My next review is on the Turtle Beach X12 headphones.

The Turtle Beach X12s are an updated version of the X11s, which I review here. The new version improves upon some of the best features from the original. The x12s shine in four main areas.

They are:

  1. The headband
  2. The sound system
  3. The color design
  4. The addition of a bass boost

Has a lot changed from the X11s to the X12s? Not particularly, in all honesty. The X12s are similar in that they’re still designed primarily for newer headphone users. The sound quality show a minor improvement. The appearance of the headset is noticeably different. And most importantly, they’re still an affordable piece of equipment. All of this means that the X12s make for a great Christmas present or entry-level headset.

All in all, I wouldn’t say the improvements were entirely necessary given that the X11s are a decent headset to begin with. That’s not to say that the improvements aren’t welcome, but if you’ve got a pair of X11s and are looking to transition to the X12s, I’d say not to bother. Go and really upgrade to something like the X41s, which I have review here. If you look at it from that perspective, it’s not worth buying them.

If you’re looking at buying a pair of headphones for the first time to complement your gaming sessions though, it’s a different story. If you see a pair of X11s on the shelf in one of the many major retailers that sell them, and you see a pair of X12s further down the line, it’s not a difficult decision to make.

You can read my review on the X11s here to get a better understanding of where I’m coming from. I’m not going to do a like-for-like comparison, as there really isn’t much point, so I’m going to talk about the X12s as if you’re new to them.

Let’s start off this Turtle Beach x12 review with the design.


The X12s are very comfortable. The headphones are a plush leather material complete with a plush leather headband for extra comfort that fits nicely onto your head. Along with this are the large earpads themselves.

One of the reasons why I love this headset and its predecessor is the comfort of these earpads. They feel really great and if you’re like me who’ll be playing games for hours on end, and then switching to a movie straight after, they’ll really benefit you. You won’t get ear fatigue by the end of a session or that hot, aching sensation whilst you’re still playing.

The headset itself is all black with Xbox-green Turtle Beach logos on the earpads to match the console they’re designed for. As I’ve written about in my article on the Tritton AX Pro, I like my equipment to match. I’ve got a bit of OCD, so these go well with my black Xbox.

In terms of the durability of the headset itself, not much has really changed from the X11s. I take this as a good sign because if something’s not broken, there’s no point in fixing it. The headset is sturdy, flexible and extremely comfortable which seems to be a constant in the more recent Turtle Beach range of headsets. Comfort really isn’t a problem with this headset and I’d go as far to say that it’s one of the best out there in this department.

The microphone on this particular gaming headset is NOT detachable. I was quite surprised at this with more demand for detachable microphones these days. I was even more surprised since this was an upgrade on an original design so I thought it’d be worth considering at least. It’s a decent microphone and sits on a gooseneck metal arm that is really flexible and stays in whatever position you shape it to.

Features and Hardware

Now, let’s look a bit further into the features and usability of the headphone’s hardware.

The first thing to mention is the microphone-monitoring system. In case you aren’t familiar, this basically means that whatever noise goes into it is fed back to you in the earphones. It’s not a massive issue for me because I don’t use the chat features when I’m playing video games late at night. I only bought the headphones for noise reduction in all honesty. For those that do want to take advantage of this, though, it’s a handy feature that’ll stop you from waking up the other people in your house by shouting and out-swearing the rowdy kids that fill game lobbies.

No headset is complete without the controls. The amp unit has a few dials on it allowing you to create a balance between chat volume and game volume. This is perfect because sometimes when I’ve played in the past, the game volume has drowned out the people I’m communicating with when I want to be able to hear them. On the flipside, if there is a little kid playing your 18-Rated video game online that’s constantly screaming and angry for no reason, then you can silence him pretty easily.

What wasn’t present in the Turtle Beach X11s that is present in the X12s is the bass boost. I’ll get more onto that in the Sound Quality section but you are able to control the levels of bass with the turn of a little dial here too.

One of the problems with this amplification unit is that it gives me the feeling that the balancing for the game and chat is quite weak. Again though, this is only a problem if you’re comparing it to other headsets out there. But as a newbie, it won’t cause you any issues or complaints.

When you connect the headset up via USB, there’s a hissing noise in the background. Unfortunately, it’s even worse when you connect your headset to the Xbox controller.

When I first heard of the X12 being an upgrade, I thought to myself “great, they’ve eliminated that annoying hissing sound”. Sadly, they haven’t. Like other Turtle Beach headsets, this is only a problem when there’s no sound running through the headphones. It’s just a problem I want to see resolved and it still hasn’t been which is quite frustrating.

Finally, let’s get onto the sound quality portion of this Turtle Beach X12 review.

Sound Quality

Assuming you’re coming from a TV or a stereo system to the Turtle Beach X12s, it’s going to be a great leap for you. The sound quality of the X12s are excellent with 50mm speakers built into the headphones to provide a superior experience.

The headphones go into as much detail as letting you hear rounds of bullets falling around you onto the floor as well as being able to hear footsteps of nearby enemies trying to sneak up on you.

There is, however, a lack of clarity when you’re comparing the sound of these headphones to a better headset like the Astro A40. There isn’t a 3D sound environment with the Turtle Beach X12s like you would get from a pair of headphones equipped with surround sound. The headphones operate mainly from a left and right orientation so you are able to get a feel of which direction sounds are coming from, but it’s not going to pinpoint the exact location of a sound.

This is the same as the X11s but you can buy a surround sound adapter for the X12s if it’s important to you. I don’t rely on sound to help me in games other than if someone is sneaking up on me in Modern Warfare, but you can hear that just fine even through your TV set.

As I mentioned before, there is a bass boost option available on the X12s that wasn’t present in the X11s. However, it doesn’t work exactly how you’d want it to or expect it to. If you turn them up too high, the bass is way too overpowering and makes the smallest of explosions sound like a nuclear detonation. If you turn them too low the game sounds rather hollow. It’s best to play around with it until you find the right balance and leaving it there as opposed to flicking around with the dial too much.

All that said, coming from a TV or stereo system, you will see a marked improvement in your gaming experience. There are better headsets out there but the X12s are what I would call a go-to headset for someone with very basic requirements like me, sound-wise.

Turtle Beach x12 Gameplay Video

Should I Buy Them?

In terms of whether you should buy this set of headphones or not depends on your situation. Hopefully I’ve covered that in this Turtle Beach X12 review, because it really does depend on what your gaming preferences are.

For experienced audiophiles, or for those with X11s already, I’d recommend skipping the X12s simply for the fact that there’s no need to fork out the money for a pair of headphones that aren’t too much of an improvement on a previous version. More experienced users will want better sound quality and although the X12s do provide a more than satisfactory experience, there are better headsets with surround sound available if that’s your thing.

Like I’ve already said, if you’re coming from your TV or a stereo system then look no further than the Turtle Beach X12s. For the minor flaws in the design like the hissing noise, they really aren’t noticeable from a newbie’s perspective and you’ll be more focused on being engulfed in what feels like a brand new atmosphere.

They enable you to do everything you want; chat to your mates, adjust game and chat volumes; and sit in silence late at night. As well as this, the earphones themselves are super comfortable which I’ve said are one of the biggest selling points from Turtle Beach as a company, in general.

So, if your requirements are simple like mine, then I’d really say “just go out and buy them”. You can’t really go wrong with the Turtle Beach X12s as a starter or as a gift.