Best Sound for the Money Xbox One


WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Ark 100 takes a step back with solid sound, but some confusing design choices. Nevertheless, it’s still made it to the top of Best Xbox One headset list.

Price: Check Price
Sound: Surround sound
Weight: 1.8 pounds (with batteries)
Battery Life: 25 hours
Compatibility: Xbox One
Mic: Semi-flexible flip-up
Drivers: 60mm + 10mm

Note: One of the reasons (we’ll explore other reasons later) that the Ark 100 placed poorly is because of the unfortunate demise of Mad Catz, the creators of the Tritton gaming headphones. In 2017 the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the “Oops, we’ve really done it this time” kind of bankruptcy that means support for the Ark 100 probably won’t last much longer, and we won’t be seeing any more gaming headsets from this particular provider. The Ark 100 will still work on your Xbox One, but it’s certainly something to keep in mind.

Design

Tritton headsets have a habit of looking and feeling cheap, despite having quality audio features. The Ark 100 is a slight improvement on past models, but still has that plasticky, poorly attached feeling that can causes some unease. The actual fit of the headset isn’t a problem, and indeed those cheap-looking materials no doubt help make the headset a bit lighter (necessary due to the weighty AAAs this model requires), but durability may be an issue over time.

best-sound-for-the-money-xbox-one Best Sound for the Money Xbox One

Shiny, but somewhat lacking in design.

Worse is the poor choice to include four control buttons on one earcup and three on the other. All these buttons are in small plastic panels, with the buttons themselves smaller than fingernail and impossible to distinguish from each other. These are the only ways to control the headset, and they are almost entirely impossible to use while wearing the headset. Unless you like whipping your headphones off and staring at them whenever you want to change something like volume, power, or LED lights (LED lights were very popular last year, but have fallen out of favor these days), you may not appreciate this baffling design decision.

However, the headset does have its positive attributes. The earcup adjustments are particularly interesting. Rather than adjusting the headband or length of the total headset, the Ark 100 allows you to adjust the earcup positions themselves, ratcheting them up or down for different levels of comfort. It’s such a unique experience that it’s difficult to say just how good it is, but overall it posed no problem in finding the right comfort level.

It’s also important to call out the microphone, which is a rubbery, flip-up mic with a really great design: It’s well-positioned, easy to control, durable, and yet never uncomfortable. Audio pickup is just average, but the mic design is worth emulating.

Sound

In our experience with the Ark 100, it often felt like sound too a background step compared to very promising previous models like the Katana. Sound quality itself wasn’t the problem: The Tritton line has always had clear, dependable sound, and that continues, thanks especially to the interesting dual-driver setup. It’s not as impressively loud and distinct as our top picks, but it certainly gets the job done, and with the right Xbox settings the surround sound audio remains miles better than anything lesser.

However, the Ark – or at least the model we tested – appears to have some connection issues as well. When plugged into the controller, the audio sometimes fuzzed over or cut out, which is not something that you want to happen in the middle of gaming. All in all, it was a disappointing final run for the Tritton line.


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