Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max wireless gaming headset review
Will the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max be your next gaming headset? Let's take a closer look...
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If you’ve been gaming for a while, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the Turtle Beach brand. What was once the apple of every console gamer’s eye in terms of quality gaming headsets that your parents might actually be willing to buy for you has continued to produce some great headsets in recent years. Here at WePC, we are no stranger to gaming headsets, from the best of the best all the way to budget offerings, and the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max seems to occupy the middleweight section of the pricing spectrum as it’s being sold for $129 at time of writing. Let’s take a closer look and see what Turtle Beach is bringing to the table with the Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max.
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max specs
Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max wireless gaming headset
USB Type-C, 2.4GHz wireless
20Hz – 20kHz
Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC
- Very lightweight
- Effortless Xbox setup
- Broken software, side tones cannot be disabled unless mic is muted
- Headband construction is sub-par
- Too expensive
What’s in the box & setup
The box is impressively sturdy, with think cardboard and a nice coating that managed to keep it pristine during its entire journey to the WePC offices. Given that It’s ‘Officially designed for Xbox’ you won’t be surprised to see that all sides of the box are bordered with the characteristically vivid green we’ve come to expect from Xbox-focussed peripherals. Other than this we are treated to a big hero image of the headset on the front, and a few more on the reverse, annoyed with the main features.
- Turtle Beach® Stealth™ 600 Gen 2 MAX Wireless Multiplatform Gaming Headset for Xbox
- USB Transmitter
- USB-C Charging Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Turtle Beach Sticker
Opening the box we are treated with a textured cardboard insert molded to the shape of the contents, it’s the same sort of budget to mid-range packing we’re used to. Essentially a very cost-effective way of ensuring everything will arrive undamaged, with the joy of the unboxing experience falling by the wayside. Honestly, we don’t mind this as realistically, 90% of the people who buy this are going to immediately discard the box, and, in an ideal world, it allows for more money to be invested in the product itself, but we’ll get to that later.
Setting up the headset for Xbox use couldn’t be more simple, simply flip the switch on the dongle to the ‘Xbox’ position and plug it into a vacant USB Type-A port on the console. The headset will then be immediately recognized by the console. The same cannot be said for PC setup, but we’ll cover that in the ‘software’ section of the review.
We were provided with the ‘Arctic Camo’ colorway of the headset and we quite like it. Camo headsets are a bit of a throwback to the PS3 and Xbox 360 days of sweaty Modern Warfare 2 lobbies, particularly as the Arctic Camo design harkens back to that period where getting enough headshots to unlock the corresponding camo for your favorite gun was an unmistakenly proud accomplishment.
With that brief nostalgia trip over and done with, we can get into the other design aspects of this headset. One of the more immediately noticeable idiosyncrasies is the weirdly designed exterior of the earcups, it’s hard to describe so the photos will help, but instead of the typical Y-shaped yoke design that allows the earcups to tilt up and down for a better seal, they’ve filled the gap with plastic. Our suspicion is that this is a way to limit the movement without having to reinforce the pivot points, instead, they’ve opted for the plastic of the yoke hitting the plastic of the earcup itself as a way to limit the overall movement. It’s an interesting tactic and it definitely works, but it does make us a little suspicious of the decision-making process behind it.
The other odd aspect of the design is the mic. It’s a flip-to-mute style of mic, which we love for the tactile certainty that no one can hear you, however, it’s embarrassingly short, literally around three inches long. While it might inspire comparative confidence for the gents who buy it, the diminutive length leads to performance issues as even when fully extended, it doesn’t reach the user’s mouth. It has a slight pivot you can use, presumably to angle it more effectively, but in practice, this results in the business end poking you in the side of the cheek.
Build quality & comfort
Jokes aside this headset has some worrisome build quality issues, which is odd as there are some aspects that feel premium, whereas some feel like a result of a reduced budget. We’ll start with the good stuff, though, which brings us to the ear cushions and the clamping force. The cushions are nicely plush, especially given the low overall weight of 296g/10.4oz, and the pivot/swivel mechanism allows them to seal around the ears very well. they are upholstered in a strange fabric that looks like it’ll be rough, but it’s perfectly soft to the touch in practice.
