Sharkoon X-Tatic SX ReviewManufacturer: Sharkoon
UK price (as reviewed): £39.47
US price (as reviewed: $49.96
Much like Corsair and Razer, Sharkoon is yet another familiar company that's branching out into other areas of tech, and it's well known for its fans and cases. It announced a new range of gaming headsets last year, and the first one to grace our lab is the X-Tatic SX, which is designed as a combination PC and Xbox 360 headset. It includes a built-in amplifier, and it's USB powered, but it can also be connected to your PC, although you'll need to use both the 3.5mm mini jack and USB connector to get it working.
Connecting it to your Xbox 360 is a faff at best. There are so many cables needed to get everything talking that we almost gave up. Whether you're using HDMI or not, you need to use the composite connector in order to place the supplied RCA cables between your Xbox 360 and your TV so that the headset can intercept the audio. We soon discovered a major issue with the need to use the composite cable - using it and the HDMI port at the same time wasn't possible, as the two connectors foul each other. That presents myriad problems, and in the end, not wanting to relinquish our HDMI connection, we were forced to connect the X-Tatic SX to our monitor's headphone output instead.
This was still far from ideal, though - as the headset is USB powered, we were left with less than two feet of slack between the USB cable connected to the Xbox, and the headphone jack connected to the monitor. You'll probably need to invest in a 3.5mm mini jack extension cable if your Xbox isn't hugging your TV.
The X-Tatic SX also comes with a propriety connector that hooks up directly to your Xbox controller to enable the microphone. This is yet another cable in an ever increasing tangle, and a large in-line remote is able to adjust volume from the Xbox/TV and voice communications separately, should you wish to mute those annoying Xbox LIVE teenagers. On that subject, there's also a microphone mute switch should your FPS rage get too excessive. However, the remote is also heavy, and the cables between the headset and your Xbox are fairly weighty too, which results in an unpleasant pull on your ear.
Thankfully, despite the mess and frustration of set up, the X-Tatic SX is quite comfortable, to wear, with the soft supra-aural ear cushions providing adequate pressure without making you want to pass out. The headband is soft and flexible too, and infinitely more comfortable than the deformity that came with the Roccat Kulo
Disappointingly, though, the sound quality isn't great. Sharkoon has optimised the headset to provide punchy bass, but at the cost of high-end and mid-range fidelity. Connected to our Xbox, it performed relatively well in the low end, with booming bass in Call of duty: Black Ops, although it wasn't particularly punchy or detailed. However, the mid-range and high-end reproduction was, with a noticeable lack of detail and high end frequencies sounding quite harsh if we ramped up the volume.
Moving testing to our PC didn't do the X-Tatic SX any favours either. The X-Tatic SX proved to be far inferior to the Corsair HS1A
and Razer Carcharias
in all areas. While the Carcharias' bass frequencies didn't sound quite as booming, its bass reproduction was massively more detailed and didn't infringe on other areas of the audio spectrum. The X-Tatic SX sounded dull and lifeless in comparison, with most types of music sounding muffled.
The X-Tatic SX isn't terrible overall, but it has some serious flaws. The number of cables required to connect it to your Xbox 360 is laughable - thankfully, the 3.7m cable should mean you're sat far enough away to avoid getting tangled. What's more, the instructions mention nothing about what to do if you only have an HDMI cable - probably because you need to spend even more money on a composite cable or extension cable for your 3.5mm mini jack. Because of this, we really can't recommend the X-Tatic SX to Xbox 360 users, and as Corsair's HS1A is the same price and offers far better audio reproduction, it's not going to win any friends among PC users either.