I’ve used a lot of different kinds of headphones and headsets over the years. From earbuds to studio quality ‘phones, I think at this point I know my way around sound. Ideally, I’d want some headphones that are comfortable without being heavy, wireless with the option for wired, all while delivering crystal clear audio and a healthy amount of bass. While a device like that might exist, I obviously can’t afford it, but the Turtle Beach Recon 500 headset comes the closest I’ve seen, and at a surprisingly affordable price.
The 500 has a simple, sleek design and comes in two colors: black and white. When placed on a desk with the cups turned upward, it honestly looks wide and inflexible but it actually fits snugly on the head. The headband is adjustable and the foam on the cups is very soft. The braided wire extends from the left side, along with the volume wheel, mute button, and detachable mic. While the chord is of very high quality, the other amenities here feel less so: the mic is flimsy, doesn’t have a pop filter, and is positioned so it is always in your field of vision; the volume wheel is hard to find; and the mute button doesn’t have any feedback to it, so it’s hard to tell if it’s off or on without putting your hand on it. Still, all the extra features in the world mean nothing if the sound isn’t good, and the Recon more than delivers on that front.
As usual, I’ve got my go-to songs to test music: Devil Trigger from Devil May Cry V, Showdown from the Cannon Busters anime, and Paramore’s Fake Happy. Compared to my airpods, the 500 offers some excellent sound quality, while unfortunately falling a little short in the bass department. However, it is still a step above most headsets in that regard, so I’ll take what I can get. If you’re looking to get immersed in a world like in last year’s Ghost of Tsushima, the noise canceling on these things is excellent: I can’t hear a thing when wearing these. On PS5 I’m finally able to test the 3D audio capabilities to their full potential and it absolutely must be heard to be believed. It’s a very cool effect that’s hard to describe, but really sells the immersion in certain games.
Sadly, this headset has one fatal flaw: it’s heavy. Even with the comfortable foam and snug fit, I still want to take them off about every half hour of use since the weight is just too much for my ears for long periods of time. It could just be a matter of getting used to it or dealing with it (as I did when editing our massive Games of the Summer video), but I feel like I’ll mostly be using these in certain situations like playing games with 3D audio.
Turtle Beach Recon 500
Despite having a flimsy, obtrusive mic and being frustratingly heavy, the Recon 500 Wired Headset from Turtle Beach is a great, affordable option for those looking for excellent sound quality. This is a headset for immersive gaming, blocking out the rest of the world and experiencing that sweet 3D audio.