There is currently hardly a headset on the market that can keep up with the great feature set of the Elite Atlas Aero. We already reported here at the last Gamescom about the product release and the at least very entertaining E-Sports partnership with Astralis. Now we finally get to test the good piece extensively. The Californian developer Turtle Beach promises with his further development of the Atlas Aero a decisive advantage for competitive gaming through technical hearing advantage. As a big CS:GO fan, I’m eager to see what’s in it.
… the Elite Atlas Aero is looking very good. You can see pretty quickly that Turtle Beach has made an effort in the packaging. A chic cover reveals a black cardboard box, in which the headset is finally comfortably embedded in foam. It is folded very tightly, so that the box could even be a bit smaller.
The accessories are enclosed in an accessories box, also black. Included in the scope of delivery are a charging cable, the USB dongle, a 3.5 mm jack cable, a small sticker with the manufacturer’s logo and a quick start guide. The latter clearly explains the respective connections, all control elements as well as the use of the additional features, which we will come back to later.
Not all things are also explained in German, but with the illustrations and a little knowledge of English one gets along well. One shortcoming shows up in the scope of delivery: the headphones don’t yet have the new USB-C standard, which compares to that and increases the charging time.
But so far everything makes a convincing impression. We are curious what the connected headset has to offer.
It is pointed out that you should first download the in-house Control Studio software. For pairing, the next step is to insert the USB dongle into the device. Via the software you then download the audio driver. After restarting Control Studio, the next step is to connect the headset via the USB cable to update the firmware. Then disconnect the headset again and press the switch for several seconds. Et voilà, it is already done. The setup is done by the software alone, in Windows you don’t need to do anything more. Not exactly Plug&Play, but after about 5-10 minutes you can start listening for the first time.
The headset can also be used with the latest generations of Xbox, PS4, Nintendo Switch or Mobile. A remote is integrated on the Aux cable, covering common functions such as louder, quieter, pause, play, etc. However, the cable is kept relatively short and is therefore only suitable for connection in a trouser pocket, for example with a mobile phone. It is too short for connection to a PC, but here you use the Bluetooth connection and software anyway. The headset can be used on all devices, but is primarily suitable for the PC.
The circumaural headphones are quite large and their weight is in the middle class. They also look rather clumsy, since there are hardly any curves in the design
At this point we would like to mention an additional feature, the ProSpecs™ Glasses Relief System. This patented feature is designed to increase the wearing comfort for spectacle wearers. Under the ear pads there is a flap which can be used to create a hollow in the ear pad for the glasses. In fact, the system works quite well in the test and takes pressure off the spot. This is a big plus for spectacle wearers, and the comfort of headphones plays a significant role, especially during longer sessions.
The headset passes the bending test with flying colours thanks to good workmanship and aluminium elements.
The Bluetooth function also counts as a plus point in the area of comfort, because you are not “chained” to your computer. One can move freely and also do something in the next room, which is practical. Turtle Beach states the battery life with 30 hours.
Adjustability: Each auricle can be folded in two fixed steps and also turned backwards. The joints appear robust. The length can only be adjusted by 2.7 cm on each side, but this should be sufficient for most head types. The headphone strap is quite stiff and hardly adapts itself. Comfort suffers somewhat from the robustness here.
The ear pads are made of memory foam. On the outside, it is surrounded by firmer imitation leather, while a sports textile is sewn onto the inside and contact side. The temples press the Earpads quite hard. I personally find them too rigid and oppressive and don’t like it when the ears are so much shielded. But the advantage of the earpads is a stable fit of the headset on the head and a relatively good mechanical shielding of ambient noise.
What I find very disturbing in terms of ergonomics is that the ears are bare on a very hard inner side. This wasn’t really to be expected with this size of Earpads, but the rotation of the singing bowl causes the upper ear to come into contact with it on several test wearers. At first the point of contact hardly disturbs because it is not so strong. For a longer wearing time this is uncomfortable and after half a day of continuous wearing the ears definitely need a break. Hence the recommendation to try wearing the headset first to see if you can get along with it.
All in all, the Elite Atlas Aero feels valuable, maybe too much plastic in the design. In terms of wearing comfort, there are not only plus points but also points of criticism. There may be individual preferences for the ear padding, as the harder leather version also has its fans, but the ears should not rest on a hard inner cover.
In terms of sound, the Elite Atlas Aero is in a good middle class. Thanks to the relatively good mechanical shielding, it is also hardly disturbed by ambient noise.
The bass appears too weak in the sound image and should be slightly raised with the help of the software. The sound is then good and will fully satisfy most users. Depending on the genre, there are also some weak points in comparison to the upper class, and the price difference must come from somewhere. The trebles aren’t precise and the sound of the 50 mm drivers could be a bit richer. The sound is too much in the mids.
A slight background noise can be heard in silence via the Bluetooth connection. WAVES Nx 3D Audio technology promises an impressive 3D audio experience. While I can’t see any significant benefit from this feature when listening to music, it is an advantage for gaming.
For occasional listening to music the headset is perfectly suitable and for gaming the acoustics are quite convincing. It is good in its price range, but doesn’t exhaust everything.
