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Turtle Beach Ear Force AK-R8

Labeled With  turtle beach pc
Written by DM on Thursday, December 13 2007

Turtle Beach is pretty much synonymous with headphones, and when it comes to gaming or otherwise, they have a product for every purpose. Today we are taking a look at the Turtle Beach Ear Force AK-R8 5.1 surround PC headphones. These phones include the center, front, rear, and subwoofer channels of a home theatre, right in one compact over-the-ear package. These are the evolution of the Ear Force HPA, which did not come with its own 5.1 amp unit. Well, Turtle remedied that and tweaked the hardware and gave us the AK-R8, with a USB interface.

As I said, the AK-R8 is a full size over the ear unit, with a comfortable over-the-head band. It is heavy, but you can wear it for prolonged periods and it should offer no comfort issues. Each of the 4 individual speakers inside the earcups have their own discrete driver, and the directional sound produced is truly impressive.

As I said, the AK-R8 are improved over the HPA with the addition of the Audio Advantage SRM. This black box like device sits between the headphones and the PC, and includes control options such as volume, mute, line in and out, and mic in. The AASRM module is the heart of the R8 phones. Along with the PC software, there are many options that can be tweaked when using the headphones. The extra jacks on the AASRM module are mainly for advanced users who need other input/output options besides USB. Can this nit be used without a PC? Sort of. It will takes some jury rigging, and some cable extensions, but it is possible. Turtle does not support or recommend it, though.

Hardware setup is simple, and the PC software installation is fairly straightforward. The drivers need to be installed before the phones can be configured properly though, but that is standard operating procedure these days. Speaker settings, equalizer (with many presets), and a mixer are included when the Turtle R8 control panel is pulled up from the system tray. You can save presets as well, so that every time you reboot you need not reset the sliders. Keep in mind, the software only works with Win2k and above.

The headphones also include a boom mic, in case those of you who use PC mics were worried. The mic can be configured in any way you like, for use in games, recording, text-to-speech use, or whatever. The control panel for the phones include ample mic options for whatever use you plan to implement it with.

I used the phones to listen to movies, games, and music, and guess what folks? Just as you would expect, once the equalizer settings and mixer was set to my liking, the sound was fantastic. Because the 5.1 is only really utilized when watching DVD movies, the directional sound capability of the phones was only reviewed during DVD playback.

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