Alex Audio Awards 2018: Most Improved Company!
It’s the end of the year, so it’s time for me to give awards to stuff and make some lists.
Making audio products is hard, whether you’re a new company or you’ve been in the game for a long time. If you’re a consumer, you’ve probably developed brand preferences through your experiences that help guide your purchasing decisions. It’s why so much marketing is done for certain pairs of headphones. Brand loyalty has helped a few companies to retain strong market share year after year.
One of those companies is Turtle Beach. They’ve dominated the gaming headset space for a long time thanks to their vast array of products skewed towards a lower price and a younger demographic.
I’ve never totally loved them. Once in a while, they’ll put out something I think is awesome, but more often than not, I’ve found their mainstream offerings to be too plasticky, and a little too focused on the type of sound signature I don’t prefer.
This year, that all changed with their Atlas lineup.
The Atlas series is targeted at PC gamers…but it’ll work on anything with a wired connection. It has three models priced between $50 and $100, putting them right in competition with every other highly-recommended product in the gaming audio space.
And in the design department, it’s like Turtle Beach really took complaints about their history to heart. The three headsets feature prominent metal in their builds, and signatures that are tuned more in line with other popular products.
I loved the Elite Atlas, the most expensive entry. It has most of the features of their $200 Elite Pro in a $100 headset, and it’s my new recommendation at this price point. The only thing I’d change in the future is the length of the stock cable. It’s just a little bit too short.
I didn’t like the Atlas Three as much, but it’s by no means a bad product. It survived a lengthy review process and it’s still on my shelf. They went with an omni-directional microphone that I don’t love, and the sound signature is an interesting throwback to older gaming products. But the built-in amp, comfort, and build are all pretty good for the price.
When the Atlas lineup was launched, with flashy marketing videos, I was intrigued. It seemed like Turtle Beach was finally building products that appealed to folks like me, and it turns out that’s exactly what they were doing.
I’ll probably check out an Atlas One sometime in the new year, and I’m really happy to see that Turtle Beach has learned so many lessons from their competitors. The Elite Atlas will be the $99 headset to beat for the foreseeable future.
So thanks Turtle Beach. You hit a real homerun with the Elite Atlas, and the Atlas lineup as a whole is a good step in the right direction for gaming headset quality from a mainstream brand.