Review: Tritton 720+ 7.1 surround sound headset
I’ll make no excuses; I love the Tritton headsets I have owned. Having used Astro, SteelSeries and owning most of the Turtle Beach headsets I was first swayed to the Tritton brand by the lures of the Gears of War branded AX 180 headset. Ok so it may have only been a stereo headset but I liked the rich sound and the comfort that they provided. I then upgraded to the Detonator headset and although the squeak of the plastic was rather annoying, I found that the game audio and clarity of voice was exceptional, what’s more is I could use them with my iPhone to listen to music. The only thing that was lacking, and something that I had begun to miss, was the surround sound experience that my Turtle Beach X41′s provided. This was all about to change when a Tritton 720+ headset arrived at my door.
The 720+ are in Tritton’s pro range of headsets and therefore are of a slightly different design to that of the Trigger, Detonator, Primer and Warhead headsets. The 720+ is excellently packaged, it really does look like a special piece of kit and while it may not be an officially licensed headset for Xbox 360, it is also compatible with a PS3, PC or Mac, with all the wires needed to connect the headset included in the box, even for all of the various Xbox SKUs.
Still carrying the iconic double T of Tritton on each ear cup, the 720+ are finished in a white gloss, aesthetically making them look a lot lighter than the heavy black of the other headsets – which is essential as they are so much bigger. The actual design of the 720+ is quite different too, the ear cups are more squared and the headband a lot thicker making for a far sturdier build. The best thing though was that there was no squeaking from the plastic as the ear cups swiveled! Like my Detonator, the ear cups swiveled fully round so that you can rest the headset around your neck when you are taking a break from gaming or while chatting to the members of your household.
For those that prefer to be locked away for hours on end in their gaming caves the 720+ are extremely comfortable to wear – I thought my Detonators were comfy but Tritton have stepped up their game with the 720+. Not only did I find that my head and ears didn’t overheat but I also found the ear cup padding to be far more substantial and comfortable. The ear cups are also slightly larger and fully engulfed my ears, capturing all that glorious sound.
Boasting 7.1 surround sound the 720+ features 50mm speakers with Neodymium drivers, which Tritton will tell you are the “highest quality available for use in commercial headsets”, I would have to agree based on what I’ve experienced with them! You only have to flip between the EQ modes to hear the difference in-game sound, it’s quite amazing, all of a sudden the game audio has spatial depth – and wow does it sound crisp and clear with just the right amount of bass. You may not be able to manually adjust the EQ levels but the decoder does such a great job at automatically setting the correct levels, why would you want to tinker around and mess things up! I was always impressed with the clarity of Tritton headsets, they brought the games I was playing to life allowing me to hear things that may have previously been drowned out. I was surprised that the 720+ managed to go that one step further. Sure the spatial ability of the headset makes a big difference to the games I was playing but the headset also picked out sounds I’d never heard before. I’ve played Borderlands 2 now for over 80 hours and only after a few minutes using the 720+ the audio was so much more clear and I picked out several ambient sounds that I had previously not noticed.
Needless to say, the 720+ are a perfect companion to online competitive gaming giving an upper hand in games like MW3 and Battlefield. Not only were the games a very different experience in terms of what I was hearing, but I could pinpoint the direction of gun battles far more precisely and don’t even try sneaking up on me while I’m rocking these bad boys, as numerous hapless victims discovered, it’s hard to sneak up on someone wearing a 720+ headset!
Watching movies through the Sky app sounded just as you’d expect – the same quality 7.1 surround sound fills your ears, it’s like you’re in your own personal cinema. Listening to the Rabbit, Frank, in Donnie Darko was particularly freaky! Music sounded good although when it comes to music most people like to have full control over the EQ levels to tweak their musical experience to a more personal level. Using the music EQ setting, the 720+ sounds pretty good when enjoying the latest musical offerings but it’s not something I will find myself doing often – sitting in front of the TV listening to Last fm. Had the headset come with a 3.5mm jack I would have used them for music far more, instead my Detonators will now refine themselves to that role.
Powered via a USB cable the 720+’s heart is a small white decoder that the headset plugs directly into. While you may not be able to directly tweak the individual EQ levels, the decoder does come with three preset programs: gaming, music and film. The master volume can be increased by turning a dial on the decoder, which allows the game sound to be increased beyond the maximum that is achievable by only using the in-line audio controller, which is on the headset wire. You can turn the decoder box off with a power button that is placed in such a way that the box looks a bit like the head of a Star Wars Pit Droid! While there are no instructions detailing what the lights on the decoder mean, it’s pretty easy to work out how to change the EQ modes and what affects each setting has on your choice of entertainment. While I preferred to sit the decoder horizontal, I’m sure there will be some gamers who would prefer to stand it vertically, however the feet which served as a stand in the previous model, have been omitted in the + model.
When it comes to game and voice volume control the 720+ is similar to that of the Tritton AX 180. It was a shame that the headset didn’t favour the controls of the Detonator as I found its lights and easy to find dials far more accessible. The 720+ opted for springy dial controls, push them up or down and they spring back into the middle when you release them while depressing them mutes the sound. The use of the dial control in the Detonator headset was far easier to gauge where in the volume spectrum you were.
The headset now utilises Tritton’s excellent SVM voice system, which previously wasn’t available in the model range. SVM allows you to hear your own voice in the headset, but what about what others hear? Well, the clarity of my voice came across clearer and louder with far more audio spectrum across the tone of my voice; the 720+ doesn’t skimp on compressing my voice down. With a slight twist the mic is easily detachable and the mic boom is far more flexible than the Detonator.
The only downside to the audio and something that has plagued most of my headsets is a slight static that can be heard at low volume levels, this seems to be linked with the SVM and voice chat cable. When the SVM has been muted a low hum can be heard which is only audible when you are on the dashboard, loading screen or within a menu in an app, as soon as there is game or video sound the hum isn’t as audible. I did discover that the hum seems to be directly linked to the Dolby digital, during game sound it is merely masked, while watching a film on Sky player the hum cuts out as Dolby digital gets bypassed. This is a real shame; at times the hum can be rather irritating.
Retailing at £129.99 the 720+ Tritton headset is extremely well priced, especially with the amount of cables that come in the package. Like all the Tritton headsets, the 720+ is easy to set up and as a gaming headset the sound is exquisite and the most comfortable headset that has adorned my noggin – this all adds up to my conclusion that the 720+ really is the perfect headset for me, minus that dam hum!
Review: Tritton 720+ 7.1 surround sound headset Results
What we liked:
Superb 7.1 sound
No more squeaky plastic and extremely comfortable to wear
Excellently priced and provides all the cables you could need
What we disliked:
Static/hum can be heard at low levels
Can't connect the 720+ to any portable MP3 devices