone quality performed well beyond expectations, and so well in-fact that some people that have heard me speak over Skype and Ventrilo have said that it sounds like I’m in a sound studio. In addition to the flexible design of the microphone, this is easily one of the best microphones I have ever seen on a headset.
Setting up the headphones on your PS3 is as easy as plugging them into the L/R audio ports on your TV, and the USB cable into an available USB port on your PS3. From there, once your options on the PS3 are configured to allow for audio port output, you’re ready for the world of German-engineered Sharkoon. These headphones also work extremely well in any PC setup, and you’ll only need to plug them into the audio out and USB ports to experience them in that environment. I found setup to be painless, and the cord length ensures that you’ll be able to play in your living room no matter how far away you sit.
As the $69.99 price would suggest, the audio output here is solid. The bass is a bit soft but very clean, and with a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz, both the highs and lows can be heard cleanly. The audio quality is so good in-fact, that you’ll likely want to use these for music and video applications in addition to gaming. However, these are open headphones so some sound does leak which means a loss of quality. The good side of this is that you’ll still be able to hear outside of your headphones, so you won’t feel like you’re forced into an alternate dimension every time you throw them on your head.
The Sharkoon X-Tatic SP headphones are incredibly comfortable with the shape and headband foam fitting soft and snug around the head. While I would have preferred softer material around the cups of the headphones themselves, the material included is fine, and unlike many other headphones with leather-like materials, these won’t make you sweat around the ears. Since the microphone is both removable and adjustable, you won’t have trouble with it getting in your way.
The only gripe I have with the audio experience provided by the Sharkoon X-Tatic SP is the neverending background noise. Whether plugged into my PlayStation 3 or PC, there is a soft, ocean-like tone that never seems to stop. While the noise is overridden the second you start hearing music or game noises, it’s annoying to wear the headphones between experiences because of this.
The Sharkoon X-Tatic SP headset is one of the best gaming headsets under $100 on the market. With phenomenal audio and microphone quality, you’ll likely be drawn to use these over your current routine speaker and mic setup. Setup is simple and the overall design is both comfortable and stylish. Although the background noise and hard foam are detracting factors, the overall product is far too satisfying to do anything other than recommend these. If you’re looking for a gaming headset for either your PlayStation 3 or PC, the Sharkoon X-Tatic SP is well worth your hard earned money.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Outstanding adjustable microphone and superb audio experience.
– Dead air background noise is annoying.