Tritton has had a few new headsets hit the market since being purchased by gaming peripheral giant Mad Catz in 2010, but their latest range is notable in particular – they’re the first officially-licensed Xbox 360 headsets of their kind on the market.
‘Of their kind’ specifically refers to how these headsets are full-audio – meaning they’re not just for Xbox Live chat but also for getting hit with immersive audio in game without dropping the cash on – or annoying the neighbours with – a full and expensive surround sound system.
The Primer is the first headset in the range to offer full wireless audio on the Xbox 360, making it notable. The 5.8GHz wireless technology packed into the headset worked a treat in during the gameplay I hit it with. There’s a metric ton of wireless equipment running here, but these performed comparably to wireless Turtle Beach headsets I’ve also tested.
The sound quality didn’t seem to be effected notably by range, and the headset remained working in every room upstairs, where my Xbox is – though heading downstairs did cause the headset to falter a little – just as Microsoft’s regular wireless 360 headset does.
I like my desk zone to look as sleek as possible, and I’m thankful that the Primer’s Wireless receiver looks good because of that. It’s sleek and in the same kind of shiny matte black that the slim 360s are – presumably styled to match as part of Microsoft’s official license agreement.
Connecting the headset has been streamlined into a 2-wire process – one wire goes from the 360 USB port to the transmitter whilst another goes from your Xbox’s coaxial audio ports to it. The headset wisely includes a Tritton version of the official 360 audio splitter, meaning no extras will be required to get the transmitter hooked up.
The ease of use isn’t any worse on the headset end – two AA batteries slot into the dainty headset and there’s one more wire that goes to the controller for voice chat if you’ll be using that. The battery life seemed reasonable, and the headset seems to be gracious in outright dying when batteries are done rather than displaying slowly degenerating audio quality.
Syncing was a matter of a couple of quick button presses – compared to previous headsets I’ve tested from both Tritton, Mad Catz and other companies setting up the Primer was a snap – it really feels like strides forwards have been taken here to make this as painless as possible.
More important than all that is obviously how comfortable it is. It features a nicely padded headband so it doesn’t irritate there, and even with the batteries is a very light thing to wear.
It’s small on sight but sturdy and comfortable. Despite being light it doesn’t feel weak, and while it could certainly break if you sit on it, it isn’t going to snap when you’re putting it on or taking it off – it strikes a good balance.
The game and chat volumes can be adjusted separately via two wheels on the backside of the left ear, while a mute for the mic can be found on the underside of the same side. They’re large enough and in a memorable enough place that they can be easily reached on the fly without knocking the mic or messing around – they’re well designed.
All you need to remember is that chat volume is the top knob and game volume the bottom one – the rest became quite comfortable with muscle memory. The ear cups themselves are soft and comfortable, with faux-leather soft against the ear.
The headset sadly isn’t full surround sound – not expected for a headset in this price range – but does pack high quality stereo sound that works great. If you lack a surround sound system already this’ll very likely provide more exhilarating sound than the standard TV speakers – even though the Primer falls flat in some areas.
The 40mm speakers work brilliantly for higher-end sound, but the bass is muddy and far too quiet, even at high volumes. I tested this headset out with the newly released Alan Wake’s American Nightmare, a game rife with dark, foreboding sounds – and some of it was lost through the Primer’s speakers.
Super Street Fighter IV, meanwhile, sounded great, with the high-pitched whooshes of Hadoukens and cartoonish smacks of physical impacts in that game crisp and satisfying through the Primer. Every other area sounds great, but bass is undoubtedly where the Primer lacks.
The Primer is definitely a good value proposition for the price, offering a wireless headset with great range at a reasonable price – even if in some areas of the sound on offer it falls just a little flat of what I’d hoped.
That said, the star and the feather in the Primer’s cap that really makes it worth your time is the build quality. After seeing so many friends with broken headsets of poor build quality, something as sturdy as the Primer is a really attractive proposition.