Sharkoon, similar to Speedlink, are a German peripherals company who produce a number of different bits of hardware, both internal and external. Today, we are looking at a multi-purpose gaming headset, which is compatible with the PC, PS3 and XBox 360: the Sharkoon X-Tatic SP.
Read on to find out how ‘X-Tatic’ I am about it. Get it?
- Gaming stereo headset for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
- Cable length: 370 cm +/- 10 cm
- Two high quality 40 mm speakers
- Simple connection via analog interface (RCA)
- Flexible, detachable microphone
- Microphone connected via USB (USB to PS3)
- Microphone connected to Xbox 360 controller (2.5 mm plug)
- In-line amplifier for powerful games sound output
- Master volume control and microphone mute
- Supports Xbox Live
- Separate volume control for voice communication
- USB-powered, no additional power adaptor needed
- Supports the PlayStation 3 chat function (via USB)
- Also suitable as PC headset
- Specifications (headphones):
- Diameter: 40 mm
- Impedance: 40
- Sensitivity: 118 dB +/- 3 dB bei 1 KHz
- Frequency response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Power output: 40 mW
- Cable length: 370 cm +/-10 cm
- Connectors: 1x 3.5 mm stereo plug (green: stereo playback), 1x USB (microphone connection + power)
- Diameter: 6 x 5 mm (L x B)
- Directivity: omni-directional
- Sensitivity: -58 dB +/- 3 dB
- Impedance: 2.2 k
- Frequency response: 100 Hz ñ 2 kHz
- Operating voltage: 4.5 V
The packaging for the Sharkoon Xtatic SP is pretty sleek, featuring a black monolithic box with a plastic window displaying the headset.
On the back of the box, there are some details in a variety of languages, showing at least some indication of the 30 countries that make up Sharkoon’s distribution network.
Within the box, the headset is the most prominent item on display, with the cables and peripherals underneath.
Underneath the headset, there is a fairly large leaflet with cabling guides and other information.
There is a DVD case sized box which contains the detachable microphone, along with two additional cables required to hook up the headset to the various systems: a general-purpose cable to patch in to the audio cables, which is used for both the XBox 360 and PS3, and a platform-specific XBox 360 controller connector.
The headset is sleek, glossy black, with a padded vinyl headband and plush earpads. Unusually, the headset is powered via USB, yet connects to a standard 3.5mm jack for audio. It is definitely less common to have both where one is usually preferred over the other, but this is the inevitable nature of the beast where multi-platform hardware is concerned.
The microphone as previously mentioned is detachable, attaching securely below the left ear. There is an in-line controller with a mute switch, volume controls for the mic and headset, and an input for the XBox controller connector.
Testing headsets and other peripherals are unfortunately, quite a subjective experience. However, as reviewers our job is to run products through their paces and give you our opinions as well as the facts, so that’s what we do.
In this case, I put the headset through its paces with several genres of music, some movie clips and a few different games. This helps judge a wide range of frequencies and scenarios for usage. On top of this, long term comfort is also tested as overall these activities took several hours to complete.
The headset itself is well-constructed, with everything feeling solid and sturdy. The mic connects securely, with a tab ensuring that not only does it connect in only one direction, but it does not rotate or disconnect. The mic is well positioned by default, and the boom bends well, but has a little difficulty twisting towards the mouth due to the locking mechanism.
The wiring is slightly convoluted to put everything together, but the process for each system is roughly as follows:
PC – USB connector hooked up to USB port, 3.5mm connector hooked up to 3.5mm audio output jack.
PS3 – USB connector hooked up to PS3 USB port, 3.5mm connector connected up to 3.5mm input on peripheral cable, audio cables plugged into peripheral cable, peripheral cable hooked into PS3 audio ports.
Xbox 360 – USB connector hooked up to XBox 360 USB port, 3.5mm hooked up to 3.5mm input on peripheral cable, audio cables hooked into peripheral cable, peripheral cable plugged into XBox 360 audio ports, second peripheral cable connected between XBox controller and in-line headset controller.
Connecting everything up is certainly not insurmountable, particularly with the clear diagrams provided in the quick-start leaflet, but they may take a little bit of work for less technical users.
The headset is extremely comfortable, fitting comfortably over the ears and styled to provide decent padding all around the head, remaining almost unnoticeably comfortable for several hours of testing. There is also a clip on the cable for attaching to a shirt or other place, which takes the weight of the controller, helps keep things in place and takes strain off the cable.
This is definitely a headset geared towards gaming, as the bass is really punchy and in your face. The disadvantage of this though is that the mids and highs suffer a little for it. Overall, the sound profile is decent enough, especially for gaming, though the headset isn’t as isolating as some, letting sounds in and leaking a little out.
While overall I was pleased with the quality of the Sharkoon X-Tatic SP, my only real gripe was that there is a noticeable hiss which appears related to the mic volume and can be heard during quieter periods. It is present but not overwhelming, so generally isn’t too problematic, especially in the heat of battle.
The headset can be found for around £50, which is pretty decent value for money, particularly in light of the multi-platform versatility.
Overall, the Sharkoon X-tatic SP is a respectable contender in the gaming headset arena. The multi-platform approach is slightly convoluted, given the differences in compatible systems, but it is a definite advantage, especially for gamers who own multiple consoles and/or PC gaming. The wiring is a little complicated for non-technical users, though it could be argued that they are not the intended audience. The sound quality is more than adequate, providing strong, powerful bass, with the only frustration being the hiss.
Ultimately, the headset is comfortable, moderately priced in the category, works on three different systems and has a lot of bass for gaming; it’s one worth checking out.
- Sounds good in most environment, though gaming is main focus
- Look great
- Very comfortable
- Work on three different systems
- Bass overpowers higher frequencies a little
- Require USB power and slightly convoluted wiring
- Noticeable hiss at times