Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
For all the audio products we review at APH Networks, it takes quite a bit of experience and training of the ears before we can assess with fair judgment. Even for many audiophiles, it can be hard to produce an exact or accurate evaluation of a product without a familiar product to use as a reference. While I am new to audio testing, I worked with Editor-in-Chief Jonathan Kwan to accurately evaluate the audio quality. There are no true objective measurements for audio sound quality, but as a reviewer, I will put the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro with the Atlas Edge through a series of subjective tests to try to come up with the most objective rating as I can. The audio tests were conducted with the Elite Atlas Pro plugged into the Atlas Edge, which was then plugged into a USB port on the back of my motherboard.
After taking some time to get used to the fit of the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro, we put the headset to the tests. All tracks are uncompressed or high bitrate audio files. Equalizer settings were set to flat for testing purposes. For gaming, I played VALORANT and osu!. First-person shooter games are probably the most important games to test these headphones, as the gameplay can heavily rely on hearing to gain information. I find that playing rhythm games like osu! can also be very important to test latency, but in other cases, the latency is less relevant.
I started testing at the bottom with the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro, which means the bass frequencies. In this section, we found the headset produced a deep and round sound. The headset was not too boomy, despite being slightly bass boosted. The bass was heavy enough to produce a solid sound while maintaining a smoother output. In games like first-person shooters, bass sounds would correlate to things like footsteps. Footsteps were very easy to listen for with the Elite Atlas Pro.
Moving to the midrange, this is where the appeal of this headset began to drop off. Although the sound was clear, it was very recessed. It was very hard to hear potions of the midrange as there were some missing portions in this region. This headset is very weird in regard to its boost in the upper-midrange. Despite these issues, the sound did not feel that unnatural as voices came out well. Although the midrange is not that important for gaming, it is still useful for some games that rely on listening to voices or abilities. The quality of the sound could be better, alongside the ability to isolate it. In this regard, the Elite Atlas Pro could have performed better in both aspects.
Continuing with the treble, the sound is still recessed likewise to the midrange. The sound produced in this region clashed with other sections and was uncomfortable to listen to. The treble was distorted due to the boosted midrange. I would say this section was the least clean as the sound was very dry in comparison to headsets I have tried. In games, the treble would be recognized as glass breaking or guns reloading. Overall, the sound signature of the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro is very strange in regard to the shape not being a simple V-shaped sound like many other headsets. The sound signature of this headset is more of a W-shape without the last stroke, meaning the treble started to roll off at the higher pitches.
In regard to soundstaging, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro performed mediocrely. Although the soundstaging was better than the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC, this is not exactly a high bar to clear. In games, it was good enough as I could easily understand my opponent's general location when sound was produced. When it came to music, it was much harder to distinguish the instruments as the depth and width cover a relatively small to medium range making the instruments sound close together. Of course, there are always limitations to the closed-back design that we must consider. With everything considered, the soundstaging on the Elite Atlas Pro performed alright, but could be much better.
When it comes to layering, I found the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro to be adequate in gaming in regard to detail and precision. Despite this, in music, the detail felt a little more convoluted with all the different instruments and voices. The frequency separation was not very distinct, especially with the boosted midrange that distorted the treble. Given the lack of separation, there was also a lack of cohesion and cleanness.
Because the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas Pro has a closed-back design, there is not much sound leakage in comparison to an open-back headset. Having leather cups also further reduces the amount of sound leaked. With this combo, the sound is isolated to the user quite well. I personally do not have much preference in the matter of sound isolation, but this is still important for some potential buyers.
As for the microphone quality, I used Audacity to record and export the audio as an MP3 file. From this, you can hear the microphone is able to pick up my voice easily despite having my Noise Gate Threshold at the minimum. As for the quality, I was quite surprised about how good it actually sounded. After listening to my voice recording, I found the recording to be quite natural for a headset, as it sounds just like my customer service voice. It is a bit cut off at the bottom end, though it is not as apparent in the sample recording. For voice communications or light streamers, I would say this microphone will suffice, and I would even recommend it for a day-to-day use when streaming. Only those looking for a fuller sound and specific quality would need to look elsewhere.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware and Software
3. Subjective Audio Analysis