The clamping force is excellent, we’d consider it almost perfect as it’s noticeable stronger than what we’re used to. It results in a solid fit that stays planted on the head even when subjected to mosh-levels of headbanging and unrealistically vigorous side-to-side head spinning. Additionally, the choice of fabric instead of faux leather prevents the clamping force and good seal from resulting in overheating.
Now we can move on to the headband, where the Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max loses a lot of points as it is by far the weakest headband we’ve seen here at WePC. The usual twist-test resulted in the clips popping loose, making an alarming creak/popping noise. On further investigation, we discovered that the headband lacks any type of metal reinforcement whatsoever. We opened the headband only to find it was void space with cables running through the gaps and nothing else.
This is an unforgivable engineering miss-step in a ~$130 gaming headset as even headsets 1/3rd of the price have a more solid overall construction. The headband on this headset could easily be permanently bent out of shape or entirely snap in half as a result of an accidental drop or getting caught on something while the user moves quickly. Funnily enough, the ~1/2 meter cable makes this marginally less likely, though it also entirely eliminates the possibility of using the headset while it’s charging.
Sound quality & gaming performance
This headset performs well here, with a few caveats. The out-of-the-box sound is all you can have as the PC software only allows for adjustment of sidetones and mic volume. As it stands, the audio is nice enough, with no particular range of the frequency spectrum jumping out in any meaningful way. It’s actually of the most neutral and balanced soundscapes we’ve seen as of late, so it’s not going to blow anyone’s mind, nor cause them a displeasure. However, given the price, we’d like to have seen some customization available, as even the cheapest offerings from companies like Corsair and Razer allow for EQ customizations.
The experience is far less painful on Xbox. We tested these over a few games of Fortnite on an Xbox Series X and the surround sound worked great, giving us the corresponding competitive advantage as we were instantly able to ascertain the direction of incoming gunfire, and return fire. This positive experience allowed us to mostly forget about the lack of customization as this is something you don’t expect when using a headset on a console anyway.
This is where things start to get messy as the Turtle Beach Audio Hub software is so buggy that we consider it downright broken. Firstly it has you plug in and install both the dongle and the headset individually, once it recognizes and updates both of these, you realize that there are only two options in the software, sidetones and mic volume. Annoyingly, it didn’t let us change either of these without trying to force an update, which, when installed, changed nothing. This means that you can’t use the mic without sidetones being enabled and set to the max.
For the uninitiated, sidetones rebroadcast what the mic picks up through the headset, as some people find hearing their voice muffled by headphones uncomfortable. This presents another problem as the mic has very poor noise cancelation, so not only do you hear your voice, but you hear your surroundings too, including keystrokes and mouse clicks. This is particularly annoying if you have a loud mechanical keyboard.
The broken software means we are unable to recommend this headset to PC gamers as you can find far better headsets with more robust software for considerably less, like the Corsair Void. However, if you’re purely an Xbox gamer, the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max is perfectly functional as there is no software required, but, again, there are better offerings out there for less, for example, the Razer Kaira for Xbox.
Unfortunately, we end this review unable to recommend the Turtle Beach Stealth 600 Gen 2 Max, especially for PC, as there are several deal-breaking issues present here. The broken software is the biggest one as it negatively affects the overall experience of using the headset for PC. However, from what we can tell, this is purely a software issue which means that the people over at Turtle Beach could fix the issues via an update.
Using the headset on an Xbox is a different story, as it works great straight away with no connectivity issues and produces a very enjoyable gameplay experience, though it’s worth bearing in mind that the mic still has poor noise cancelation on the console, so you don’t get the annoying sidetones issues, but your teammates will probably hear more of your surrounding than they’d like.
The best thing about this headset is the comfort, with a super low weight, great padding, and what we consider to be the ideal clamping force. Seriously, so many headsets these days, even the excellent Asus ROG Delta S Wireless, have pretty weak clamping forces, that can very easily result in the headset flying free at a rapid turn of the head. This headset is exceptionally secure, without being uncomfortable, which is a nice change to see and we hope other companies follow suit.