Recon 500June 18th, 2021
The Recon 500 is one of the latest headsets from the legendary brand Turtle Beach. This mid-range model offers comfortable wear, beautiful sound, and a powerful microphone to improve your gameplay experience alone and with friends (or strangers online if you want to talk to them for some reason).
The first thing worth noting about the Recon 500 is the audio jack. While a lot of PC gamers have transitioned over to the USB headsets, this one will be going back in the dedicated audio jack port. And if you don’t have an audio input/output port, you’ll need to find a splitter to simultaneously use the microphone and headphones. It can be a bit of an issue for PC players, though it simplifies everything for console players. The Recon 500 is adaptable to the PS5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Simply plug them in and throw them on, and you’re good to go.
Using the headset is incredibly easy. The hard bracket is flexible so that once you’ve got it on your head, you’ll feel it gently pressing on your ears. Thankfully the cushions are comfortable and sturdy, making for a perfect combination. You’ll not feel the Recon’s straining to crush your skull, but you will feel the cushions on your ears just tight enough to push out a lot of the background noise in the area around you. This also keeps the headphones in place on your head and in the position you set them to, even if you’re a fidgety gamer.
Although the actual headphones are perhaps an inch or two smaller than most people's ears, leaving your lobes pressed against the cushion or protruding underneath, this is about the standard design for headsets at the minute. What’s more, the padded cushions are really comfortable and you can easily wear the Recons for extended periods of time without discomfort or irritation. Obviously, if you run hot, you’ll find your ears getting a bit warm under the cushions, but the actual design of the Recon’s has clearly revolved around comfort and long-term wear.
That’s not to say the headphones aren't impressive for their sound quality too. The earcups that so tenderly cup your ears are injected with wood composite for a start. I don’t know if it adds to the comfort, but it does help deliver high sound quality are every frequency. And you can hear a rich deepness to the sound, whether it's music or gunfire, which reduces squeaky and short noises. And the sounds all layer together beautifully thanks to the first-of-its-kind 60mm Eclipse Dual Drivers. These create a really impressive soundscape, with really detailed sounds able to compete for your attention from the loudest, most attention-grabbing noises. Having tried the headphones on the new Ratchet and Clank for PlayStation 5, I could hear all the finest details of ambient noise as well as all the explosions and drama.
Think of a time you set in the park on a sunny day. Somewhere nearby, there were children screaming in excitement or perhaps because of mild sunstroke. But despite that wall of noise, you can still make out the breeze hushing through the trees, the squeak of a swing set off in the distance, and some drifting words from a nearby conversation. That is what it is like wearing the Recon 500. Each sound is layered, detailed and distinct, so much so you can isolate them in your mind. For this price point, the audio fidelity and structure are simply unparalleled.
And this richness of sound never feels overwhelming either. You’ve got a dedicated volume controller on the side, but even at top volume or not at any risk of doing damage to yourself, even though you’ll get to experience the wealth of sound quality they provide.
The microphone, on the other hand, is fine. This clearly wasn’t the focus when designing the Recon 500, but it isn’t in any way terrible. Instead, it is a perfectly functioning microphone. It doesn’t pick up any small noise around you, so you don’t have to worry about annoying your friends with the sound of your washing machine or anything. Obviously, if you’re blasting music in the room with you, there’s a good chance that will leak through, so if that’s your style you’ll have to find some friends that enjoy the same taste in music as you.
You will come through clearly when you speak, though, with no painful distortion or crackle. There is a slight compression, so these probably aren’t the headphones you want if you’re doing a podcast or stream through the mic, but otherwise, it is perfectly capable of handling conversations and game chat.
The microphone is in a bit of a weird position, however. There is no way to raise it if not in use, so it will also be at the edge of your vision even though it sits quite low compared to other options. You can unplug it, but obviously, you’ll have to find someone safe to store this unassuming piece of plastic. It also means that other than the bend, you don’t have many options for where to position it.
But the microphone is the weakest link in an otherwise very strong chain. The Recon 500 is incredibly powerful for the price and really highlights the audio of the games you’ll be playing with them. In fact, there’s a chance the Recons will be the first time for a lot of players to explore the audio design of games they love.
Review unit provided by the manufacturer.
The Recon 500 is a surprisingly powerful, comfortable, and affordable headset, offering unparalleled quality of sound for the price. It does a fantastic job elevating the audio quality of the game you're playing. Although the microphone isn't as interesting as the rest, it works decently and helps cement the Recon 500 as a fantastic gaming headset.
- Really comfortable
- Fantastic sound quality for game audio and music
- Great volume control without risking your eardrums
- The microphone isn't as great as the rest of the package
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