(As a side note, we graded the sound based on the perceived value to the average gamer. So if you need a headset particularly for FPS games, feel free to disregard that number and think of it as a solid 10!) The Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is an incredible all-rounder that will leave no gamer wanting. The comfort and microphone alone are worth the price of admission, but add on top of that a build that was made to last and a sound specifically tuned for pro gaming, and you’ve got a new champion among mid-range gaming headsets. If, on the other hand, you need a multi-purpose headset, we can’t recommend the Elite Atlas as a first pick.
Turtle Beach may have only recently taken their first steps in the PC headset market, but their Elite Atlas model shows that they’ve already found their stride and caught up to the rest of big players like Logitech and Razer.
Nevertheless, at a little under $100, the Elite Atlas is going head to head with likes of such celebrated headsets as the HyperX Cloud II. So can it hold its own in such a strong market?
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|Name||Turtle Beach Elite Atlas|
|Weight||1.31 pounds (0.595 kg)|
|Driver size||50 mm|
|Frequency range||12 Hz – 20000 Hz|
To put it bluntly, we’ve always found Turtle Beach Headsets to be hit-or-miss when it comes to aesthetic appeal, but the Elite Atlas as not just a hit – it’s a bullseye!
In a market fraught with aggressively ‘gamey’ headsets, the minimalist design of the Elite Atlas is a breath of fresh air. It forgoes the attention-demanding color pallets in favor of a refined all-black exterior that pairs up greatly with the sophisticated metallic chrome accents.
What’s more, it features swappable magnetic speaker plates. The stock version looks just fine, so if customization isn’t really your thing, you should have no qualms about leaving the headset as it is. But, if you want to show support for your favorite esports team or video game, you can.
Still, the feature that we love the most about the Elite Atlas’ design has got to be ProSpecs Glasses Relief System built into the earcups. What this does is basically ensures the headset is both backward and forward compatible with any glasses. It’s a unique and incredibly handy feature that we just can’t praise highly enough. It simply works wonders!
The only bad thing about the system is how few headsets utilize it. The world needs more of this.
Another thing we’d like to praise the Elite Atlas for is its incredible versatility. For the longest time, Turtle Beach was a company that specifically made console headsets, so we’re happy to see that they didn’t abandon their roots even after moving on to more PC-focused models.
As such, the Elite Atlas is compatible with PC, mobile, Xbox, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. This is largely thanks to the use of a 3.5mm plug instead of a USB port, something gaming headsets are starting to favor more and more.
Now it’s not like this doesn’t hold any negative implications. Most notably, it doesn’t come with any accompanying software and, by extension, any official equalization software. Plus, there is no wireless variant, which can be a deal-breaker for some people.
Ultimately, whether the lack of EQ software is made up for by the all-inclusive compatibility is up to you, but it is something to keep in mind once we start discussing the audio.
Another thing we enjoyed is how all the pieces of this headset fit together. And we mean that literally, you can take this headset apart piece by piece and put it back together at your leisure. We’ve already mentioned the swappable speaker plates, but this feature isn’t limited only to cosmetic components.
The microphone, the cable, and even the ear cushions are all detachable!
What this means is that, ultimately, you can replace any single part of the headset should it get damaged, without having to buy a brand new model. In a market filled with headphones and headsets – some much more expensive than this one – that becomes completely unusable once the cable gives out, this is gold!
Now, we’ll talk a bit more about the ear cushions and the mic in the Comfort and Microphone segments, but let’s take a moment to discuss the cable here, as it may come up as a point of contention for some. Namely, the fact that the default braided cable is only 40 inches long has proven to be controversial. And granted, while great for the current generation of consoles, this length is easily too short for most PC configurations.
However, the inclusion of a 78-inch splitter cable does solve this issue. It’s not an elegant solution, but it works.
But even with all the other positives that the Elite Atlas has going for it, we feel that comfort is one of its strongest suits. It’s not the lightest headset we’ve seen, but everything else about it is first class: from the floating headband and rotating joints to the generously thick padding on the ear cushions. Plus, the ear cushions are magnetically affixed to the earcups, so even if the accumulated wear and tear of time should make them less than optimal, you can just swap them in for new ones, completely hassle-free.
The cushions themselves are padded with memory foam and covered with athletic fabric, which is both softer and more breathable than leather. The end result is so superb that there is no other headset we would rather use when binge-gaming the day away. As an added benefit, the padding also provides decent passive noise-isolation.
Surprisingly enough, the sound is actually the aspect of the headset with the most caveats.
It’s not that it’s bad; we can’t in good conscience say that. But it’s nothing if not target-focused, to put it appropriately.
And to understand how and why this came to be, it helps to know that Turtle Beach worked with a professional CS: GO team to make sure that all the audio features were fine-tuned to suit a professional gamer’s needs.
The fruit of their combined labors is a sound so expansive that you’ll have an excellent sense of direction in shooters even without surround sound, which the headset doesn’t feature, virtual or otherwise. Every footstep is heard, every gunshot is distinct, every explosion palpable. What’s more, there’s no distortion even at volumes that far exceed that upper threshold for safe listening.
If you need a competitive edge in games like these, you’ll fully appreciate everything the Elite Atlas has to offer.
But by the same token, the sound that the Elite Atlas has to offer is serviceable at best for everything else. It’s not good for music because the mid-range very much takes a back seat in favor of the low and high frequencies. It’s passable for watching movies. And even some different genres of games would sound more flattering on a headset that doesn’t sack the mid-range this much.
And lastly, we mustn’t forget about the microphone. After all, it’s what makes a headset a headset. And as far as the mic is concerned, the Elite Atlas’ detachable and unidirectional solution is second to none in this price range.
Again, this can probably be attributed to the CS: GO team’s input during development, only this time there are no negative implications. The voice it records is clear and crisp, and the noise-canceling works wonders for eliminating any background commotion, including your phone’s message notifications. This is as welcome a feature when gaming as it is for video chatting.
We wouldn’t say it’s good to the point of being optimal for streaming or recording YouTube videos, but then again no $100 headset microphone is.
Overall, the Turtle Beach Elite Atlas is a headset that does all things right: it’s likely to outlast even the most durable rivals thanks to all the replaceable parts it has; it’s got your back regardless of the platform you wish to game on; it’s just as comfortable to wear hours into the gaming session as it is when you first put it on; it has a magnificent microphone, and it sounds pretty good.
What qualms we had about the audio should not be taken as a criticism but as a warning:
This is a gaming headset first and foremost, and it wears that mantle openly and proudly. If you intend to use it for non-gaming purposes you’re gonna have a bad time, but calling it out on this would be like calling a fish out on its inability to climb a tree. To answer the question from the beginning of the article, the Elite Atlas is perfectly capable of holding its own even against the best headsets this price range has ever had to offer.
So, if you need a general-purpose headset, you may want to try your luck elsewhere. But if you need a headset that’s first and foremost intended for gaming, you can’t go wrong with the Elite Atlas.