There have been fantastic headsets on the PC marketplace for many years now. Sound quality is as good as ever, and new hardware and models really add spatial realism to games. Best of all, most PC headsets can be picked up at fairly reasonable prices. However, to get a decent headset for your console today, you have to be paying over $70, which can be a drain on the wallet for those who play both PC and console games. XJacker PC-to-Xbox headset adaptors start from just $2.99, and gaming amps from just $19.99 for the Soniq Rush which we are reviewing. When compared to the price of a new gaming headset, there is no competition in value for money.
So why use a PC headset instead of an official Xbox one? The main problems with the official headsets are their sound and microphone quality. There is no sense of depth making it harder for players to get truly immersed in a game. Moreover, the quality and design of the headsets often mean they don’t last for as long as desired. The wiring is cheap, and the plastic is very susceptible to snapping. On top of this, official headsets don’t even combine game audio and chat, meaning players will struggle to hear detail from their TV speakers.
XJacker kindly provided me with their “Soniq Rush” gaming headset amp kit. The amp allows a PC headset to be used on the Xbox 360. It also has a very useful volume control toggle, allowing a user specific setting to be created. The amp is very easy to set up. Even electronic novices should have no problem connecting the wires in the correct places. If the instructions that come bundled with the kit are not detailed enough, XJacker has even put information and tips on their website. A USB lead simply plugs the amp into the Xbox providing the device with power. There are ports for both the red and white RCA cables, giving game sound input. Finally, a long output lead connects to the headset.
Though the amp does look like it has an excessive amount of leads, all (except for the sound output) can be tucked away behind your Xbox. The kit even provides an adaptor for your microphone input, so a regular microphone headset will fit into the more awkwardly narrow Xbox controller ports. Do not touch the amp’s volume control, at least until you have set up the device, and even then you must be careful. The amp is extremely sensitive, and using it anywhere near maximum capacity may result in ear damage. In fact, I had my device volume turned only 10% of the way.
With the amp, I used the Triton AX 180 headset which can be found online for around £45. The headset provides great performance for PC games, though I found it to be lacking somewhat in detail when used on the Xbox 360. When used in conjunction with the XJacker amp, the improvements are clearly noticeable. The sound is a lot crisper, cleaner and clearer, and even the most minute details can be heard. Players of Call of Duty and other shooters will undoubtedly notice the difference, and it is no coincidence that I found my kill-to-death ratio improving while using the amp. The clearness of footsteps is unbelievable, and gunshots can be pinpointed from far distances. Game music also benefits, and I noticed an improvement to bass sounds.
There is no denying that the XJacker is an essential piece of equipment for die-hard FPS fans. With hugely anticipated titles, such as Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 hitting stores this fall, the XJacker gaming amp will be indispensable to many hardcore gamers. Fans of both PC and console games will not only receive gaming sound improvements, but for a mere $19.99 can also save a serious amount of money with one of the kits.