The microphone can be picked up, which is the first advantage. After all, you don’t always use it and broken parts can be replaced more easily in this way – keyword longevity. Moreover, the headphones can be used without a mic even when travelling. The microphone can also be adjusted very well thanks to the flexible microphone arm on the headset.
As with many other Bluetooth headsets, the microphone is unfortunately also a weak point here. We rate the quality as average; it should be somewhat better at a price of around 150 €. It’s sufficient for voice chat, but for streaming or recording you’d need a stand microphone or a more upscale clipmic. Our test device crackled very loudly during the recordings. As it turned out, this was an isolated case that the replaced device could make up for. However, the latter in turn had other problems with the microphone, which is why we decided not to include an audio recording in this test for reasons of fairness. One can assume an unlucky coincidence or not… With other testers on Youtube everything seems to work out fine. You can listen to here for example.
The setting options are positive. The software allows easy control of the volume, feedback and ambient noise suppression of the microphone. The noise suppression works quite well in tests with background noise, for example when typing on the keyboard.
On the headset itself, above the two connectors, there are two buttons and two controls, which are located on the back of the left handset. On the outside there is another button to mute the microphone. You have to get an overview first. I don’t like the arrangement, because the two controls are right next to each other and can easily be mixed up. One button can be freely assigned in the software, below it is the button for switching on and off. The latter switches the headset off immediately by pressing it briefly, whereas switching it on takes several seconds. If both buttons are accidentally mixed up, the headset is immediately off, which can also mean “death” in the game. Everything distributed on this one side seems a bit crowded. The pressure feedback of the keys also feels a bit cheap.
But if you look at the whole thing functionally, the Elite Atlas Aero is well positioned. All common functions are mechanically accessible with the left hand and the individually assignable button is also useful. In the game, you can quickly switch the listening mode with it in order to be able to use the advertised functions practically. The rest of the operation is done via the in-house Control Studio.
In 2020, a headset may already be capable of a little more than sound plus microphone. With these features, we have now arrived in a category in which the elite Atlas Aero feels particularly comfortable.
First of all, not only the microphone but also the ear pads can be removed. This is very easy and the pads snap back into place safely and comfortably. In terms of longevity, this makes it easier to replace the ear pads, and there was also the ProSpecs™ Glasses Relief System, which is hidden underneath. For spectacle wearers, this is definitely a plus point.
An amazing range of additional functions is also available with the software we are now looking at.
We’re looking at Turtle Beach’s control studio. The settings you set in the software are applied in real time. It takes a little bit of work to find your way around the patent and feature jungle. However, the sound suffers considerably under functions like “Superhuman Hearing”, with which, for example, step noises in the game can be amplified. So you should change the settings again depending on what you are doing. Switching the desired functions on and off can be easily done with the configurable buttons on the headset.
Functions like “Game Dialog Level” or “Superhuman Hearing” are convincing and, contrary to initial skepticism, prove to be useful. You can save and load your settings in presets.
The equalizer can also be adjusted according to personal preferences. The mixing is divided into a sensible scale and gives gamers a small overview for orientation, which noises are to be assigned to which frequencies. For the equalizer the developer could still provide useful presets.
But there are still a few small bugs in the software. For example, the microphone feedback (Variable Mic Monitoring) cannot be adjusted without a “Device Error” occurring. Furthermore, the software could explain such functions better or even to the user at all and is not yet offered in German.
But in conclusion, the Elite Atlas Aero has the most comprehensive range of functions I have seen so far. But you would have to deal with the large number of possible settings in any case. Many things will not be essential for most people, so the headset is primarily aimed at ambitious gamers.
Unfortunately you don’t have the advertised superpowers through the headset alone ingame, a little bit of what the player has to do himself. In the CS:GO test the headset could convince at the highest rank. Steps, grenade or gunshot sounds can be amplified and localized thanks to the software. The chat can also be amplified in order to better understand other players. This can actually be helpful in the game and can decide the one or other round. Compared to other good headsets, the headset keeps up well here. However, the filtering and overdriving also leaves a bad taste in the mouth, because despite all the acoustic advantages it sounds worse.
For shooters and very ambitious gamers, the headset with the corresponding functions can be very useful at the expense of sound. But the directional characteristic cuts a fine figure even without modes turned on. The Elite Atlas Aero is clearly designed for gaming and can also convince in this area thanks to its “technical gadgets”. The piece is definitely suitable for eSports.
Conclusion on the Elite Atlas Aero
There’s not much wrong with the Elite Atlas Aero, it’s a versatile and overall strong wireless headset. It offers several unique features that we liked in the test. The targeted eSports orientation is supported with useful functions that can be easily brought to bear thanks to well thought-out software. The sound is convincing for gaming, but for audiophile frequent listeners it could be even better. When it comes to comfort, there are plus and minus points, so if in doubt you’ll have to try the headphones out for yourself. There are weak points in the microphone and the mechanical operation, which could be more sophisticated and better organized. In the wireless headphones segment, Turtle Beach’s new headset is definitely worth a look – if the microphone works.
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