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Turtle Beach Z SEVEN review: The features... my god the features...

Gear & Gadgets Screenshot - turtle beach z seven

First thing I'm going to say is that the Turtle Beach Z SEVEN gaming headset is expensive -- like, $250 expensive. But for that price, you're getting one heck of a headset with an awesome Audio Control Unit and tons of features. You get what you pay for, and for $250, you're getting an awesome package. That package doesn't come without a few hiccups, though.

Before you start to use your Z SEVEN headset,  you're going to have to do some reading. A lot comes in the package, and you'll need to refer to the manual to set up the ACU the right way. I've used many gaming headsets, but the Z SEVEN had me thrown for a loop a few times. The ACU connects to your PC via USB port and the green speaker port, and then the headset plugs into the ACU. What my setup had problems with were two things. First, I like to have the option of switching to the very nice speakers I have on my desk. The ACU has a spot for a speaker output, but the sound from it was quite lackluster and I kept getting a popping sound. The second problem was setup in Playback Devices. The user has to set the Z SEVEN as the default device, but then use Z SEVEN Chat as the communication device. Every time I booted up my computer, for some reason the Chat kept getting put as the default device. If I tried to switch it to the right way, it just wouldn't work -- no sound at all. It was quite frustrating, and it often required me restarting my computer multiple times. 

After those initial issues, everything's superb, and it starts with the Audio Control Unit. This thing has everything: auxiliary input for a phone/mp3 player, speaker output, chat and sound presets, voice morphing and so much more. You can customize surround sound, volume control, adjust speaker angles and switch between presets on-the-fly and with ease. Compared to the ACU for the Astro, you're getting a ton more features, but, like I said, setup was a bit trickier. The ACU also has a bit of heft to it. I have desk space for it to sit without a ton of clutter, but those of you cramped might get a little annoyed with the wires and the space it takes. It's not big, but you have to have it accessible, you know what I mean? There's always the option to clip it onto you, as it has clip on the back, but since it's touch sensitive for all of its controls, I wouldn't really recommend that. Even with it sitting on the desk I pressed the wrong button a few times. The ACU can also be bought separately if you are just interested in that and don't want the headset. It will work with any headset, but it's obviously optimized to work with Turtle Beach headsets. You can purchase it separately for $109.95.

turtle beach z seven

Okay, let's get to the important question: how does it sound? While it isn't the best sounding headset I've used, the Z SEVEN certainly is close. It handled everything I through at it -- games, movies and music -- and passed with flying colors. The presets with the ACU combined to make the Z SEVEN multiple headsets in one. I could make it really bass-heavy if I wanted to (which packed a punch), or I could increase the highs to be crisp and clear with a super-human hearing likeness to it. And I know that surround sound in headsets gets a lot of grief, but as you mess around with angles, sound direction and surround sound with the Z SEVEN, you really do hear a difference. 

For as great as the sound quality is with the Z SEVEN, the microphone paled in comparison. Through Skype, my friends and guildmates said that the Z22 actually sounded better. With some fine-tuning I got the microphone to sound better, but it's not the best boom mic in the world.

What really impressed me was the comfort of the Z SEVEN. If it's not the most comfortable headset I've ever worn, then it's certainly close. With a snug fit, it blocks out enough sound from around you, so you can really focus on the game. This headset is so comfortable that it could lull me to sleep. The leather ear cushions are extremely pleasing to wear, while the leather headband has a firm softness to it -- just enough give and cushion. Nice braided cables, a retractable boom mic, etched leather and an MLG Pro Circuit logo on the ear plate (which, of course, can be changed out) round out the design. It's a very attractive package.

Overall, it's hard to not love the Turtle Beach Z SEVEN headset. The ACU itself is a good reason to pick one up. Setup problems aside, the Z SEVEN is nothing if not impressive. It's a headset full of features that's comfortable and packs a punch no matter what game, song or movie you're playing. It's easily one of the most versatile, customizable headsets on the market. If you're looking for a headset in the $200+ range, the Z SEVEN deserves a look.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

 
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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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