It’s often said that audio is the most important component of the entertainment experience; of course we all love flashy, gorgeous visuals, but whether you’re watching a movie, taking in a stream, listening to a podcast, or playing games, nothing will derail your experience faster than bad audio. In competitive gaming, every little bit of fidelity and clarity you can amass can be the difference between winning and losing a fight; in nearly every game imaginable, the experience is just better with higher quality sound. Humans are hardwired to optimize for sound; audio stimuli reaches our brain in 8-10ms versus 20-40ms for visual stimuli, and our reaction times for audio stimuli are up to 40ms faster than visual stimuli*. Sound matters to us, and Turtle Beach clearly understands its importance. Given its legacy of excellent gaming audio hardware, the company has proven itself time and time over, but it’s outdone itself with the new king of gaming headsets, the Stealth Pro.
I generally avoid dabbling in hyperbole, so please know that I’m sincere when I say the Stealth Pro is hands down the best gaming headset I’ve ever used. Over the years I’ve tried out so many headsets (I’d rather not talk about how many pairs are lurking in my office closet), always chasing the next best thing and looking for the ideal headset. There have been some really good ones along the way, including several that I thought highly of at the time I was using them as my daily drivers, but ultimately most have failed to measure up. The PC gaming headset space has been fairly good for a while, with a wide range of options depending on the connective technology you want to use and features that are important to you, but the console gaming headset space has been decidedly more challenging to work with, owing to a mix of proprietary technology from console makers and a lack of the same openness and software-level customization that you can get when running on a PC. Those situations have improved over the years as well but options are still limited. And while there have been a variety of headsets that work cross-platform and do an okay job of it, none of the headsets I’ve tried have left me feeling fully satisfied with the experience, owing to too many compromises and sound that is generally just lacking. Until now.
Sound & Software
The Stealth Pro features a pair of 50mm Nanoclear™ drivers, hand-picked and frequency-matched at the factory for maximum compatibility. These drivers pack some serious oomph, and the quality of the sound coming out of them rivals that of many higher end headsets made for music and studio monitoring. The clarity is fantastic, with the highs coming through without any hiss, tinniness, or fall-off at higher frequencies; the mids are well-rounded and sit comfortably in the mix without getting lost or overpowered; the lows are rich and heavy, without any muddiness and they don’t overpower everything else, and the bass hits punch perfectly. The neutral sound on these headphones without any EQ or other enhancements is really impressive, and the baseline of clarity that it starts off with enables the Stealth Pro to be pushed to do some really amazing things.
The out-of-the-box performance of the Stealth Pro is further augmented through both on-board features and the Turtle Beach Control Studio software. The headset comes with Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing tech built into the headset and is available at the press of a button, which can be used to augment specific aspects of the sound spectrum combined with more realistic 3D positional audio to give you a serious advantage when playing competitive games online. It also comes with Active Noise Canceling thanks to two on-board ANC microphones, which can also be activated with the side button, which is great if you have ambient sound in your gaming environment that you need to shut out, or if you’re taking them on the go (more on that later). The Control Studio software unlocks the full feature set of the Stealth Pro, with full controls for sound profiles, game/chat volume mixing, ANC strength (which can be adjusted for full blocking or full passthrough to counter the closed-back design if you DO need to hear what’s going on around you), Superhuman Hearing strength, and more. There are separate EQ settings for the primary “gaming” mode via the 2.4GHz wireless connection (this applies to PC, Xbox Series, and PS5 usage), Bluetooth devices, and even the microphone can be independently EQ’ed. You can rebind the control wheel on the right cup and the multi-function button on the outside of the right cup to control most important functions, adjust the volume of the voice feedback and feedback beeps from button presses. These settings get saved to the Stealth Pro itself, which is handy when you want to use it with multiple systems or devices.
I’m coming to the Stealth Pro from Turtle Beach’s Elite Atlas Aero, my go-to favorite and daily driver for the past 3.5 years since its 2019 release. Superhuman Hearing was a feature available on that headset as well, and I’ll be honest, while it did create a more “dimensional” sounding stage for the audio, I always felt that some of the richness of the sound was removed as a result, which makes sense because the point of the feature is to focus on enhancing specific sounds like footsteps or gunfire. I do think the feature does what it says and helps you better understand where sounds are coming from in the space, but for me the tradeoff was never worth it to keep the feature turned on for long. I’ve tested out Superhuman Hearing in the Stealth Pro as well, and while the feature works largely the same, I think Turtle Beach’s engineers have done a good job of improving the feature over time and allowing for way less degradation of the overall sound profile. If it’s a feature you like or are interested in, the Stealth Pro seems to sport the best implementation of it yet, and it’s something I am more likely to use regularly in competitive play.
The overall design of the Stealth Pro is the culmination of the last several years of Turtle Beach’s flagship product designs. The Stealth Pro is a sleek, minimalist looking headset, which helps them stand out among the market of gaming headsets and helps them look even more premium. The metal headband sports a comfortable pad along the top where it rests on your head, and the ProSpecs ear cushions create a soft, comfortable seal around your ears that are friendly to wearing glasses, a common issue with gaming headsets, and a feature that makes wearing them for extended sessions much easier. The overall build quality is great, smartly using a nice looking matte black plastic with matte silver accents throughout to ensure a premium-looking finish while keeping the weight down so your neck isn’t strained. The removable microphone attaches to the side of the left cup and features the ever popular “raise to mute” feature. It mounts to the headset in the “up” position and the boom cleanly pivots downward to position the mouthpiece in front of your face. Audio from the mic is fairly clear as far as wireless gaming headsets go, and with some EQ tweaking in the software it sounds better than the vast majority of gaming headsets out there. While it still isn’t competitive with high-end dedicated microphones, if you rely on your headset’s built-in mic, this is one of the best ones you’re going to get.
