Review: Sharkoon X-tatic SR Gaming Headphones

By on November 8, 2011

When I was approached by Sharkoon to review their headset my first response was probably the same as yours. Who or what is Sharkoon? With Gaming headset makers such as MadCatz/Tritton, Astro and Turtle Beach dominating the market, you have to ask yourself; Do we really need another? I said OK and 2 days later they were on my doorstep. With my family out of town and the house to myself it should have been a perfect opportunity to blast the surround sound system for a weekend of gaming and action movies.

The opposite occurred. The weekend was spent with the Sharkoon X-tatic SR headset on my head as I plugged them into everything with a headphone jack. I was wired for sound on everything in the house. PS3, Xbox 360, laptop, mobile phone and even my Asus Transformer. If I could, I would’ve plugged them into the microwave so I could hear my food cooking in 5.1 Dolby Surround.

Hardware

In todays gaming world, a wired headset means inconvenience and cables everywhere. Gone are the days where one can get practically anything wireless, except an exceptional pair of headphones. The X-tatic SR’s will run you $139 via the Amazon Marketplace and you’ll only be able to use them if you have a USB connection somewhere for power. While not necessarily a bad thing as you’ll more than likely be using these in the comfort of your own living room, office or game room.

My first impression after taking them out of the packaging was “Hey these are nice looking”. If not for the wires, I’d definitely rock them at the office. The headband snugs the skull but not uncomfortably, while the ear cups offer a cozy if not sturdy feel. Inside the box, you’ll find a USB Cable to power the amp from your laptop/desktop, PS3 or Xbox, a detachable microphone, an optical audio cable and a stereo connector for use with your iPod, Zune, or Tablet devices.

Having used Tritton’s headset’s in the past, the similarity of the control unit to theirs was scary. In fact, I pulled my old AX Pro control unit and held them side by side they are practically the same with the exception of the power and illuminated audio selector buttons which reside on the top. The top has 2 inputs, 1 for Optical connections next to an analog audio input.

Me: Hi. My name is Peterocc and I’m a tech gadget addict.

Everyone: Hi Peterocc.

For those that need hardware specs, here are the all important numbers:

Specifications (headphones):

  • Diameter: 40 mm with NdFeB magnet
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sound pressure level: 120dB +/- 3 dB at 1 KHz
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Power output: 30 mW
  • Cable length: 410 cm +/-10 cm
  • Connector: 1x 6-pin analog plug

  • Specifications (microphone):

  • Diameter: 6 x 5 mm (L x B)
  • Directivity: omni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -58 dB +/- 3 dB
  • Impedance: 2.2 kΩ
  • Frequency response: 100 Hz – 2 kHz
  • Operating voltage: 4.5 V


  • Experience

    Connection to my 360 & PS3 were a snap as is the norm these days. A quick swap of the USB and optical cables were all that were needed to interchange them. While my 360 was already setup for headphone use, I did have to peruse through the PS3 menu to find the setting that allowed game audio through the headphones. Crisp and comfortable were the first things that came to mind after a short time with the X-tatic SR’s on my ears. Unlike most other gaming headsets I have tried in the past, the over the ear cups weren’t too heavy on the ear. Because of the lack of a built-in Subwoofer, low sounding effects such as explosions did leave me wanting more, but the surround sound and clean audio delivered by Sharkoon make up for that.

    The in-game chat experience on the 360 was the least desirable part of my time with the headset. While I was able to hear others loud and clear, the microphone was underpowered and could not bring my voice across to the other players. One cool feature was separate volume controls for in game chat and volume. Most headsets only provide a single volume feature and can lead to just a really loud experience. The X-tatic SR provides gamers with the ability to raise/lower in-game chat to reach that happy medium with audio & chat.

    To see if the Sharkoon truly delivers a quality surround sound experience, I watched the movie Gamer (of course) on Netflix. To make sure that the review stayed fair, I watched the movie on my 360, PS3 & laptop. Again, the lack of a subwoofer or equivalent can leave you waiting for that boom but unfortunately it never came.

    Final Word

    All in all, a solid overall product from Sharkoon that is geared towards multiconsole and PC gamers. The Sharkoon X-tatic SR headset can be found online at Amazon.com and other online stores for about $140.00.

    GOOD:

  • Good, Clean 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
  • Very comfortable and easy to look at
  • Easy to setup/configure
  • Separate In-Game Chat and Audio controls
  • BAD:

  • Not enough punch in the bass department
  • Too many cables (Not a Sharkoon flaw, just a wired headset flaw overall)
  • Weak underpowered microphone leads to in-game chat issues
  • peterocc

    About peterocc

    Network Engineer by day, Resident Loudmouth Video Gamer by night. Definitely NSFW, wise beyond his years & a legend in his own mind. A self confessed Android junkie, COD Fanboy & lover of all things scotch... but not in that order.
    • Eric Schaefer

      They sound like a good pair of $50 headphones…..oh wait, they are $140.   I’ll pass on these unless I can find them at least half off.

      • aguywhohelps

         there surround sound headsets they wont be as cheap as 50$, you must have a low budget for a headset. I would say the sharkoon xtatic sp are good.

    • Marcos

      why cant i listen to the in-game chat? i can hear everything, but i cant hear the voices of my teammates, why is that?

      • Mike A

        Did you ever find a resolution? I’m having the same issue. Can hear in-game audio but no voice chat. If I unplug the mic I can hear voice but obviously cannot chat.