Product: Sharkoon X-Tactic SP Plus
System(s): PS3, Xbox 360, PC and mobile devices
Back in 2011, I reviewed the Sharkoon X-Tactic SR gaming headset. I enjoyed the overall performance of the headset, but noticed some shortcomings in its multiple device support. The Sharkoon X-Tactic SP Plus is the lower cost alternative to the SR headset, but its packaging and marketing materials shows a focus on the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, it can still be used with PC and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Despite its preference towards consoles, utilizing this headset requires you to utilize an assortment of accessories to get the most out of it.
Let’s start with PS3 connectivity. Sharkoon assumes you still have the composite cables that came with the PS3. If you don’t have this cable, you’re not going to be able to use all the features this headset offers. You’ll need the composite cable connected to the PS3 in order to push audio through the headset. Sharkoon provides a RCA cable with male and female ends. The male end of the PS3 composite cable has to be inserted into the female end of the RCA cable. The male ends of the RCA cable are supposed to plug into the television, but I didn’t find this to be necessary. The audio worked fine as long as I changed the PS3′s audio setting to Audio Inputer Connector/Scart AV/Multi. I don’t know why that is, but I rolled with it. In the end, the RCA cable was left dangling behind my PS3. The cable is also very short. The RCA cable could not reach the proper ports on my television with much slack. Fortunately, I didn’t need it to.
This is the first problem I had with this headset. An unsuspecting person could purchase this without knowing a PS3 composite cable is a requirement. That’s a cable many PS3 owners no longer deal with since HDMI has taken over. An optical connection would have been more modern, but that feature was reserved for the more expensive X-Tactic SR model.
Connecting this headset to the Xbox 360 presents similar challenges. If you use a HDMI cable with the Xbox 360, you’ll need to have a HDMI Audio Adapter. You can find one of these for about $6 online, but you shouldn’t have to buy an accessory for your new headset to work.
I also used this headset to listen to some music on my tablet and smartphone. It comes with a connector that fits any standard 3.5mm headphone port. Unfortunately, the audio was muffled if the connector was inserted all the way into my devices. I had to take the headphone jack out slightly in order to get the music to sound right. When it worked, the audio was very good. But the connection is so finicky, I can’t recommend it for everyday use.
If you can look past the connection issues, you’ll find the X-Tactic SP to be a good quality headset. If you’re looking for volume, this headset has you covered. More often than not, I found this headset to be very loud at half maximum volume. Even with the audio blasting in my ears, it didn’t sound distorted. I was satisfied with the bass levels, and never had to adjust the in-game voice and music levels to achieve balance.
Speaking of audio levels, the X-Tatic SP comes with a very useful adapter that can control microphone and game audio levels independently. I really like how these crucial controls are easily within arm’s reach. The microphone quality is also perfectly acceptable for online play. I got no complaints about the quality of my voice.
The insides of the headset are lined with a soft and cushy material that’s very easy on the ears. It ensures you’ll be able to have long gaming sessions without much discomfort. They also bend inwards to rest right above your chest. It’s a nice touch I think.
Considering its $69.99 price tag, I feel technology has advanced enough to produce less complicated headsets. There are Bluetooth headsets out there that can connect to the PS3, PC and mobile devices without the need for cables and small, easy-to-lose connectors. The need to use composite cables can also be a deal breaker for some people. If this headset were cheaper, I could overlook these inconveniences since the audio it produces is quite good. Unfortunately, the Sharkoon X-Tactic XP Plus is a victim of time.