Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 Review: A Pros Take

Turtle Beach is all about bringing an intense audio experience to gamers, allowing for a true immersion into whatever fantasy world they prefer.

A gaming headset brings a different feel to PC and console games of all types and is essentially mandatory for MMOs or multiplayer genres.

Speakers simply don’t deliver the quality of sound gamers crave and relying on cheap headphones or earbuds designed for music limits the experience. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are still dedicated gaming headphones such as the Ear Force X12.

As far as Turtle Beach’s introductory headsets go you really can beat the X12. Sure, it may be an older model now but the quality is still there. In fact, with its lower price due to older age, it’s arguably an even better deal than it was before.

While the Ear Force X12 headphones originally sold for $59.95, you can now get them for $39.95 directly from Turtle Beach. You may also be able to find them for even less from certain retailers like Amazon.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: If you enjoy gaming on a PC or console, do yourself a favor and get your feet wet with the X12.

Specs and Features of the Ear Force X12

As far as gaming headsets go, the Ear Force X12 is quite basic. Here is a rundown of the details:

  • Weighs 6.4oz
  • Impressive 16′ long cable
  • Standard USB amplified power (not wireless)
  • Stereo audio input/output via 2.5mm jack
  • 20Hz to 20kHz speaker frequency
  • Mutable button for group chat
  • Built-in microphone monitor

Essentially this model has all the basics of getting clear sound without an added features that new gamers don’t need.

Advantages of the Ear Force X12

There are a lot of reasons why customers enjoy the X12 model so much, but they can be summed up into these two major advantages:

  • Provides Great Sound with Bass Boost

One of the first things customers find with the X12 headset is how incredibly clear the audio is. Not only is it easy to hear others during the live chat but the sounds it picks up in games are extremely impressive.

Quite a few fans are delighted to find they were able to hear sounds so delicate that they never noticed them before with speakers or other headsets. FPS game lovers will really like how these headphones can pick up the slightest sound of footsteps to alert you to other players.

Those that enjoy RPG, open world and very atmospheric games will be amazed at the almost surround sound mimic effect these headphones deliver.

Audio out sound quality is quite good, with the microphone being very sensitive. If you’re used to having to shout or speak very slowly for your friends to understand you, you’ll be happy with how clearly the X12 picks up on your voice. You’ll easily be able to talk at a normal pitch. In fact, some find that these headphones are almost a little too sensitive.

If you have a lot of background noise the mute button will come in handy. The bass boost is another feature found on the inline control that improves the whole gaming experience. It adds depth and really can be felt in the body, something that brings a new element to war-style, FPS games.

  • Fairly Comfortable for Long Gaming Sessions

Comfort is naturally very individual. One person may be able to wear clunky, heavy headphones for hours without a problem while others become irritated after a few minutes.

The Ear Force X12 checks out as quite universally comfortable, for men and women, adults and youth. One look at this model and you can tell that Turtle Beach wanted these to remain unobtrusive for those intense, multi-hour gaming sessions.

This headset has a classic over-ear design with breathable fabric earpads. The top of the headband has foam cushioning which allows for a close, secure fit without pain.

There is plenty of adjustment and the flexible omnidirectional mic allows you to position it however you’d like. Even when you need to take a break you can simply rest the headphones around your neck and still speak into the mic easily.

The average customer finds that up to 3 hours of wear is easily achieved because normal fatigue is felt. Others can easily use them all day, while a select few may only be able to wear them an hour or so before needing a break.

These same people are often those that already have issues with general over-ear headsets.

Glasses-wearers typically find fit to be non-problematic, though careful adjustment may be needed to prevent the sides of the face from feeling squished. This is particularly true for those with large heads.

Disadvantages of the Ear Force X12

As a fairly solid 4-star headset, the Ear Force X12 doesn’t have a couple of issues to be aware of. No product is perfect and when it comes to this model there are two main concerns to keep in mind before purchasing.

  • Designed Specifically for Gaming

If you’ve been into gaming for some time and are familiar with some tech brands, you probably already know that Turtle Beach essentially focuses on gaming headsets.

However, those new to the company may not know that dedicated gaming headsets aren’t necessarily versatile. The design of the Ear Force X12 is for PC and console gaming, not for listening to music or watching movies. While you can certainly still use these headphones for those purposes, they will have mediocre performance compared to normal headphones.

The Ear Force X12 works great with PC and Xbox 360. It is not compatible with Mac, unfortunately. Turtle Beach does offer replacement inline connections so you can use these headphones with Xbox One and PS4 systems.

For gaming, you really can’t go wrong with the X12. The sound is excellent and you’ll be able to hear far more clearly than PC or TV speakers. However, if you’re looking for something that will play music or movies with equally high performance, you’ll be disappointed.

  • Triple Wire Connection Prone to Breaking

Since the Ear Force X12 was designed primarily with gaming in mind there is a triple wire audio setup – one connection to the controller, an RCA connection to a TV or gaming console, and the USB power to console or computer.

Having a 16′ total cable length is great for moving around but many find it to be excessively long if you’ll only be sitting on your couch or in a chair. The cable can be wrapped up carefully to a shorter, more manageable length but the main issue is wire connection breakage.

Quite a lot of headphone users end up needing to replace their set after many months of heavy usage because of one earpiece losing sound. The problem is the weight of the cord combined with a fixed attachment.

Over time it’s easy for kinks to happen. This issue could have been easily avoided by using a swivel cable but this would only increase the price of this model, which is the opposite of what Turtle Beach wanted.

Final Take: Ear Force X12 Review

Overall the Ear Force X12 headphones are an excellent deal. Even with its two shortcomings in mind, you can still expect the sound quality, comfort, and overall value to be above average compared to similarly priced headphones.

Now that the price is even lower there really is no reason to skip on this model if you’re in the market for introductory gaming headphones to get a better experience. Turtle Beach has quite a dedicated audience and the X12 remains a fan-favorite set for gamers looking for good sound on a tight budget.

Further Reading on Gaming Audio:

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