Overall I’ve found myself really impressed with the Stealth Pro’s design. Again, comparing to the Elite Atlas Aero, this design feels significantly more streamlined, preferring controls that integrate more cleanly with the lines and surfaces of the hardware and dropping unnecessary extras where possible to create something that frankly doesn’t really look like a gaming headset at all, especially with the mic detached and its port covered. They generally just look like a really nice pair of headphones, ones that you could easily wear out and about or while traveling, which in my book is a big plus considering the inclusion of Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity.
One of my favorite features of the Stealth Pro is the swappable batteries. Rather than use a built-in battery that’s hidden away in the hardware, the Stealth Pro keeps its battery behind the exterior cover of the left ear cup, so that when you run out of charge you can grab the included second battery from the charge station and quickly swap it into the headset. For me this eliminates one of my biggest longstanding gripes with wireless headphones, which is that if the battery dies during a gaming session, you’ve either got to fumble for a charge cable or switch headsets, both of which make for awkward and frustrating experiences. Being able to swap batteries out is a game changer, and the 12-hour life in both of them is more than enough to keep you going for as long as you need. The headset also has a separate USB-C port on it for direct charging in situations where that’s more appropriate.
Where most headsets in the past several years (especially those that connect to consoles) have opted for smaller USB dongles as their primary interface to a PC or console, the Stealth Pro utilizes a hybrid transmitter and battery charger unit that connects via USB cable. This base station will charge one of the two included battery packs, and it creates the bridge between your headset and your PC or console. It also has an extra USB-A port for pass-through charging of the Stealth Pro itself or any other device. The headset connects to the transmitter via 2.4GHz wireless radio, and I have found Turtle Beach’s claims of lag-free audio to be very accurate. The transmitter has settings for “Xbox” and “PC” modes (Xbox has had a proprietary API for audio hardware for the last two generations), the latter of which also works for the PlayStation 4/5 and Nintendo Switch (via the dock), ensuring that it will work on every single system you have, provided you buy the Xbox version of the headset. The Xbox version works with everything, but the PlayStation branded version notably is NOT compatible with Xbox consoles. Considering both units retail for the same price and otherwise support all of the same functionality, there’s really no reason to buy the PlayStation version of the headset unless that’s your only/primary system, and having blue LEDs on the transmitter base is very important to you for leveraging brand synergy.
The Stealth Pro also supports connecting to devices via Bluetooth 5.1, which means the Stealth Pro can be used with practically anything that supports Bluetooth 5.1. This is also a dual-connection, so it can be hooked up to the 2.4GHz transmitter and connected to something else like your phone via Bluetooth at the same time, which is great for things like listening to a podcast or chatting with friends on Discord on your phone while playing a game on your console (both things I have done in the past in a much more awkward fashion). I connected it to both my iPhone 14 Pro and my Steam Deck while testing and was really pleased with how easy it was, not to mention the novelty of this just WORKING without any extra fuss or fiddling. It’s a great addition that’s integrated really nicely, and it’s something I might actually use more than I originally expected just due to the sheer amount of podcast listening I tend to do while playing anything solo that isn’t story-driven. I can also see it coming in pretty handy while traveling, and it’ll definitely be my preferred option for gaming on the Steam Deck while away from home.
The Stealth Pro is so good all around, it’s hard to find flaws with, but the few that do exist stand out all the more because it’s so well made. Firstly, I have found the headset fits fairly tight initially. It’s fully adjustable of course and with some fiddling it fits fine, but I often have to re-adjust a few times in the first 10-15 minutes to get it sitting right without feeling pressure on my head. Once it’s dialed, it’s very comfortable, and I expect this to get better with time, but note that you will probably have to make adjustments as you wear it for the first few sessions. Secondly, it comes with a nice little carrying pouch, which is highly preferable to just having to throw them in your bag when on the go, but for a headset this premium, I wish it had come with a hard case. I’m sure that would have pushed the MSRP up, and most people probably won’t ever take the Stealth Pro out of their homes, but this is a product you don’t want to just protect from scuffs and cosmetic damage, but having the extra assurance that it’s shielded from bumps and small impacts would be a really nice addition for the crowd who wants to use the Stealth Pro while traveling or just commuting with their mobile device. Lastly, and this is a super small one, but I found the volume wheel just isn’t as responsive or sensitive as I’d like it to be. I feel like I really have to spin the wheel a lot to make adjustments, and that’s too much time spent trying to adjust when I could be playing or doing whatever else I had going on. Hopefully this can be adjusted via the Control Studio software in the future.
I’m floored by the Stealth Pro. This headset is the full package and it does absolutely everything it promises, and well. Turtle Beach has raised the bar so high with this thing that they’re going to be challenged to clear it, let alone their competitors. This is a top-end gaming headset that’s full of great features and nice little details, and it is the undisputed the king of wireless headsets. While it is certainly expensive, what you get for the price is the best wireless gaming experience on the market that will be difficult to significantly improve on for several years, which is good because this headset will last you for years to come and is worth the price of admission.
A Stealth Pro was provided in advance by Turtle Beach for review purposes
*According to two separate medical studies