Tritton AX Pro: Surround Sound Bliss

Tritton has created one of the best console headphones in terms of style, elegance, and moreover sound horsepower. We put these headphones to the true test, along with our friends from Integra, maker of the most famous audio video receiver lines currently out on the market. The Tritton AX Pro makes use of hardcore enthusiast and gaming markets to truly create a demand that they could deliver on with this line of product not just in dependability, but pure power in terms of sound, amperage, resistance of speakers, and sheer volume.

The Tritton AX Pro similar to the AX360 line which broke into console markets creates a wired system that makes use of a separate DC connector to control the power and moreover something never before seen in any headphone lines, including those wireless systems: a channel control module. The Tritton AX Pro’s utilize not just digital lines, but also provides that Dolby Pro Logic IIx technology to utilize upmixing for stereo sources aside from Dolby Digital certified product line. Turtle Beach, Astros, are all other brands of headphones that directly compete with Tritton in this market, which also provide stereo RCA Pro Logic support, but at the same time lack the sheer power of what Trittons have to offer. The Tritton AX Pro’s design is a sleek gun-metallic grey, and the Tritton “TT” logo adorns each speaker pad which can easily be replaced depending on game type pads, and allow great customization for personal choice. The head bumper can be replaced while the headphone is made out of a grade plastic. We would have loved for construction of the headphones to be much sturdier, but this hardly presents a problem but makes the balance of the speaker weights lighter. The Tritton AX Pro ultimately provide a level of design that is as sophisticated as the control modules. The separate receiver box is very light and packs outputs for analog active speakers (meaning they power themselves or are powered by your receiver), and has two outputs for the headphones for two Tritton AX Pro or lower-end lines to get down to surround sound gaming.

The main issue people always have with headphones is complexity. While the Tritton AX Pro comes with a nice installation card that may seem too detailed for most, it is just that considering setup on all formats is simple. For consoles, you plug in your microphone connector to the controller for the Xbox 360 or you connect your USB microphone for your PlayStation 3 into a USB slot to get a microphone working with the headset control, which has individual voice control and game noise control options on the sound module connector. PC users can use the raw analog streams, which is just another version of surround sound but literally using raw data instead of digitally encoded sinusoidal wave data (digital 0’s and 1’s).

Analog is essentially what this digital signal converts back into using either the Tritton AX Pro receiver box from consoles, or the PC systems which have digital out on their sound cards or analog out. Digital Outs are currently common in high end systems, but this prevents usage of surround sound, at least true surround sound using Tritton AX Pro. This is one negative we saw with the headphones. Windows 7 Ultimate drivers tend to assign the digital out of a soundcard 1 channel. This channel feeds into the receiver and the receiver feeds to the headphones. Unfortunately, utilizing this method just makes the box act as a pass-through once you connect the USB cable into the PC as “C-Media Audio.” What the box is essentially doing is acting as the headphones through the USB. It is not processing any Dolby Digital sounds or encoding them. This seems confusing and makes us wonder why it does not decode and send surround sound when using with a PC when with consoles it does the same thing but processes the sound.

The Tritton AX Pro speakers are certainly very hefty, and we do not mean heavy but more weighted than other speakers on the market. Currently, the premiere wireless Turtle Beach X41 headset offering has very light speakers, and while these headphones generally provide wireless function, they lack the power of true surround sound. It may sound similar, but there is a very subtle and tangible difference between the products, and anyone going from one to the other can hear it if they pay attention. Every single Xbox 360 game audio standard utilizes surround sound in Dolby Digital encoder format. These sounds are sent to each individual speaker in a setup of the headphone and represented as real-life speakers, if you imagine this concept. The Turtle Beach X41s utilize DSP to split the 5.1/7.1 audio channels of a Dolby track and then uses Dolby Headphone processing, a software emulation mode which can combine these sounds into a spatially separated stereo track. While you get the same sounds, some nuances are clearly missed. Dolby Labs tested out this technology, and while the differences are truly minimal, they do exist to the subtle ears. The center channel uses 2x23mm, front – 2x30mm, rear – 2x30mm and the sub – 2x40mm. Front, center and rear all have 120dB ratings while the subwoofer has 118dB.  The Tritton AX Pro uses 8 speakers, which is essentially a dedicated 8-set rack. The difference is night and day according to Integra and us as well.

We finally managed to hook up the Tritton AX Pro’s to the Integra DT9 receiver, the first receiver of its kind to support pass-through optical connections for headphones that are utilizing optical input boxes. We connected it seamlessly to the box using our channel switcher on the receiver between Bravo channel, a running Dolby Digital game on PC (optical input into the receiver), and finally a Blu-Ray player. Everything passed flawlessly, with the Tritton box picking up the signal of every single thing as we used a remote to switch it. While this can be said of any gaming module with a unit that utilizes optical input, the Tritton receiver box passed this splendidly well, whereas Astro headsets had trouble passing any sound using a dedicated optical line.

The Tritton AX Pro undoubtedly prevails on many fronts. While the Tritton AX Pro is indeed a wired system, and the true choices comes in preference between wired vs wireless, the real differences can be seen through bass management, sound of quality, and lastly speaker horsepower. These are headsets where compared to wireless systems, you can truly feel like you are in the game. We are not sure whether or not Tritton will release a wireless system with the same wattage on every speakerset, but we are sure this innovation is not too far off in this bright road of Tritton.

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