Manufacturer: Turtle Beach
Sound Produced: Stereo
Primary System: PlayStation 3
Also Compatible With: PC
Connection Method: USB, 3.5mm
The Turtle Beach P11 is a no-frills, wired, stereo headset designed with the PlayStation 3 in mind. This is the entry level model in Turtle Beach’s console lineup and, for those on a budget, it’s a great first step for audiophiles.
For the price of a retail console game, PlayStation 3 gamers can bring home a headset that is far better than what most TVs output. This headset is ideal for gamers without a home theatre system, looking to combine game audio and chat into a compact and lightweight headset.
What’s in the box?
Headset, 3.5mm to Stereo RCA adapter
Aesthetics and Durability
The aesthetics of the Turtle Beach P11 match its feature set. The gear is a simple, matte black with red glossy highlight rings on the earcups. The Turtle Beach name is embossed into the plastic of the headband. Additionally, the logo, brand name and model name are featured on both sides of the lower band.
The cups are made of a meshed foam and the cushioning on the headband is made of simple foam covered with a plasticky, vinyl-feeling material. The plastic construction of the set feels much less substantial than the other products included in the buyer’s guide. However, Turtle Beach has managed to strike a good balance between price and construction.
The P11 does not feel cheap. Rather, it’s a good investment for those on a budget.
Ease of Setup and Use
Setup of the Turtle Beach P11 is simple. For the PlayStation 3, simply plug the USB connector into the front of the PS3 for outgoing chat. The game audio is handled by plugging the 3.5mm plug on the headset into the RCA splitter. The P11 acts as a passthrough should you require it. If you typically use HDMI audio, though, you’ll need to also plug in an analog Sony proprietary A/V cable.
Once you have everything connected, configuring your PS3 for chat is equally easy. Simply go into the setup section of the XMB and you’ll find the P11 in the Audio Device Settings screen under “Input Device.”
The cable is 12 ft. long, which also implies that the P11 is designed for use with small to medium sized television sets. Optimum viewing distance is calculated at 1.5-2.5 times the diagonal measurement of the television. You could use the headset with as large as a 55 inch monitor, but the cable would likely be taut. We wouldn’t recommend using it with anything larger than a 46 inch set.
The dual game audio and chat volume controls are in-line, but not terribly close to the headset. I found myself setting them at the ideal levels and tucking the controls in between the couch cushions. This prevented them from hanging and putting additional weight on the headset. The mute button is, unfortunately, located in the same place, making it a little bit more of a reach to toggle.
Connecting the P11 to a PC is absolutely simple. Plug the USB in for chat and connect the 3.5mm jack to your sound card’s headphone port.
Sound Quality and Performance Notes
The P11 is a surprising unit. After coming off of more expensive models, I was surprised how well the stereo sound was produced. It certainly won’t stack up against a surround sound headset, but it’s certainly one of the best amplified stereo units out there.
Given the budget-friendly price point, you are giving up some of the heavier basses found in other models, but the sound never felt empty. The 50mm drivers do a good job of filling the soundscape. Everything is certainly more clear and crisp than you are getting out of stock television speakers.
The microphone is also scaled back from what you find on the pricier models, but it’s certainly better than a cheap bluetooth headset for the PS3 or a chintzy video chat headset on the PC. The thin, flexible microphone is serviceable for podcasting and delivers value at the price point. Unfortunately, the active voice monitoring pumps just a little bit too much from the microphone into the mix. Moving the headset away from my mouth left my friends telling me I sounded distant. Too close and I was too loud in my own ear. Finding the “goldilocks zone” took a bit of adjusting the first time, but once I knew where it was, it got easier moving forward.
You’ll definitely hear a difference from our other samples, but on a budget, the P11 will do quite nicely. Additionally, the headset does offer active voice monitoring, thought it’s not terribly subtle. You can easily tell that you own voice is pumped back into the mix.
Put simply, the P11 isn’t the most comfortable headset for extended gaming. The mesh-covered foam on the earcups tended to chafe me after a while, and the foam on the headband isn’t firm enough to withstand compression. Additionally, the webbing over the foam left my ears a little sweatier than I would like, even after a few minutes.
I had a hard time finding an adjustment point that offered the right snugness. I never managed to find a point that wasn’t just a little too loose or pinched a bit more than I wanted.
I recommend adjusting the microphone before you put the headset on. While this isn’t strictly a comfort issue, the loud clicking the microphone makes is a little too loud in the left ear.
The P11’s main differentiating feature is its price point. For the $59.99 MSRP, it serves a solid entry point for those looking for something to use with a PlayStation 3 and a PC.
The P11 is perfect for PlayStation 3 owners looking for an entry point into the world of gaming headsets. While you won’t be blown away if you’ve used more fully featured models, the transition from television speakers to an amplified stereo headset is remarkable. If you don’t need something for a PlayStation 3 and are merely looking for a starter model for use with a PC, you should take a look at the Turtle Beach Z11.
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